Mike Hosking: Ignore the headlines, our kids are doing just fine

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Friday, 15 June 2018, 7:31AM

My good news story of the week goes to the Auckland University longitudinal study on the 7000 kids they're following.  

There is little in life more uplifting than seeing a fact-based, comprehensive look at a subject that fundamentally reassures you that what surrounds you on virtually a daily basis as regards what you should be seeing, doing and thinking isn't actually all that true.  

They're looking to follow them from birth until about 21. It's not the first of its kind.  

Dunedin University has a particularly famous one and of course, most of us have seen the originals out of Britain focusing on the years 7, 14, 21 and so on.

But this one is so far up to primary school and what are we seeing, it's good.  

Our kids are good, and in that broad sense, that's about all we need to know.  

You can drill down if you like, dissect the minutiae, but if you want a snapshot of our young children we should be reassured that we are doing a good job.  

And why that is important is we are surrounded these days with a barrage of negative messages.  

There is an industry supported by a compliant media that no longer digs, delves or truly questions what they're producing. And they would have you believe these are days of woe and worry.  

Our kids are wayward, full of glue and meth, packing out the youth justice facilities heading for a life of despair and trouble.

They're on their screens rotting their brains, they don’t eat meals around the family table, they don’t play bull rush, they have no food, no money.  

They answer back, they're ruined by social media and bullied by Twitter.  

I'm lucky, as indeed if we all stop and think, are most of us, because most of us have kids. And I have more than most.  

When you have five of them, and they're all different, you get to see a lot of their world.  

And you quickly work out their world, by in large, is not the same world the headlines would have you believe and so you become sceptical.    

You quickly work out that most kids are the same as they have always been.  

Boys are different from girls, the ages and stages never really change, the fads never really change, the worries and concerns might look a bit different but at their heart, they're the same.

Yes, they have cell phones and yes they get dropped to school in a car. But, and this is the critical point, the crises, the upset, the shortages, the deprivation, the ambulances at the bottom of all those cliffs, is really just the condensed reflections of a tiny proportion that has pretty much always been there.

It just gets more coverage these days because there are more spotlights, more agencies and more agendas.

The facts, and thank the good lord for the longitudinals, are this is a great country to raise kids, has been and always will be.  

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