America’s Need for Family

America’s Need for Family

troubled teenMekelle Tenney

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study conducted in 2013 that stated the following:

  • 20% of high school students reported having had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row
  • 18% of high school students reported having had a drink of alcohol before the age of 13
  • 40% of high school students reported having used marijuana
  • 23% of high school students reported that they were currently using marijuana
  • 22% of high school students reported that they were either offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property
  • 46% of high school students reported having had sexual intercourse
  • 34% of high school students reported that they were currently sexually active
  • 22% of high school students reported having used alcohol or drugs before last sexual intercourse

Why do these problems exist? Where are we failing as a society? Could it be that our school systems are not sufficiently instructing our youth? Our government has made a big effort to educate our youth on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and there is still a problem. Perhaps it is time for us to look to another source to instruct our youth; the family. Studies show that family has a substantial impact on children, their choices, self-image, and success. Consider the following:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of high school drop outs come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes
  • Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and four times as likely to need help for emotional and behavioral problems

The family is by far the most powerful unit in society, creating the biggest impact and effecting the greatest number of people. Yet we have seen it steadily deteriorating in the United States. In 2013 the New York Times published an article entitled “The Changing American Family” in which the author quoted some statistics on the family:

  • “Fewer women are becoming mothers and those who do have fewer children”
  • “More than 40% of American babies are now born to unmarried women”
  • “Marriage rates have been falling for several decades and are now at a historic low”
  • “Both men and women are getting married later, shifting marriage to an act of later adulthood and increasing the number of births to unmarried parents.”

It is clear that family is not the main focus for many Americans now. Even more alarming is the report that our youth have taken on the same attitude. In 2012 The State of Our Unions stated, “Less than a third of the girls and only slightly more than a third of the boys seem to believe,….. , that marriage is more beneficial to individuals than the alternatives. Note also that young women have seen their faith in marriage’s capacity to deliver happiness fall markedly over the last thirty years”.

It is clear that the family is necessary in society. Such attributes as personal responsibility, morality, honesty, and dependability are most effectively taught and understood within a family. The very nature of our democratic society calls for a closeness of family. In fact Alexis De Tocqueville stated in Democracy in America that democracy created a environment where society has less of a hold on the individual thus allowing the individual to create stronger and sweeter bonds with their family.

President Reagan shared a similar sentiment stating that “Families stand at the center of society, so building our future must begin by preserving family values.” The future of America depends on her families. Family must, once again, become the center of our society. Families are needed to teach our youth.  Government run institutions cannot and should not be counted on to raise the rising generation. The family is vital not only to our progression but also to our happiness. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “by a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the enduring connections of our families.”

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