Survey offers insight into teens

Evidence from the McCreary Center BC Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) suggests things may not be as bad as sometimes conjectured.

Despite much of the gloomy news we hear about families these days, evidence from the McCreary Center BC Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) suggests things may not be as bad as sometimes conjectured. The survey results, which include responses from thousands of young people across BC, can be broken down by region. It found that 91% of youth in the area from Surrey to Hope report living with their mom most of the time and 70% with their dad. Despite relatively stable high divorce rates, only 5% of youth in this region are living with a stepfather most of the time and 1 % with a stepmother. This suggests that most kids have some stability in their relationships growing up. Of course, these figures only refer to who kids live with, not the quality of those relationships.

It is concerning though that only 70% of kids live most of the time with their dads. This means that 30% of BC high school aged youth living between Surrey and Hope don’t live most of the time with their dad. In most cases father absence is not good for young people, or for society. Of course, dads that don’t live most of the time with their kids can still play an enormously impactful positive role. Also, some youth may have reported not living most of the time with their dad because he works away, perhaps in the oil patch, logging camp or in the military. However, there is a sense that there are far too many young people living without influence from fathers.

I’ve recently been involved with a research project about violence towards women. We’ve been studying the Ann Davis Transition Services in Chilliwack to see if what they are doing is progressive and leading practice in their field. While the findings are preliminary, what we’ve found is that while remaining true to its core commitment to supporting women, Ann Davis Services has a growing outreach towards the transformation of men. Since men are the main perpetrators of violence in relationships there is awareness that prevention and healing must involve them. Many victims too report wanting help for the offender. This growing emphasis, services for men, highlights the issue of what men offer in family relations.  My own anecdotal experience is that the young dads of the new generation are much more egalitarian and involved than men of my generation and the generation before me.

Another concern arising from the survey is that 8 % of the young people report having no parent at home when they wake up and 4% having no parent at home when they go to bed. Ten percent (10%) of the youth reported going to bed hungry because there was not enough money to buy food.  It is no surprise that youth reporting they went to bed hungry are also less likely to report having good health, more likely to have considered suicide and had low levels of extra curricular activities. Poverty has a pervasive negative effect on the lives of these young people.

Another interesting tidbit from the AHS survey results in the Surrey to Hope report is the number of young people speaking a language other than English at home; 51%. Also 21% of youth report speaking a language other than English all the time at home. This is not likely the case in Chilliwack but it reminds us what a multicultural world our young people are growing up in.

 

Dr. Rob Lees, R.Psych, is the community psychologist for the Ministry for Children and Family Development in Chilliwack.

Just Posted

Watercolours by late Chilliwack artist to be unveiled at Yarrow Library

The public is invited to a special unveiling of three of Heinz Klassen’s watercolour paintings

Yarrow Library one of the stops on Cubetto’s grand tour

FVRL’s friendly wooden robot, Cubetto, travels throughout Fraser Valley to teach programming basics

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack PEO: ‘We who are sisters’

International oganization celebrating 150 years of service

Chilliwack students take the lead as mental health advocates

About 100 Chilliwack youth prepped to make a difference during Mental Health Week

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

VIDEO: Fan support almost deafening as Giants take Game 2 in finals

Vancouver G-Men cap comeback with thrilling third period to beat Spokane 4-2 on home ice in Langley

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read