The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The simple life of happy teenagers

Still from the TV series 2 Broke Girls.

Yesterday an enthralling title drew my attention to the Guardian: “Teenagers value the simple things in life.” Doesn't it sound utterly explicit? The article reviews the recent research on Life Satisfaction and Material Well-Being of Children in the UK, conducted by Gundi Knies on behalf of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex. The results of the paper unveil an apparent improvement in children’s poverty rates and further a real difference in the lives of children aged 10-15. Among the significant findings was that child life satisfaction is affected both in direct and indirect ways by the family’s overall concreteness. Whether parents are able to provide their kids with conventional enjoyments or quality food consumed on a daily basis matters most in the degree of happiness of children. Other factors include close friends, playing sports, a healthy lifestyle, sense of community, and prudent Internet use. Stability and possession also play significant part in attaining more contentment.

Girls form the happiest group of children (aged 10-12) and the least happy children (aged 12-15). The researcher attributes this paradox to puberty pressures, which are experienced by girls at a greater percentage, and points out the need for an emphasis on increasing social contacts when it comes to families with children. It’s true that children in the UK tend to be less materially deprived than adults and that there was no difference in the average life satisfaction score of children in families with lower incomes compared with those living in families with higher incomes. Is happiness so simple? Maybe it is. Reading these figures makes me ponder on the weight of the parents' choices. Every time they decide on house rules, diet habits, or scheduling hobbies, they have a strong say in their children's well-being and happiness. It is as simple–and intimidating–as that.

-Magda Repouskou
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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