Originally Posted by ChetMC
Even if parents and kids are more similar in their tastes, and have more free time together then they did generations ago, the key element of the author's argument is that peers matter more and more with each generation. Moreover, peer influence is dangerous as peers lack the maturity and selflessness that parents (and other adults bonded to the child) naturally offer. As a result, peer oriented children are at greater risk for all sorts of things, including becoming bullies, and also damage by being bullied. While kids have always been bullied, a strongly peer oriented child is more likely to be crushed by bullying and to come to school with a gun, or to commit suicide than a child who has a world outside of their peers that they are strongly attached and connected to.
All of which I find kind of funny because I think parenting was much less connected in the days before birth control, when it wasn't really a choice, and that there are so many clear accounts of bullying in literature going way back. I mean Tom Brown's schooldays anyone?
I truly believe Newfield is myopic and distorts social history in a very self-serving way. What's more, I believe that his book can be interpreted in such a way that families do not support attachment to the community in their kids OR support developmentally appropriate friendships and that this in itself can lead to depression and so on. I'm not saying it's his intention but I have seen it implemented this way.
Although there has been some research on bullying and weak attachments, there has been competing research that suggests that bullying is related to respect in families, a family history of bullying (a strong attachment to a bully parent leads to a bully) and other things. Weak attachment often comes along with other issues - substandard caregiving in the first two years of life, socioeconomic issues - and I really think the jury is out on what the primary cause of bullying might be - assuming there is only one.
I was bullied in elementary school and I definitely engaged in some bullying behaviour in secondary. Same person, same attachments, same family - different results in different groups of peers.