Perhaps the most fundamental problem faced by young people today is unemployment. Because of the universal downturn in the economy coupled with technology whereby particular jobs and skills are made obsolete, many youth today are experiencing problems in obtaining jobs. Young people today have certain needs and aspirations. Consequently, the treat of unemployment means financial worries, frustration and discouragement. How do the youth today respond to this?
The place of chess in the society is closely related to the attitude of young people towards our game.-Boris Spassky
Given that many youths may not be sufficiently mature to cope with such problems, they go in the undesirable direction of delinquency, drugs, vandalism, stealing, etc. Moreover, they compensate for their feelings by striking out against society, revolting against adult authority. These problems are invariably compounded by peer pressure whereby young people are forced either consciously or unconsciously to become involved in those antisocial activities by people of their own age group. What can be done to solve the problem of unemployment and its ills?
One method which can be adopted to curb the problems which arise out of unemployment among youths, involves the providing of relief or protection from the financial hardships of unemployment. For instance, a compulsory unemployment insurance system could be adopted in which workers and their employers contribute to a fund out of which payments are made to those young people who are eligible for work, but cannot find work. Incidentally this method is currently being used in the United States of America, Britain and other countries.
Other methods which can be adopted include measures aimed at creating conditions that reduces the level of unemployment. These would include: (a) programmes for retraining, in order to give would be employed young people new skills that are in demand; (b) subsidies and other incentives to encourage workers to move out of areas of labour surplus into areas in which labour is in short supply.
Also, young people should strive for high education in order that they would be qualified for the very skilled labour force required by industrialized and “semi-industrialized” countries.
Another problem facing young people today is the tension which exists between parents and children. It is usually common for strained relationships to develop between parents and young people. In their eagerness to achieve adult status, young people may or rather usually resent any restrictions placed upon them. Often times young people may not be willing to admit that they have doubts and fears about taking on adult responsibilities and freedom. They invariably believe that their parents are overanxious and overprotective. This usually creates tension between parents and young people. To correct this problem, psychologist emphasize the significance of psychological weaning. This is the process of outgrowing family domination and working towards the time when the young person establishes his or her own home. Similarly, parents should exercise control over young people, but with sympathy and understanding.
An area of immense concern, and which poses a problem for young people and their parents is sex and dating. Some parents today are prepared to give their children some latitude as far as dating and sex are concerned. In contrast, some parents are very overprotective, restricting their children from going out with the opposite sex, thus, many young people today are debarred from learning the valuable experience of adjusting to other persons. They also show deficiency in the development of social poise, which might not be available otherwise and this deprives them of their privilege. Therefore, parents, school, and the church can and should do more to promote wholesome relationships.
Teenage pregnancies and venereal disease are also common problems facing the young person or teenager. This can severely disrupt her education. Moreover, being pregnant at such an early age can also have deleterious effects on one’s health. Perhaps what is most important is the risk of “catching” the deadly disease AIDS. Many young person’s today have contacted AIDS and are suffering the consequences, being terminally ill.
What can be done to address these problems? First, many of the sexually related problems of young people can be lessened if young people were given sufficient and suitable instruction well in advance of the time when sex is an immediate concern for them. Some surveys have shown that the primary source of information most children, regarding sex, is their peers, not from their parents. Secondly, the postponement of sex prior to marriage can go a long way to reduce the incidence of AIDS. And thirdly, the church can reinforce the Christian teaching of monogamy.
On the question of Church, it has been found that many of our young people today attend church, while an equal or greater amount do not attend church. There is a tendency for the latter set, to become involved in antisocial activities such as drugs, gambling, stealing and vandalism. For those young people who attend churches, many of them have serious reservations about the church as a whole. Many of them question the significance of the church in view of what is happening in our society today, in terms of drugs, unemployment, frustration, and crime. Maybe the church needs to diversify its programmes in order to effectively accommodate the “Modern youths” and by extension to curb their fears and frustration.
Having looked at most of the fundamental problem areas for young people and solutions to these problems, I would hope that, or rather it is my desire that this article would serve as a vehicle for helping young people today to appreciate and understand some of the problems which confront them and how they can attempt to address them.
Additionally, it is my fervent hope that those in authority would work in conjunction with young people to help them to alleviate the aforementioned problems. We must remember that the young people are the leaders of tomorrow; consequently, it is incumbent on the adults to set the pace (as it were) for an uninterrupted transition.