Monthly Archives: May 2014
|May 31, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Education, Youth Development||
Motivational sound bites like “Dream it, do it” and “No excuses” are more appropriate on the wall of a fitness club then as explanations of the character traits lacking in those who appear to just give up. It is understandable that there isn’t much sympathy for youth who leave school, after all it is by their own choice, and one may wonder, how much more difficult is high school compared to the real world? Dropout rates have been trending downward for decades, (7 percent in 2011, down from 12 percent in 1990), but the negative outcomes associated with not finishing high school are severe, including a higher risk for health problems, the inability to compete for jobs, a higher likelihood of criminal activity, and life-long poverty. That list is not exactly an enticement to quit school.
To get a better understanding of why students leave high school, a national study was conducted by The Center for Promise at Tufts University. Based on interviews and surveys, the findings provide us with the personal stories behind absenteeism and/or class failure – considered the main predictors of dropping out along with behavioral problems. Some of the conclusions from the report, Don’t Call them Dropouts:
- There is not one factor that causes a student to stop attending school. It is almost always a “cluster” of situations and events, including homelessness, an incarcerated or ill parent, and a high rate of change regarding the child or family’s residence. These concerns often make school a lower priority.
- Make it easier to stay in school (or return) than to leave. School district policies and procedures may make dropping out the most logical, and certainly the easiest, choice.
- Support for students facing problems at home, and in some cases in negative or dangerous school environments is helpful, but the need for family, church and community members to step up to guide these youth through personal crises is critical. These young people display outstanding coping skills on a daily basis, but need assistance to persevere with longer-term goals such as returning to school.
Multimedia resources and the complete report – including findings and recommendations – are available at GradNation.org.
Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)
|May 16, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Health, Research, Youth Development||
Between 2001 and 2011, over 2.2 million American service members were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although it is not unusual for military families to experience some stress when a loved one is deployed, studies have found that children with a deployed parent are at risk for higher levels anxiety, poorer academic performance, and drug and/or alcohol use than their peers. Now, research from the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research at the University of San Diego, in partnership with Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, indicates that children of returning wounded service members face additional challenges that may impact their development.
Through extensive interviews with wounded servicemen and women and their families, researchers identified several themes:
- Invisible wounds. Children with parents diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with their visible wounds reported increased anger and an overall lack of understanding of the changes in their parent. Youth tended to adapt quicker to tangible wounds and the special care they required.
- Losing both parents. Attention was diverted from children in the family to the newly returned wounded parent, with older children taking on the adult role of providing emotional support and care to siblings and/or the non-injured parent.
- Too much or too little information. Lack of communication with children around the reality of the returning parent’s injuries caused distress. For adults, ill-timed “information dumps” on resources/programs that occurred too early in the reunification process were overwhelming and often not helpful.
- Isolation. Families transitioning from the military to a civilian community with a seriously wounded family member reported feeling isolated, cut off from those who might best understand their experience.
To better meet these needs, the study authors recommend the development or expansion of programs that help families build long term resiliency, as well as youth mentoring and peer-to-peer social support for children.
If you are interested in reading more about the challenges faced by wounded service members and their families, RAND has an exceptional series of reports and presentations from their Military Caregiver Study available at their website.
Report Citation: Schumann, M.J., Nash Cameron, E., Deitrick, L., Reed, G., and Doroliat, D. (2014). Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members. San Diego, CA: Caster Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research, University of San Diego.