Young teenage girls and unhappiness, No. 2

I recently posted a piece on working mothers and unhappy children. Here are some further facts, published by The Guardian:

A study of data from 674 GP practices across the UK has found that instances of girls aged 13-16 self-harming rose 68% in just three years. The figures, which chime with separate NHS data, also revealed it to be more common in deprived areas. Youngsters who self-harmed were found to be about 17 times more likely to die from suicide, and 34 times more likely to die from acute alcohol or drug poisoning. (The Guardian)

A whole collection of things can account for this shocking trend: poverty, lousy schools, overworked and stressed out mothers, divorce, the dismal influence of Facebook and the “ popularity race”, the sexualisation of young girls and bad upbringing that fails to imbue young teenage men with respect for the opposite sex, the constant publicity about joblessness of young people and the consequent despair of those unable to access higher education……well, be my guest and add your favourite reasons. Whichever you prioritise, the sitution is grim. Does the whole capitalist, neo-liberlal system share the blame? In any event, this all looks reminiscent of situation of the working classes in 19th Century Britain. We should be ashamed.

  • Carmen

    “[B] be my guest and add your favourite reasons.”

    My preferred reasons for explaining this tragedy were probably reported in some RAND study. (Not true, of course, RAND economic modeling notoriously promoted theories which could be numerically quantified and minimized empirically-based hypotheses.) If such a study did exist, though, it would start with my scientifically observed evidence: raising a human child requires 10.5 responsible, loving, and present adults with at least moderate common sense.

    That means that the core he question becomes: what factors destroy communities? what factors shred the existence of the nuclear and extended families who historically provided them? Probably the reasons you cite above.

    Historically, the best context for the 10.5-to-1 ratio to operate has been a combination of an extended family functioning within a healthy community, be it town, village, or neighborhood. It’s made up of individuals cooperating to help raise the next generation.

    Stay-at-home mother? or stay-at-home father? That is not the most crucial question. The issue of whether the 10.5 human beings nurturing the young are the mother or father or some mix of both, siblings, grandparents, close neighbors or whatever, is secondary to the grouping that’s in a position to help nurture the young to adulthood.

    If a person is totally atomized by a combination of economic factors (lacking jobs, food, shelter) and, above all, lacking social bonding (loving people getting us through life) what chance does he or she have?