On September 3, 2013, Vanessa Bell posted an article on Yahoo! Shine, entitled, “Are American Babies Unhappy?” Her article was actually about a recent study published by UNICEF, comparing child well-being among twenty-nine “rich countries”. This study measured child well-being according to the following five categories:
1. Material well-being
2. Health and safety
4. Behaviors and risks (including healthy behaviors, risky behaviors, and exposure to violence)
5. Housing and environment
The findings showed that the U.S. ranked number 26 out of the 29 countries included in the study. (The Netherlands ranked number 1.) For being one of the most affluent countries in the world, the U.S. ranked poorly in this particular study.
There are many possible reasons why the U.S. ended up at the bottom of the list. Some of these could be:
1. Our U.S. society may not be as child-focused as other societies.
2. Our U.S. government may not be allocating as many resources to support children’s health and well-being as those of other countries.
3. Our U.S. culture’s beliefs and methods of child-rearing may not promote children’s health and well-being as well as those of other cultures.
Raising children brings many rewards, as well as many challenges. There may be times when the challenges of parenting may become overwhelming or unmanageable. At such times, it could be helpful to discuss those challenges with a licensed family counselor, in order to resolve them in a way that is mutually beneficial to both parent and child.