Anyone else disturbed by the latest surge in teen suicide/ bullying? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am wondering if there is a toxic culture in our schools, that is permitted to continue or is not being addressed by those in charge.

Can schools get tougher on bullying? Can students be expelled for bullying? Can they have a "no tolerance" policy for bullying, so all the bullies can get sent to one big bully school, and they can just bully each other there?

I for one am disturbed by teacher's and administrator's claims of lack of knowledge. While social media may be private and unobserved by monitors, I taught high school for many years and was totally privy to much of student interaction. From what I've read, particularly in the case of Phoebe Price, many showdowns and insults were performed in front of a large audience. In another instance I believe a math teacher has been named in a lawsuit by a family, as much of the bullying was done in his classroom while he was "in charge".

My daughter is quite young, so this is a ways off, but I would hesitate to send her into the toxic, free for all atmosphere that is in many secondary schools.

How does your child's school address this issue? What can be done?
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#2 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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Well yes and no.

I think bullying is being more addressed now than it was when, say, I was growing up. Really I would say since Columbine (although as it turns out, Columbine was not a case of Eric and Dylan being bullied - if you read the excellent book by Dave Cullen, you'll get a much fuller picture). While there are certainly failures, and I know parents in this forum have experienced them, I think schools and communities are learning much more about the ramifications of bullying.

That's one reason the media steps in to report these incidents, although I also know (as someone who works in the industry) that the social media aspect is part of what makes a good headline.

However I also think that our culture has developed a pretty strong push to perceive ANY conflict among kids and teens as "bullying" and I don't personally think that helps. Emily Bazelton has been doing some great reporting on the Phoebe Prince story over at Slate.

So no, I don't think our schools are getting worse overall.

However like any parent I do worry and I know that bullying is real and does occur.

I also don't think that zero tolerance policies work at all - and the research backs that up. True bullying is very complex, involving the role of the bystanders as well, and when you have a zero tolerance policy it tends to just result in this good/evil dynamic that the media feeds, and also reporting goes down as the stakes are so high.

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#3 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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A book you may want to pick up is "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander."
http://www.amazon.com/Bully-Bullied-...6630493&sr=8-1

I was talking to my dad who was responsible for organizing his 50th high school class reunion this past summer. He contacted people from his class who flat out refused to come to the reunion because of horrible memories of being bullied. Bullying has been around a long, long time.

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#4 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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Here's some recent research on bullying:

"Who Is Likely to Become a Bully, Victim or Both? New Research Shows Poor Problem-Solving Increases Risk for All"
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0708160937.htm

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#5 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Recently there's been a lot more press, but there have been situations like Columbine for decades--just not as much publicity. It's hit the news, and this is a good thing. The sad part is that there are people out there who believe that those who fail to conform to the mainstream are somehow flawed and need to be ostracized--and I believe this has been occurring since the dawn of man.

How many times I've heard parents give up on changing something about their kids hoping the teasing at school will take care of it! (I'm thinking booger-picking, wearing the same clothes, doing something different to hair, etc.) I think some of the trick is finding a very diverse school, one where no matter what, a "different" kid will have a way to fit in somewhere. And I have to wonder--how many of those gay kids would have made it if they had a different school to go to or some other ways to fit in, including family!

I'm glad there's a lot of press about it now, but I still think the generations of bully-ers are raising their own bullyish kids as though it's acceptable.

Instead of looking for the bullies, I would wish that schools are looking for the kids who fail to conform or fail to fit in. The love and attention should really go to them--and some excellent coping skills and self-esteem building wouldn't hurt. It's much more effective to strengthen the lamb as opposed to weakening the predator, at least in school.

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#6 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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And I have to wonder--how many of those gay kids would have made it if they had a different school to go to or some other ways to fit in, including family!
I actually think that's the exception to my thinking on bullying. The political climate in the US (and in some parts of Canada, although at least we don't have the overall issue) totally contributes to that particular issue, yes. When it's okay to stop same-sex couples from equality in marriage rights, then it's not a huge extension down the line from there.

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#7 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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I actually think that's the exception to my thinking on bullying. The political climate in the US (and in some parts of Canada, although at least we don't have the overall issue) totally contributes to that particular issue, yes. When it's okay to stop same-sex couples from equality in marriage rights, then it's not a huge extension down the line from there.

I agree with you.
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#8 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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You can't use the media to get an idea of what is really happening anywhere. They are sensationalist and they pick and choose stories based on the current fear. Reporting of teen suicide is on the rise but the actual instances of it aren't. I'm not saying that bullying is not a problem but the idea that no one is doing anything about it is innacurate.

My youngest was getting bullied verbally and physically in 3rd grade. His friend decided he wanted to be more popular and started abusing him to win the favor of the "top dogs" on campus. These 4 boys were all redshirted and so a year+ older than they should have been for grade and a year older than DS. We first worked with DS on how to handle it. When that didn't work, we went to the teacher. The teacher was a male and I thought would make a difference but it didn't really. We finally went to the principal and she totally turned things around! At first, I didn't agree with her tactics but there is no arguing results. DS is in 5th grade now and those boys haven't bothered him since middle of 3rd.

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I'm glad there's a lot of press about it now, but I still think the generations of bully-ers are raising their own bullyish kids as though it's acceptable.
It is difficult to change things when the parents don't see the problem. DS started getting bullied because we aren't religious and they are Christian. Though DS is a top student and citizen who hasn't harmed a fly, the parents actually felt my son (then 7) deserved to be tortured. The boys would come to school saying these awful things you could tell came straight from their parents mouths. They felt DS was a second-class citizen so of course, their boys didn't see any problem making his life miserable.

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#9 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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An excellent novel about this topic is "19 minutes". We read this in my high school English class, and my students comments are very enlightening.

I have taught high school for the past 16 years; during that time, we have seen the explosion of the internet. Yes, bullying has always happened. But the internet has completely changed the scope of bullying. Bullies can now put something online and have it go around the community in a matter of minutes. It is no longer situated just in school. Parents of the both the bullied and the bullies need to pro-active. My school has a bullying form online for students to report any type of bullying and we do address it. As a teacher, I am always on the look out for any type of negative behavior, but kids do know how to hide their actions. However, whenever a student has come to me with any complaints, I deal with it.

IMO, schools haven't gotten worse as far as culture and bullying- but technology has made it possible for the bullies to be meaner and take it to another level.
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#10 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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IMO, schools haven't gotten worse as far as culture and bullying- but technology has made it possible for the bullies to be meaner and take it to another level.
I agree. I think bullies are just as nasty as they were when I was a child but boy am I glad that I didn't have to deal with them having cell phone cameras and the social networking sites.

While I do think that by no means should we loosen up on vigilance in the public schools in regards to bullying, it really disgusts me when people act as if the schools are the genesis of the bullying.

Look, in the US it's totally acceptable to demonize people whom you disagree with politically or religiously or whom you perceive as different from yourself. Why in the hell would we expect our children to not notice that the adults like to listen to shows that encourage xenophobia and total denigration of the "other side" as nonentity traitors? We are so immersed in it, I think a lot of people have no clue as to what they say and how it is percieved because they're in a constant echo chamber of "like minded" thoughts.

If we shrug off political ads and radio programs as "well, that's just how things are nowadays" it makes no sense to me for people to gasp in horror when children of those groups that are "destroying our culture/America/might turn me into what they are" are targeted.

Until we as people and society decide to stop boosting our own self worth by how many people we can destroy to feel superior in our own lifestyle, until we can choose to still treat people humanely and with respect even if they're the "wrong" color, political/religious affiliation, or national origin, then spare me the scapegoating of the public schools. I think the schools have better (though enforcement is something less than desirable) policies than they ever have in the past. However, our society is a hateful, xenophobic, rhetorically sloppy one at present and until we decide that it's worth it to get up off our butts and change that I think it's hardly fair to blame the kids for acting out what is mainstream "entertainment" for adults.
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#11 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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I don't know how much bullying is occurring in my kids schools and their outlaying activities. We have in the past had some serious bullying issues in my sons team sports. But no one seems to want them and they shop programs. However suicides do seem to be up in our world. Just 10 days ago a sophmore killed himself at my teens high school. On the second day of school, an older hockey player killed himself. So we have been having a lot of discussions.
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#12 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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Reporting of teen suicide is on the rise but the actual instances of it aren't.
based on?

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I'm not saying that bullying is not a problem but the idea that no one is doing anything about it is innacurate.
totally agree. At the public school my kids attended last year, bullying was taken VERY seriously. It was treated both as a discipline issue and as a mental health issue. Classes where bullying was an issue had special *lessons* presented by the school social worker, kids were put in pull out sessions, and kids were suspended as a last resort.

The principal and staff were determined that EVERY child feel safe at school. School policies, such as not allowing kids to save seats at lunch, were part of the plan. The teachers kept a special eye on kids they felt were at high risk for bully, such as sn kids who are mainstreamed.

I know some school turn a blind eye, but because of what I've seen first hand, I know that many of the adults who work with teens are aware, compassionate, and doing everything they can.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Sorry if this has already been mentioned. I haven't had the chance to read through the whole thread yet.

This topic is addressed to some extent in Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld. Neufeld proposes (and I'm inclined to agree) that the issue is rooted in kids being inappropriately attached to their peers instead of their parents (and other adults able to provide positive influences and connections).

Kids have always been bullied. The difference is that today kids don't have the secure attachment to a support network of family and adult community like they used to. When kids are rejected by their peers they have nowhere to go. Their peers are all they think they have.

The book is about the peer orientation in general, and talks about all sorts of problems that stem from that it - two of them being how peer oriented kids are more likely to become bullies or how peer oriented kids are far less resilient to bullying.

The book is on the academic side as far as parenting books go, but it's absolutely worth reading.

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#14 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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Sorry if this has already been mentioned. I haven't had the chance to read through the whole thread yet.

This topic is addressed to some extent in Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld. Neufeld proposes (and I'm inclined to agree) that the issue is rooted in kids being inappropriately attached to their peers instead of their parents (and other adults able to provide positive influences and connections).

Kids have always been bullied. The difference is that today kids don't have the secure attachment to a support network of family and adult community like they used to. When kids are rejected by their peers they have nowhere to go. Their peers are all they think they have.

The book is about the peer orientation in general, and talks about all sorts of problems that stem from that it - two of them being how peer oriented kids are more likely to become bullies or how peer oriented kids are far less resilient to bullying.

The book is on the academic side as far as parenting books go, but it's absolutely worth reading.
"Used to" when?

How does he reconcile his ideas with all the research about how parents spend more time with their kids than ever before, and that parents and children on on the same page about just about anything surveyed about (from politics to clothing) than at any previous time in the past century? Anecdotally and according to all the research, kids and parents are tighter than they've probably ever been before. I fail to see how his book stands up to all of the conventional wisdom and clearly documented trends about child rearing in the US. There is no way on earth that anyone can claim that kids today are less attached to their parents than they were in the 1970s.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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how peer oriented kids are far less resilient to bullying.
in my experience, it's kids who have trouble picking up social cues but who want to liked who are the easy targets. Many sn kids are targets.

My DD, who is on the autism spectrum and has trouble with social cues, isn't a target because she really isn't wired enough for social interaction to care. So once in a blue moon a child says something unkind to her, but because she truly doesn't care what they think, it's no fun for the bully so they find someone else.

Having watched this play out, I dislike the idea that kids who are "peer oriented" are less resilient to bullying. Because all kids *should* be at least a little peer orientated. If they aren't, they have a whole other set of problems.

Of course neuro typical children want their peers to like them. That's just normal.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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It has always been there, it's just getting more media attention now, and the cases involving cyber bullying get press because they are more sensational. But the bullying has always been there, the suicides have always been there. Schools create toxic cultures, some far worse than others, and some kids targeted far more than others, but grouping same age peers in an artificial social environment is a pitri dish for cruelty.
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#17 of 44 Old 10-09-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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It has always been there, it's just getting more media attention now, and the cases involving cyber bullying get press because they are more sensational. But the bullying has always been there, the suicides have always been there. Schools create toxic cultures, some far worse than others, and some kids targeted far more than others, but grouping same age peers in an artificial social environment is a pitri dish for cruelty.
I agree. Although it's really tough to hear about as adults, I'm really glad that people are aware that bullying is really, really bad (seems obvious, doesn't it? And yet so many people for so long have just had the attitude of "kids will be kids!") and that it's becoming okay to discuss.

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"Used to" when?

How does he reconcile his ideas with all the research about how parents spend more time with their kids than ever before, and that parents and children on on the same page about just about anything surveyed about (from politics to clothing) than at any previous time in the past century? Anecdotally and according to all the research, kids and parents are tighter than they've probably ever been before. I fail to see how his book stands up to all of the conventional wisdom and clearly documented trends about child rearing in the US. There is no way on earth that anyone can claim that kids today are less attached to their parents than they were in the 1970s.
Yup, I agree. To hear this book called academic makes me cringe a bit. It ignores so much actual research.

To have it related to bullying makes me uncomfortable because I found the book's intolerance for influences outside the family to be actually in line with the conditions it takes to create bullies.

I think the Coloroso book is a much better read - and also proposes actual solutions like having peers (bystanders) take responsibility.

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#19 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 03:17 AM
 
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It has always been there, it's just getting more media attention now, and the cases involving cyber bullying get press because they are more sensational. But the bullying has always been there, the suicides have always been there. Schools create toxic cultures, some far worse than others, and some kids targeted far more than others, but grouping same age peers in an artificial social environment is a pitri dish for cruelty.
In the past (pretty recent past,) suicides would be covered up as "accidents." It all used to get swept under the rug.

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#20 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 04:28 AM
 
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Look, in the US it's totally acceptable to demonize people whom you disagree with politically or religiously or whom you perceive as different from yourself. Why in the hell would we expect our children to not notice that the adults like to listen to shows that encourage xenophobia and total denigration of the "other side" as nonentity traitors? We are so immersed in it, I think a lot of people have no clue as to what they say and how it is percieved because they're in a constant echo chamber of "like minded" thoughts.

If we shrug off political ads and radio programs as "well, that's just how things are nowadays" it makes no sense to me for people to gasp in horror when children of those groups that are "destroying our culture/America/might turn me into what they are" are targeted.

Until we as people and society decide to stop boosting our own self worth by how many people we can destroy to feel superior in our own lifestyle, until we can choose to still treat people humanely and with respect even if they're the "wrong" color, political/religious affiliation, or national origin, then spare me the scapegoating of the public schools. I think the schools have better (though enforcement is something less than desirable) policies than they ever have in the past. However, our society is a hateful, xenophobic, rhetorically sloppy one at present and until we decide that it's worth it to get up off our butts and change that I think it's hardly fair to blame the kids for acting out what is mainstream "entertainment" for adults.
This is such an excellent point. I don't think it's confined to the U.S.A. either.

At the same time that bullying in schools became a hot topic and zero tolerance policies were implemented, it seems like bullying in the adult sphere has taken off. It's the norm now in the media, both in news and political coverage and entertainment. It's a core ingredient of much of what is produced in print, radio, television and internet today.

Watch any comedy or drama - you'll spot bullying behaviour. Watch any reality show - bullying is the core essence of these shows. News shows, newspapers and magazines and internet journalists pride themselves on bullying ("hard hitting") in the pursuit of so-called investigative journalism - most of it really just sensational ratings grabs while often missing most of the real story.

We call it "painful honesty" about people, situations and life, but it's gone way beyond the kind of "warts and all" scrutiny that once was celebrated. It's become a brutal intolerance and persecution to score easy points.

While schools struggle to find an effective response to the problem, it's become endemic in our culture.
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#21 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 05:36 AM
 
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Recently there's been a lot more press, but there have been situations like Columbine for decades--just not as much publicity. .
Just to reiterate - Columbine was not a case of bullying. The one shooter was a sociopath. He was NOT bullied.
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Sorry if this has already been mentioned. I haven't had the chance to read through the whole thread yet.

This topic is addressed to some extent in Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld. Neufeld proposes (and I'm inclined to agree) that the issue is rooted in kids being inappropriately attached to their peers instead of their parents (and other adults able to provide positive influences and connections).

Kids have always been bullied. The difference is that today kids don't have the secure attachment to a support network of family and adult community like they used to. When kids are rejected by their peers they have nowhere to go. Their peers are all they think they have.

The book is about the peer orientation in general, and talks about all sorts of problems that stem from that it - two of them being how peer oriented kids are more likely to become bullies or how peer oriented kids are far less resilient to bullying.

The book is on the academic side as far as parenting books go, but it's absolutely worth reading.
I'm reading this book right now and really enjoying it.
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#23 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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It has always been there, it's just getting more media attention now, and the cases involving cyber bullying get press because they are more sensational. But the bullying has always been there, the suicides have always been there. Schools create toxic cultures, some far worse than others, and some kids targeted far more than others, but grouping same age peers in an artificial social environment is a pitri dish for cruelty.



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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

At the same time that bullying in schools became a hot topic and zero tolerance policies were implemented, it seems like bullying in the adult sphere has taken off. It's the norm now in the media, both in news and political coverage and entertainment. It's a core ingredient of much of what is produced in print, radio, television and internet today.

Watch any comedy or drama - you'll spot bullying behaviour. Watch any reality show - bullying is the core essence of these shows. News shows, newspapers and magazines and internet journalists pride themselves on bullying ("hard hitting") in the pursuit of so-called investigative journalism - most of it really just sensational ratings grabs while often missing most of the real story.

We call it "painful honesty" about people, situations and life, but it's gone way beyond the kind of "warts and all" scrutiny that once was celebrated. It's become a brutal intolerance and persecution to score easy points.

While schools struggle to find an effective response to the problem, it's become endemic in our culture.
I don't disagree with any of this - but there are 2 key differences in bullying in schools versus bullying in the adult or media world.

In the world of TV the bullying is fictional. Real people are not being hurt. In the world of reality TV, the people signed up for the show. They trade off being bullied in exchange for whatever they are getting out of it. It is also worth pointing out the number of people actually on reality TV shows is tiny compared to the number of kids bullied.

We watch a lot of stuff on TV we do not allow in real life - violence and bullying included. Whether or not this makes us less sensitive to these issues and more likely to indulge in them in real life is a raging debate.

The biggest difference is key: adults, for the most part do have choice in whether or not they are continued victums of bullying. They can choose who they relate to, and in the case of jobs - transfer, quit, complain, etc. Kids do not always have that choice. I was bullied as a child as there was not a darn thing I kid do about it. I have been bullied a tiny bit as an adult - and while figuring out what to do about it has never been easy - I have never felt that there was "not a darn thing I could do about it".
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"Used to" when?

How does he reconcile his ideas with all the research about how parents spend more time with their kids than ever before, and that parents and children on on the same page about just about anything surveyed about (from politics to clothing) than at any previous time in the past century? Anecdotally and according to all the research, kids and parents are tighter than they've probably ever been before. I fail to see how his book stands up to all of the conventional wisdom and clearly documented trends about child rearing in the US. There is no way on earth that anyone can claim that kids today are less attached to their parents than they were in the 1970s.
It's a whole book. I can't summarize it in a single post. Read it and decide if you agree with it. Even if you disagree with everything proposed, it's still an interesting read. Though, it's very pro attachment parenting, so I'd expect most people on MDC would find that they agree with at least some of what the author has to say.

The general thesis is that over the course of the twentieth century the transmission of culture has moved from vertical to lateral. And as kids and teens have become oriented more and more strongly toward their peers and toward peer culture the "issues" of youth have worsened. The author correlates the cultural shift with trends in bullying, teen sex, suicide, education, emotional maturity, influence of peer pressure, etc.

I'm only surmising here. It's been awhile since I read the book, I don't have a copy in front of me, and I'm not familiar with the specific details of the research you're referring to, however, if I were to guess I would say that :

- while research may indicate that kids and parents have more leisure time together today, I don't think it indicates that children spend more time in the presence (or vicinity) of their parents where they still have influence. And when parents aren't available, in the presence of other trusted adults who have a long-standing role in the lives of the children (like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and community members who really know the child on a personal level). Today children spend more time in the company of unrelated peers (not siblings or close cousins) and the adults are more disconnected. Adults tend to supervise, enforce rules and policies, give time outs, and do not work to develop strong personal relationships with the children.

- this is a trend that has been happening for a long time, and becoming more pronounced with each generation. The generation of parents today is more peer oriented than their parents were. As today's parents are part of the trend, the overall movement is not going to be particularly visible when you only compare today's parents and today's children.

- youth culture is the culture transmitted through the mainstream media, so recent generations would be inclined toward similar tastes in clothing, similar views with regard to politics, etc because of the heavy media influence. The author does discuss the role of the media in the book.

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.

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#25 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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It's a whole book. I can't summarize it in a single post. Read it and decide if you agree with it. Even if you disagree with everything proposed, it's still an interesting read. Though, it's very pro attachment parenting, so I'd expect most people on MDC would find that they agree with at least some of what the author has to say.

The general thesis is that over the course of the twentieth century the transmission of culture has moved from vertical to lateral. And as kids and teens have become oriented more and more strongly toward their peers and toward peer culture the "issues" of youth have worsened. The author correlates the cultural shift with trends in bullying, teen sex, suicide, education, emotional maturity, influence of peer pressure, etc.

I'm only surmising here. It's been awhile since I read the book, I don't have a copy in front of me, and I'm not familiar with the specific details of the research you're referring to, however, if I were to guess I would say that :

- while research may indicate that kids and parents have more leisure time together today, I don't think it indicates that children spend more time in the presence (or vicinity) of their parents where they still have influence. And when parents aren't available, in the presence of other trusted adults who have a long-standing role in the lives of the children (like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and community members who really know the child on a personal level). Today children spend more time in the company of unrelated peers (not siblings or close cousins) and the adults are more disconnected. Adults tend to supervise, enforce rules and policies, give time outs, and do not work to develop strong personal relationships with the children.

- this is a trend that has been happening for a long time, and becoming more pronounced with each generation. The generation of parents today is more peer oriented than their parents were. As today's parents are part of the trend, the overall movement is not going to be particularly visible when you only compare today's parents and today's children.

- youth culture is the culture transmitted through the mainstream media, so recent generations would be inclined toward similar tastes in clothing, similar views with regard to politics, etc because of the heavy media influence. The author does discuss the role of the media in the book.

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.
You're right in that I haven't read the book, but I have read an awful lot about it. And I have to say that not a single thing I've read about his "research" rings true. I think it's totally bizarre to claim that kids and adults used to spend more time together. My generation was the first in, like, EVER where kids weren't sent out to play with other kids all day every day while their parents got some work done! My parents barely saw their parents... and that was the halcyon "family centered" post-war years.

I don't mean to get off on a tangent, I just disagree that bullying is worse than it was in past years, and that it has anything to do with peer relationships being more important that adult/child relationships.

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#26 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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You're right in that I haven't read the book, but I have read an awful lot about it. And I have to say that not a single thing I've read about his "research" rings true. I think it's totally bizarre to claim that kids and adults used to spend more time together. My generation was the first in, like, EVER where kids weren't sent out to play with other kids all day every day while their parents got some work done! My parents barely saw their parents... and that was the halcyon "family centered" post-war years.

I don't mean to get off on a tangent, I just disagree that bullying is worse than it was in past years, and that it has anything to do with peer relationships being more important that adult/child relationships.
I agree this is off the topic of the original thread. I would encourage anyone to take a look at the actual book though. I was very skeptical when I started reading it, but I ultimately agreed with most of what the author had to say.

The amount that children actually saw or interacted with their parents in particular generations is not central to the thesis of the book. The key element is the increasing influence of peers and peer culture (through actual peers or as presented by the media) on the values, self-worth, choices, and direction that kids and teens take. The central point is that culture and values are no longer being transmitted vertically not that parents and kids don't spend enough time playing board games together. The book is very Lord of the Flies in it's message.

As per kids spending hours playing with other kids, the book argues that kids could do that when they had strong connections with parents and adults, and when they were simply playing with the other children. The issue is that kids are now looking to other children for emotional support, values, social norms, messages about their self worth, etc. His argument is simply that it isn't normal for peers to have some much influence, and there can be horrible consequences when they do.

The book basically suggests that peer pressure and influences are increasing, natural counter forces against peer pressure are decreasing, and many of the social problems we see in kids are the result of these two phenomena working together.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#27 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I agree this is off the topic of the original thread. I would encourage anyone to take a look at the actual book though. I was very skeptical when I started reading it, but I ultimately agreed with most of what the author had to say.

The amount that children actually saw or interacted with their parents in particular generations is not central to the thesis of the book. The key element is the increasing influence of peers and peer culture (through actual peers or as presented by the media) on the values, self-worth, choices, and direction that kids and teens take. The central point is that culture and values are no longer being transmitted vertically not that parents and kids don't spend enough time playing board games together. The book is very Lord of the Flies in it's message.

As per kids spending hours playing with other kids, the book argues that kids could do that when they had strong connections with parents and adults, and when they were simply playing with the other children. The issue is that kids are now looking to other children for emotional support, values, social norms, messages about their self worth, etc. His argument is simply that it isn't normal for peers to have some much influence, and there can be horrible consequences when they do.

The book basically suggests that peer pressure and influences are increasing, natural counter forces against peer pressure are decreasing, and many of the social problems we see in kids are the result of these two phenomena working together.
I think that we're just going to have to agree to disagree, because I see absolutely nothing in social history which supports that thesis.

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#28 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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Bullying is way worse than it used to be. The schools know too. I see a lot in parents (around here anyway) where they never want to discipline their children, or even have expectations. I see a lot of children that have no rules and are just given everything. Then when these same children pick on other kids, the parents and staff turn a blind eye.

I was bullied when I was growing up, but it was all in the form of teasing. It never turned sexual. Now days, kids are being beaten so horribly in school that they end up at the doctors office and torn clothes and such. Girls are being so heavily sexually harassed and mistreated and administrators know and turn a blind eye. I know with my daughter, I was told "boys will be boys" and "she just needs to learn to deal with it." The boy was claiming she was a prostitute and he had been having sex with her and she only cost $10 and had made graphic descriptions of everything. He was saying this stuff in class, to the entire class, and in front of the teacher. I complained many times to administration. I know there have been stories of rapes at some of the local schools, but then the staff will refuse to call the police for the girl or get her proper medical attention and the parents don't find out for days or weeks because, I think, the school makes her feel so bad and at fault that the girl gets afraid to tell her parents what happened. There have been rapes where the girl went straight home and told her parents and she was seen at the doctor, but we are at the whim and will of the local police, who have been known to refuse to even take reports on this stuff. They just claim that this is all just kids stuff and they refuse to get involved. It was even in the news that the Mayor's son brought a gun to school and also had heroin on him at the time but that the police chose to make no arrest. The principal was quoted in the news as "out of respect to our mayor......" Seriously, I do not feel safe. Our schools here are exemplary and some parents who must never read the news or speak to their children think the schools are great. It really really bothers me.

Schools and police alike need to step up to the plate. Also, legistatures need to also. They need to make laws giving these children and their parents other avenues to pursue to protect their children. There should be a government agency that will deal with these issues when the schools refuse. Our only options were to endanger our daughter by leaving her at the local schools, or pull her out. We could have hired a lawyer at thousands of dollars for a lawsuit that could span a decade or more. What good would that have done our daughter? My son was already seriously retalliated against just because I breastfed at the school, in the back of a classroom, half hour after school let out, with only my own children and the teacher in the room. Just imagine what would happen if I started an actual lawsuit.

The bullying is definitely out of control and the parents of the bullies, the schools, the police, and the state laws are at fault. There simply are not protections for victims.
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#29 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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I agree this is off the topic of the original thread. I would encourage anyone to take a look at the actual book though. I was very skeptical when I started reading it, but I ultimately agreed with most of what the author had to say.

The amount that children actually saw or interacted with their parents in particular generations is not central to the thesis of the book. The key element is the increasing influence of peers and peer culture (through actual peers or as presented by the media) on the values, self-worth, choices, and direction that kids and teens take. The central point is that culture and values are no longer being transmitted vertically not that parents and kids don't spend enough time playing board games together. The book is very Lord of the Flies in it's message.

As per kids spending hours playing with other kids, the book argues that kids could do that when they had strong connections with parents and adults, and when they were simply playing with the other children. The issue is that kids are now looking to other children for emotional support, values, social norms, messages about their self worth, etc. His argument is simply that it isn't normal for peers to have some much influence, and there can be horrible consequences when they do.

The book basically suggests that peer pressure and influences are increasing, natural counter forces against peer pressure are decreasing, and many of the social problems we see in kids are the result of these two phenomena working together.
I agree with this. The bullies I have known of have little to no relationships with their parents. The parents will buy things to throw at their children to compensate for the lack of parenting. These parents often have too much pride in their children that they know nothing about "not my child, my child would not do that" even when presented with witnesses. I also suspect that some bullies are in abusive homes.
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#30 of 44 Old 10-10-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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I was bullied when I was growing up, but it was all in the form of teasing. It never turned sexual. Now days, kids are being beaten so horribly in school that they end up at the doctors office and torn clothes and such. Girls are being so heavily sexually harassed and mistreated and administrators know and turn a blind eye. I know with my daughter, I was told "boys will be boys" and "she just needs to learn to deal with it."
My sister was bullied sexually by a group of boys. The school knew and turned a blind eye. I don't think that this is a new thing.

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