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The Problems Faced By Our Kids In 21st Century America

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Raising a child in the 21st century is hard.  While we appear to the rest of the world a nation of great wealth and privilege, this wealth and privilege remain worryingly uneven as we creep closer and closer to the 2020s. A 2015 NBC News poll revealed that 72% of African American parents feel that their kids will face more problems growing up than they did when they were children. And few would argue that matters have improved in recent years.

Image by Biova Nakou via Pexels

Health Risks

The sad truth is that African American children face greater health risks than their white, Asian and Latin counterparts. Both in terms of physical and mental health, African American kids statistically have the deck stacked against them. They are more likely to die of preventable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. This is why parents have to work extra hard to hammer home the importance of good nutrition and exercise. While this is easier said than done for some, especially those in communities where food availability is poor, all parents need to do their best to not only put healthy food on the table but also to educate their kids as to where their food comes from- read more here. As hard as it often is for busy parents to find the time to prepare and cook nutritious meals, it really is the lynchpin upon which children’s health rests.

Racial Intolerance (In places you really shouldn’t expect to see it)

Over half a century since the passing of the Civil Rights Act, today’s Black Americans still feel the weight of persecution. While President Trump has his supporters within the Black community there are many who argue that his election has legitimized the voice of the far-right and as a result, many Black children are growing up in an age of intolerance and bigotry. Data shows that Trump’s rhetoric does have a direct relationship with instances of hate crimes against Black Americans and other minorities.

As parents, one of the challenges we face is helping our children to perceive the injustice of all of the hate and encouraging them to channel it into something productive. To turn that passion into a force for lasting social change rather than allow them to become angry and disenfranchised youth lashing out against unfair systems in all the least helpful ways.

Cultural And Racial Expression In School

Returning to the idea of mental health problems, many African American young people, especially those in predominantly white schools, can suffer when they feel that they are unable to express themselves culturally or racially, or that their culture is not respected or celebrated. Check out our previous article on exactly this issue here.

Love Conquers All

While today’s children have a great deal to contend with, a loving patient and caring home can provide them with the infrastructure to conquer virtually any challenge. As difficult as times can get politically, economically and socially, it’s incumbent upon us all to remember that only love, especially love for our children, can save the world.

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Successful Black Parenting is proud to announce that we are bringing our readers more researched-based content written by the members of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) RESilience Initiative, which provides resources to parents and caregivers for promoting the strength, health, and well-being of children and youth of color. We will also feature their members who have contributed articles to Successful Black Parenting on our BackTalk podcast. Learn more about the RESilience Initiative at www.apa.org/res.

THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION'S (APA) RESilience Initiative