ROCKLAND – The welfare of our children is arguably the most urgent concern of today. Most aware adults share a grave concern for the well-being of children and families today and in the future, and are wondering what is happening, why, and what has to be done about it.

What is happening is an epidemic of detachment.

I recently discovered an article about a survey conducted by the Field Research Corp. for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in 2005.

The participants of the survey rated the “well-being of children” as their chief concern, outranking “14 issues of concern” including the cost of living, taxes, the war in Iraq, and terrorism. The poll was a random sample of 1,009 adults conducted by telephone in English and Spanish.

All demographic groups put concern about children at the top of their list.

This is a striking unanimity. And it is the first time the well-being of children has been included “when assessing the relative importance of issues facing the state.”

Examples of the 21 listed topics were: youth gangs and violence; drug and alcohol use; obesity and unhealthful eating habits; divorce and family related problems; child abuse and neglect; low-self-esteem; quality of education; influence of media and the Internet; sexual behavior; and so on. These issues of disconnection are the signs and symptoms of deadening, deadly, and dangerous detachment, the diseases of non-attachment.

Why detachment? It is in reaction to healthy attachment gone awry.

From The Journal of The Future of Children, “Caring for Infants and Toddlers,” we find that “Development during the first three years is dramatic, rapid and important. It lays the foundation for latter cognitive accomplishments, social skills, self-esteem, and repsect for others.” “More than anything else, relationships matter to babies.”

The most important relationship is the primary relationship between mother and child, closely followed by father and child. Parenting and trauma are at the root of detachment and most aberrant behavior and illness.

Detachment is about loss. Detachment is the loss of relationship, that which matters more than anything else.

What can be done?

“Whatever the (family) structure, children will still need a loving, nurturing, stable, economically secure environment for their optimal growth and development. Children are not responsible for who their parents are or for what they do; rather it is the parents and the community who are responsible for who their children are and for what they become.”

Throughout history the institution of marriage has provided the tie that holds the father to the mother-infant bond.

The trend to single-parent families has profoundly affected children. Children in such families have negative outcomes at two to three times the rate of married, biological two-parent families.

More and more children are “not living in families that include their own married biological parents, which by all available empirical evidence is the gold standard for insuring optimal outcomes in a child’s development family structure matters for children, and the structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

Where do we go from here? In his autobiography, “Life is So Good,” George Dawson offers an answer. He tells us that we “grow” pigs. We put them in a pen and throw them some food.

But we have to “raise” children. No matter what the family structure, children need time and attention from the important adults in their lives.

Children need nurturing, nourishment and education, love and learning how to live.

All this happens naturally and easily within the context of relationships created in a harmonious home.

Nurturing is the simple solution offered by a man who learned to read at the age of 98.

Nurturing parents are the solution — parents giving children the family they need.

 

– Special to The Press HeraldThroughout history the institution of marriage has provided the tie that holds the father to the mother-infant bond. The trend to single-parent families has profoundly affected children. Children in such families have negative outcomes at two to three times the rate of married, biological two-parent families.