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Author Topic: Seeking the opinions of the parents  (Read 1595 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. George
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« on: February 14, 2007, 10:49:04 AM »

I'm wondering what you all think about this report published by UNICEF regarding Children's well-being: What do you think of the criteria?  The results?  The premise?

Here is the report:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_02_07_nn_unicef.pdf

And here is the story that the BBC published regarding the report:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/6360477.stm

Child study finds big divisions

The first report on the well-being of children in 21 western states shows marked divisions in education, health and sexual behaviour and drug-taking.

The Netherlands topped the well-being table compiled by the UN children's agency Unicef, with Scandinavian nations also performing well.

However the United Kingdom and United States fare much worse, taking the bottom two places in the table.

The report shows no strong link between child well-being and per capita GDP.

Unicef says the report, titled Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries, is the first study of childhood across 21 of the world's industrialised nations.

The Netherlands comes out top in terms of overall child well-being, and finishes in the top 10 for all six areas covered by the report.

No one country features in the top third of the table for all six areas studied, though the Netherlands and Sweden come close.

The report's authors say no single area of well-being can stand alone as a sign of overall well-being, and point out that several countries have widely differing rankings for the various aspects of well-being.

They say that the wealth of a nation is no indicator of how well a child feels.

The Czech Republic, for example, comes higher up the table for overall well-being than several other much richer countries, such as Austria or the US.

But fewer than 50% of Czech children say their peers are "kind and helpful", compared to 80% or more in Portugal.

Nor does the wealth of a nation guarantee its children a good education. Norway and Denmark are to be found in the 18th and 19th places for educational well-being.

The country that comes out worst overall is the UK.

In the behaviours and risk category, about 35% of British children say they have used cannabis, compared to 5% of Greek children.

And almost 40% of British 15 year olds say they have had sexual intercourse, though the US and Russia have the most teen pregnancies.

One of the report's authors told the BBC that under-investment and a "dog eat dog" attitude in society were to blame for Britain's poor performance.

The British government says its policies have helped to improve child welfare.

Unicef UK executive director David Bull said all the countries had weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

"By comparing the performance of countries we see what is possible with a commitment to supporting every child to fulfil his or her full potential," he said.

Most of the figures in the report come from 2000-2003, which the authors say was the most up-to-date information available.
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TinaG
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 12:13:16 PM »

Boy, that's a lot of stuff to digest this early in the morning!  Overall I'm kind of wondering what's the point of the study if it's only reviewing basically EU nations (well not Russia, but who can ignore Russia) and the US/Canada.  Their statistics seem to be based on other studies and figures that are a little vague, and there's no mention that I could find of any sample sizing.  They seem to have their criteria down pretty good though for what makes a happy child in western coutries - cars, computers, the internet, your own room. 

The health section left off a very important criteria in determining the infant mortality rate and infant/child health, and that is the importance of long-term breastfeeding and the role of government supported breastfeeding programs.  If you want to find one of the most important factors for improved infant health, it's creating a breastfeeding culture, not an artificial formula feeding culture. 

Wasn't the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stirring up a lot of controversy a few years back with their views on children and religion?  Something about religious freedom for children?

I guess overall someone has to do studies on these kind of surveys even if they are pretty general.  The study itself even talks about its shortcomings.

Just curious Cleveland what your interest is in this?
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2007, 12:36:03 PM »

Don't the findings more-or-less mirror other major studies on overall quality of life for all ages? The U.S. (and U.K.) is usually listed near the bottom of the ladder of developed countries, because of issues like health insurance, crime, educational attainment, social isolation (i.e. lack of stable and deep community and familial support networks), suicide rates, incarceration rates, prevalence of mental illness, lack of social programs, etc.
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2007, 12:51:42 PM »

There's a lot of factors.  Does it make sense to compare small, affluent, relatively homogeneous nations with larger more diverse ones?  I don't know.  I do know in the U.S. we fail our kids in many ways, and that's what matters.

As a parent, I don't look at things like this however.  I try to do what I can for my kids and contribute to things that I think we help other kids.
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Fr. George
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2007, 11:40:57 AM »

Just curious Cleveland what your interest is in this?

I had just come across the article, and wanted to see what people who have actually raised children think of the criteria, premise, and results of this study.  Many times the leaders and scientists who are doing the study don't have kids (and don't really remember the experience of their parents from when they were young), and thus there is a bit of disconnect.  Kinda like being a child psychologist without having raised children, or being a priest without going to church.
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 11:59:52 AM »

Kinda like being a child psychologist without having raised children, or being a priest without going to church.

Now here's really a hot potato topic - what about a priest without wife or children?  Do you have to "Be" what you are trying counsel about or minister to?  It's been hashed to death but still interesting.  I haven't yet found it to be an impediment in receiving good counsel from unmarried priests, and certainly not a reason to argue against the choice of celibacy for some priests.  Lord knows I shoot my mouth off about plenty of things I haven't got first hand experience with.  Being a know-it-all is an awesome responsibility that requires a lack of any moderation in the spouting of my opinions. 
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Tags: UNICEF children health 
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