Lawrence Steinberg argues that “we must invest in children throughout their development and especially during adolescence. We need to make it a priority for how we allocate our resources.” I argue that investment in kids and adolescents is necessary so that during adulthood, citizens are not affected by mental disorders, high levels of violence and inequalities in income. It is important to invest in kids to strengthen the future of any nation.
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Puberty is a period where teenagers undergo various hormonal changes. These puberty-specific changes affect brain development. Adverse consequences to the brain are related to an increase in a hormone called estradiol. Guzman et al argue that mental disorders such as depression begin at the adolescent stage (p. 6). Factors such as financial challenges, role overload, and marital problems should be eliminated through foster care and financial support to kids and adolescents.
Further, adolescents are vulnerable to mental illnesses. Investment in adolescents is, therefore, necessary for reducing high levels of mental illnesses. Mental illnesses arise from poverty. Investments should be made on kids and teenagers through poverty eradication (Murphy, Barry, and Vaughn 2). Children and adolescents living in poverty experience less cognitive stimulation and enrichment (Kerstin, Firk, and Uhlhaas, par 5).
In particular, kids and adolescents raised in a poor environment experience behavioral, learning, mental and physical health challenges. For instance, suicide rates for Aboriginal youths are on the increase. About 50% of young Aboriginal people are suicidal. Societal pressures, maltreatment of kids, and lack of foster care lead to early-onset depression, suicide, and violence among Aboriginal youth (Office of the Chief Coroner 43).
Completion of education and wage gap arise because of societal factors. Investments in kids and adolescents ensure that during adulthood, there is a high number of students completing universities and colleges. High levels of university and college dropouts are related to failure to invest in the social development of kids and adolescents. According to Wortley (par 5), loss of advancement and opportunity during early childhood and adolescence affects the wage gap and completion of education.
Social learning theory explains that high levels of violence, juvenile delinquency, and crime among adolescents arises because of what kids and adolescents see and learn (Kerstin, Firk, and Uhlhaas, par 5). In particular, violence and juvenile delinquency are caused by media influences such as exposure to violent movies, pictures, and novels. Resources should be allocated so that kids and adolescents are not exposed to violent movies and novels. Education and social development that focuses on the eradication of poverty ensure the youth are not influenced by criminals in the society (Ahn 1436).
Investment in the growth and development of kids and youth is important. Among adolescents, puberty hormonal changes affect the development of the brain. Stress, neglect, family challenges, and bullying are factors that combine with hormonal changes to cause mental disorders such as depression. Furthermore, there is a need to stop the circulation of violent movies and novels that predispose kids and adolescents to violence.
Ahn, June. “The effects of Social network sites on adolescents’ social and academic development: current theories and controversies.” Journal of the American Society for information science and technology, 62. 8: 1435-1445. 2011. Web.
Guzman Linda, Ikramullah Erum, Manlove Jennifer, Peterson Kristen, and Scarupa, Harriet. “Telling it like it is: Teen perspectives on romantic relationships.” Washington DC. Child trends research brief. 2009. Web.
Kerstin Konrad, Firk Christine, and Uhlhaas. “Brain development during adolescence: Neuro-scientific insights into this developmental period.” Deutsch Arztebl Int. 2013; 110. 25 (2013): 425–431. Web.
Murphy David, Barry Megan, and Vaughn Brigitte. “Mental Health Disorders.” Child trends, Adolescent health highlight. 2013. Web.
Office of the Chief Coroner. Death review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation. 2006-2008. Web.
Wortley Scot. “Review of the roots of youth violence: literature reviews.” Ontario. Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 2016. Web.