Another impressive feat that Iceland has provided for their citizens is that all parents receive eight free parenting sessions a year. During this sessions if a parent has a child that is aged thirteen or higher, they pledge to follow the recommendations that the class provides. The recommendations are that the parents are not to allow their children to have or attend any unsupervised parties, not to buy alcohol for minors, and to not only keep an eye out on the well-being of their own child, but also the other children in the community. This has brought the communities of Iceland closer, as well as all of the families closer to each other. This is something that Hawai’i needs desperately, to bring the communities together and to strengthen their own family unit. Just with families aiming to meet the recommendations that have been listed above, there will be a great improvement and we’re sure to see the amount of delinquent juvenile acts decrease as well as the amount of drug usage among adolescents.
It is with the most importance that the Island of Hawai’i should create a model after Iceland is because it is not a generic type of approach; it’s an approach that is able to be customized to be fully effective for the given area that decides to use such an approach. Hawai’i is a very unique place, it’s called a melting pot because of all the different people that reside here and being able to fully customize a model for this type of program is so important for success. It’d also be a great way to incorporate great Hawaiian cultures and traditions. The Island of Hawai’i needs some attention, we need to address and accept that there’s a juvenile delinquent and drug problem that’s only growing and is not going to be improving on its own. The Island of Hawai’i should give the youth an opportunity to grow into healthy young adults who will better our community. It’s hurting everyone not having any services available to help the youth. They should be helped through any tough times that they are facing. Instead of setting up the youth in our community up to fail, we need to give them a chance to succeed!
Having an available, yet affordable drug treatment program designed specifically for youth in Hawai’i would have a beneficial impact on the entire island. This program would be available specifically for students, especially for those that have been suspended from school for drug usage or being in possession of drugs. This program would allow the students who have been suspended to attend therapy that would be better suited for their needs (not twelve step based therapy). This would minimalize any problems before they start, and not just with drug usage, but also juvenile delinquency. Such program would set goals to assist the adolescent in becoming fully aware of what they’re doing and to also give them insight as to why they’re doing delinquent acts and drugs in the first place. Most importantly it’d teach the student how to be safe and how to stop or change bad habits and patterns that they may have learned by watching and modeling behavior from their family or friends (social learning theory). There would be activities, to assist adolescents in gaining leadership skills among other types of skills such as decision making, manners, communication skills, and coping with emotions. These are basic life skills that would help any person in their day to day lives.
It would be a great recommendation that the State of Hawai’i, take a hard look at the increasingly alarming problem of juvenile delinquency and the association with drugs in the community and to start up a program similar to Iceland. There should be all types of clubs and extracurricular provided for the students all over the island, without money having to be a factor. Unfortunately it would be difficult because of the more rural areas that the island has, but just because Hawai’i is a very unique place and has some rural areas, the youth in those communities should not have to suffer. Not having these types of activities in the more rural areas is also what could be a leading factor to juvenile delinquency.
In addition to the extracurricular activities that should be provided to all areas there should also be a program that would provide the participants with drug education classes, as well as classes to teach them basic life skills. An important thing is that the drug education that would be given should be scientifically accurate, honest, interactive, and compassionate. It shouldn’t seek to minimize or exaggerate the risks of drugs, and also needs to acknowledge the fact that not all drugs carry the same risks but that each person needs to be safe and know how to handle being around various types of substances and what they should do in order to protect themselves since they may see this at home with some of their own family.
Lastly, a final recommendation is for employers to offer time off for working parents so that they could not only attend parenting sessions that could be offered, but to also attend their child’s extracurricular activities. We need to make the community a safer place and everyone would have to take part and get involved. If the parents of Hawai’i attempted to follow the three recommendations that Iceland gives during their classes, this alone would have a huge impact. The recommendations are that the parents are to not allow their kids to have or attend any unsupervised parties, not to buy alcohol for minors, and to not only keep an eye out on the well-being of their own child, but also the other children in the community. There could be a great amount of parenting sessions and it would also offer the statistics about how serious an issue drug and alcohol use is on the Island of Hawai’i and its close relation with juvenile delinquency. The people of Hawai’i could start to build a safe community with such type of programs in place and help create more healthy relationships between the parents and their child.
Barriers to Recommendations
There are a few barriers that would prevent the State of Hawai’i to work towards a healthier, safer, drug free community. The one obvious barrier would be funding. Funding is important to get anything started. Especially in this case because there should be funding not only for a treatment center, but also more funding to extracurricular activities and clubs to help benefit the youth of Hawai’i.
Another factor to the proposed plan would be parent involvement, it is so crucial for them to be involved. Parents would need to get involved with their children and encourage them to take full advantage of any treatment, services, or extracurricular activities offered. Adolescents would need to be engaged and willing to participate in order to have a positive impact and to have their parents supporting them would make all the difference. More likely than not, if there was an adolescent in a treatment session like the one proposed, there would need to be some family therapy in order to get to the root of the problem. This is where the parents would need to be engaged and fully participating. Both sides need to be honest with themselves and each other, which is hard, but in order to get the best results, it’s crucial.
The last barrier would be changing state laws so that employers are to allow parents to take time off from work so that they can attend parenting sessions, to volunteer in the community, and to just be more involved with their children’s extracurricular activities. This is something that is needed to attempt to create a stronger community with less drug use and delinquent juvenile acts. It’s understandable that families still need to work to be able to provide for their families and why this could be such a huge barrier.
Suggestions for Overcoming Barriers
A way that we can overcome this barrier of funding is seeking various types of grants. Grants could possibly come from the Hawai’i Community Foundation, U.S. Department of Human Health Services, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Another way to overcome the barrier of funding is to seek donations and assistance from government politicians. Sometimes private donors will donate money to see a cause that they strongly believe in followed through and the same is with the government politicians if it’s something that they’d want to be involved with to help boost their standing the public’s eye. A suggestion to overcoming the barrier of finding people to assist with all the extracurricular activities would be to seek volunteers, parents, and to also team up with other organizations that have a similar cause. Lastly, we’d have to lobby the state government because they’re needed to help fund the proposed programs. They’d also have to be the ones who would enforce employers to have more time off available for their working parents so that they could attend parenting sessions or attend their children’s extracurricular activities.
If such a program could be implemented despite all of the barriers mentioned a way that could measure the success in the program would be to look at the crime rates. Crime rates among juveniles would be sure to drop with such a program in place. There could also be surveys given to classes, where students can fill out anonymously, to see how many of them have or are using any substances such as drugs and alcohol. These would be two great ways to measure success. Another would be to survey random members in the communities to see if they feel that with such programs in place that the community is starting to feel more like an ohana. This is the most important thing because it really does take a village to raise a child and if everyone is involved to provide good role models for youth, then according to social learning theory, they will follow suit.