Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Jaw Dropping Statistic.

The federal government just unveiled the results of a survey and found that among parents of boys in the U.S., ONE OUT OF FIVE discussed their sons behavioral or emotional issues with their health care provider or pediatrician. (For girls, it's one out of ten.)

This news was greeted with calls from more mental health care for children -- and especially boys. But when we have one out of five parents of boys worried that their sons' have emotional problems we need to step back and look at how we are raising and educating them. My belief: we are driving them a little crazy.

I've written an op ed about it which I'll post here later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered that widespread infant male circumcision is causing an epidemic of mental problems in American boys?

Intense trauma inflicted on an infant nervous system... given everything we now know about traumatic experiences, PTSD, stress hormones, neural plasticity, etc etc.

September 8, 2008 at 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, but circumcision has been around for centuries. I had it done at birth, some 42 years ago, and I suffered no such trauma.

I propose a more complex soup of factors that were not as common a generation ago, if they existed at all: Cell phone usage? Video games? BPA's in plastic water bottles? Hormones in milk? Distracted parents? Lack of outside play time?

I suspect anthropologists as yet unborn will look back on the early 21st century and try to figure out where this all started.

September 9, 2008 at 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three boys ages 11, 9, and 7. They all enjoy and do well in school but more importantly, they are ALL able to focus, and control themselves. Furthermore they are all considered by every adult on their campus to be reliable,and responsible, kind and compassionate. Yes I am their Mother and of course i'm going to speak highly of these guys. But here is what I want you to know. These boys have been disciplined since they were very little, there have always been boundaries in their lives set by us and we are unquestioningly the authorities in their lives. They entered school having the untmost respect for authority and a true desire to make themselves and their family proud.
These boys also went to minimal preschool which NEVER had worksheets but just stressed social skills and simple fun activities. There has been no soccer, boyscouts, etc. just family hikes, beach,hanging out and lots of good talks.
Parents ask me all the time what I have done to raise such good kids. I kept it simple, remain the authority, listened to them and let them play, ALOT. They can't play soccer but can name more things in our natural surroundings than most informed adults. They know how to tie knots, catch fish, take off their hats indoors and look adults in the eye.Dinner table conversation frequently involves descriptions of the out of control behavior exhibited by other boys in their classrooms. My kids while shocked at this behavior are truly saddened by this alarming trend and do their best to reach out to these confused kids.

September 10, 2008 at 4:24 AM  
Blogger Pamela Dawn said...

Bravo, Bravo, and Bravo!
I have 2 sons at home and am about to adopt 2 more (We'll have 7 children at home). I totally agree that our society at large are trying to raise our boys like girls (sit still, be quiet, pay attention). It helps the teacher's day go more smoothly but it is strangling our sons. This is something I recognized a long time ago and try to work with my sons as well as their teachers. Let them play, be noisy and explore. God designed them that way, why would we want to mis-shape them another way?

September 10, 2008 at 5:42 AM  
Anonymous Ginny said...

Are there any statistics between boys and girls on who plays more video games, guitar hero etc.?
These games are fast paced and intense. No wonder our kids have problems in school, they're bored, the action isn't fast enough! They're expected to sit quiet, pay attention for how many hours a day?
Are the ways of teaching changing with the times?

Of course the answer is....medicate them, so they'll be quiet little zombies. Let's let the drug companies and medical profession over medicate this generation as well.

I agree with the other comments in questioning what might be going on and especially the person with 3 boys. All should pay attention to this example and apply.

September 10, 2008 at 6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the mother of 3- 2 boys and 1 girl. I am divorced and remarried. My middle son is 9 and seems to be the only one to give me a hard time. I have had difficulty with the ex in-laws and have managed to only deal with his father- which should have been that way from the start. My son does have anxiety/behavioral problems. We have been to a therapist for help. His outbursts started around the age of 3 and have continued to escalate to the point that I felt it was time to see a therapist. I tried asking the pediatrician for years, they kept telling me he was fine. His outbursts seem to be brought on when he feels pressured: homework, football practice,new situations, etc. When it is not on "his time" seems to be when we have problems. Lateley, things have been good and the outbursts have been few and far between. However, he still needs to learn that we all have to accomplish things in a certain time frame-whether we want to or not. We do have boundaries, rules, etc. For the most part they all listen. What scares me most is that one second he is the sweetest child- hugging, saying I love you and in one misguided breath, he is screaming and shouting at you and completely inconsolable. I agree that the environment (home/surroundings) greatly impacts a childs well-being. We have tried to make sure all of our kids have the same opportunities, attention, etc. He has come along way with his social skills, and have no problem at school- where he is in an excellerated reading program and an above average math. He is the type of child that if he just met you could have your life history in the 1st ten minutes of the conversation. His anxiety -coping skills is what our barrier is and we just can't get past it.
I want him to excel and I know that he needs a little more time with things than my other children. But how do we conquer breaking through to him and making sure he is getting what he needs?

September 10, 2008 at 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot agree enough with the adaptation of our schools rewarding exceeding lengthy 'sit still' sessions. My four year old boy has an enormous imagination which shows up in active playing. Unfortuately,I believe it will not have a chance to thrive in public school. Teachers reward sitting still, being quiet and listening for seven hours a day - a tall order for any 5 year old but an especially unnatural behavior for a boy.
My hope is to find a school that is hands-on, textile and adaptive to the different ways all children learn. Just because girls can sit still longer doesn't mean they learn best by listening.

When we start evaluating the way children learn (girl or boy) and apply that knowledge to our academic ciriculum we will stop loosing so many kids, espeically boys.

September 10, 2008 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger ZPO said...

Did this person actually blame circuncision, a multi-century old practice, for the problem we are having with our boys? That is insane!

I am a long-distance father of 3, a 15 year old son, an 11 year old son, and a 6 year old daughter.

The oldest was "abused" by me according to my ex-wife by being demanding and expecting him to perform well in school and in athletics, and whatever he undertakes. His mother has gone out of her way to protect him from me and my "abuse." He is an outstanding young man who performs well (but below his capabilities in my mind) in all of his endeavors, but seems to have had the drive taken out of him over the last few years. This I blame on his mother and his, largely female, teachers who have accepted mediocre performance and frequently reward it. I was actually called to have a conference with a teacher after he started crying during a conference that I expected him to make all A's.

My middle son is a daredevil and all boy! He is aggressive, risk-taking and successful when he lives like this. He also has lots of energy and amazing insight into many topics. However, he is confused. He has been in trouble in school from day 1 for things boys should do: running and sliding in the halls when no one else is present, jumping off the top of the slide, going up the slide the wrong way. All of these are stupid things to make an issue of and purely natural for an energetic, inquisitive young man. He hates school, and rightly so because the female dominated school systems cannot tolerate someone who cannot sit like a girl. He shouldn't!

I blame our female dominated world, particularly education, but also medicine, media, etc. for not allowing him to be a boy and not providing mechanisms for him to learn the way energetic young men learn best.

Zane (MBA, MD)

September 10, 2008 at 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overscheduling is a huge problem with kids - stress can cause many physical problems. People were shocked when we said we needed a "family break" from travel softball. I secretly think they too would like a break. Anyway, until parents put the breaks on organized activities - the hamster wheel that kids are on will be kept in motion.


September 10, 2008 at 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Brenda Golbus said...

I have been noticing this educational disservice we are putting on our sons for the last 3 years (ever since my son started kindergarten). I also have friends with daughters struggling to handle the tight structure and overscheduling. We bought our son a guitar, which he feels very natural playing. This year is going to be tough for him (3rd grade) lots of organizational skills required and a loss of recess if he doesn't tow the line. So wrong.
Thanks for speaking out,
Brenda Golbus

September 10, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From reading the other posts I have to agree with many that our boys' problems begin at home. In a purely unscientific observation, but very telling way I have noticed a marked change between my sons attending school versus homeschooling. My two boys were attending a Dept. of Defense school in Japan being taught to the test, having their recess times cut out and being taught by apathetic teachers. I decided to homeschool them and they thrived. We had a rigorous curriculum, but still had plenty of time for play with each other and other children. Their self esteem sky- rocketed, love of learning increased and they regained their curiosity for the world around them.

My husband and I have always set boundries yet supplied many choices for our boys. We have taught them that life is all about making good choices. We have not prevented them from failing on their bad choices, which is another problem with our society. We are not letting them fail, which in turn causes them to crumble when they eventually do have to face adversity in their lives.

I realize homeschooling is not for everyone, but I did see a change in my sons. I am hoping it will last, because we have since moved back to the States and put them back in a public school. I guess time will tell, but I will not hesitate to pull them and begin homeschooling again if I see a change in their physical and/or mental wellbeing.

September 10, 2008 at 9:22 AM  
Anonymous boysrus said...

I am the mother of 4 boys from elementary to high school. I am thrilled to see someone with common sense addressing this issue! I can't wait to read your book.

September 10, 2008 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea that children need unrestricted play without scheduling. Their imaginations are so big but with the structuring they can't express their free side.
It may sound brutal but I think fist fights should be allowed. I remember boys getting into fist fights one day and the next be best friends. If kids aren't allowed to express their full range of emotions, including those we consider negative, they don't learn to deal with them. Mistakes and bumps in the road give children the best way to let go of emotion and grow.

September 10, 2008 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Editormum said...

What you are reporting is why I began home-schooling my sons from day one; I've continued because I was apalled to hear my friends talking about fourth graders who are struggling with Algebra and having to write 20-page papers. That's outrageous! And no one seems to see it.

In my day (I'm 40, btw), Algebra was for 7th graders at the earliest, and they were the gifted math students. Most of us took it in 8th or 9th, usually after taking a year of pre-algebra. We didn't write more than a 5-page paper until 8th or 9th grade, either. My first 20-page paper was for an AP English class when I was a senior in high school. Yes, we are pushing kids too hard and too fast in many academic areas.

It is not natural for ANY child, but definitely not for a boy, to sit quietly for six to seven hours a day, quietly reading, filling out worksheets, and so on. Be honest! How many ADULTS need a physical outlet after an 8-hour day at the office? It's not normal for us, either.

I can tell you that a boy who is interested in something will spend hours reading and experimenting to learn about it. My nature-lover spends hours reading non-fiction books about animals and their habits, and collecting and raising caterpillars so that he can understand their life cycle, but he doesn't like to read fictional stories. So which is more important? And which would get him in trouble in school?

Because I have taken great pains to ensure that their learning is as hands-on as possible, and that they have ample time for active, outdoor play, my boys are very happy and well-adjusted, despite severe upheavals in our lives. They are active, curious, articulate, and above grade-level in most areas. Yet many parents of school-age kids tell me that they are ADHD and should be on meds. Fortunately, I can retort that their psychologist has assured me that they are perfectly normal and do not have ADHD. But how many parents don't have that assurance?

We really need to reconsider how we have structured schools, so that we can make them more friendly to BOTH genders. Yes, girls need educational opportunity and encouragement, but SO DO BOYS. We don't need to try to make our little boys act like little girls. Why not recognize, accept, and CELEBRATE the differences?

Oh, and as for the nut who suggested that circumcision was to blame, don't be ludicrous. Circumcision has been around for more than 5700 years. If it was that, I think we'd have noticed problems before now.

September 10, 2008 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this article this morning and immediately thought of our 8 year old son. His birthdate is June 29, 2000. So he started school just one and half months after turning six.
Until this past 3 weeks of 3rd grade, we have struggled with testing, homework, reading,math and communication between school officials.
Kindergarten started with learning rules and behavior. He was very stubborn and wanted to do what he wanted. I can't tell you how many recesses he missed and how many days he spent in a focus room with some one that barely qualified to handle children of his age having problems adapting to the education system. 1st grade, I think we lucked out by having a teacher new to the education system and just didn't know any better then to just let them scem by. When he hit 2nd grade his first report card showed all D's. He again spent most of the year with focus room teachers, extra reading help classes, and math help. By the time the kid got home he was completly exhausted and there was no getting him to read the extra 15min. night required by the school much less do homework. That's right homework, 2nd grade. Somehow he pulled it together with lots of help from us as parents and passed with one C and the rest B-.
In lieu of the above....he loves football. So before he was even in the school he played Pre-K flag football. This includes evening practices and games. He plays tackle football now. Started Practice 3 nights a week in August and continuing thru September games every Saturday, with a Super Bowl in October. Everyday he has 1hour after school to get what needs to be done for homework and we still don't get to fit that now, 30min. a night reading in. I don't even push it.
Wednesday night he goes to church, which they have 30 min for homework and then bible study then dinner and pick up by 8pm.
Alot of parents are reading this and thinking this kid is only "8". Then add his 3year old sister in the picture who is in daycare and can already identify the letter's B and C in a workbook.
But this is what the real world is like. You get up, get ready for the day,take kids to school, go to work, pickup kids take care of kids needs ie sports,homework hugs kisses..., have diner, showers and somehow talk about the day you had go to bed and do all over again the next day.
Both my husband and I have M-F, 8-5 jobs. He owns his own Welding Shop and I've been in the Title and Escrow Biz for 12 years. Both of my children stayed with family and daycares starting at 8weeks.
This is what the economy is doing to families. Pushing us and our kids. So where does that leave our boys and the statistics. Nowhere, they just have to keep up like the rest of us. They can do it!!! They just need lots of attention, encouragement and some extra help in the school. Being said it is a struggle and alot of stress for the parents. But we can do it too!!! They learn from us and our actions.

September 10, 2008 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have two sons, ages 7 and 5, that have no trouble paying attention in school and are easy to deal with. I also have discliplined them since they were very young, often in public while people watch in shock over the fact that sometimes children need a smack on the rear. I am a working, professional single mother and absolutely abhor the stereotype of the troublemaker from the single parent household. Let me add another thought as a former teacher: we feed our children sugar, caffeine, and garbage all day. Kids sit in front of the TV or video games all evening. They don't sleep adequately. Then we drug them (we have not idea how these drugs affect their developing bodies and brains) and then wonder why they're crazy? It has very little to do with school and everything to do with parenting; though for what it's worth, I think school are a little aggressive with the acedemics for young children.

September 10, 2008 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you let up on girls, here? I have a 6 year old daughter who also is a bubbling pool of energy. Can any happy, healthy, "free-range raised" child acually sit still for more than 2 minutes without giggling, kicking, heck, picking their nose? Public schools are a big problem with children who are like this?
How abou the highly compeitive nature of boys? I know abou this since my tomboy daughter is the same. Boys make everything into a competition because that is their genetic makeup, the way God made them or their evolutionary point, whatever. But I have seen so many young female teachers make it such a disciplinary issue that its almost like they are trying to "train" it out of them. Our current public school system is not set up to allow this sort of behavior. The bell curve makes it nearly impossible to fail OR to succeed. Most just fall in limbo or mediocracy. Their is no way to channel their competitive natures in a system that encourages no individuality while forcing everyone to get along. Heck, even school supplies are shared like a good socialist community. Is it possible that without competition boys are not interested enough to pay attention or even try? Competition is healthy, it encourages kids to try and then try harder. I think this is especially true for boys. I believe that this is where the fist fighting comes in. It is competitive but once its over its over.
Simply put, I think too much interference from sociatal expectations and demands can undermine even good parenting. The mother with three boys no doubt sees them compete with each other and get to act like guys togeher and that goes a long way toward control. Let boys act like boys, but don't let it be an excuse for bad parenting.

September 10, 2008 at 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should remember alot of these female teachers have children also, boys and girls. I really don't think gender is playing a role in the teaching of boys. If it is the parent should be on the teachers door step addressing the issue.
The rules in the schools and classrooms are set by "higher ups", Board members, Principals, Super's....however; I think it's at the discreation of the teacher on making the call to send I child to the focus room or principal for "farting in class" or "cuttin' up in the hallways" or even talking in the parent pick-up line after school. And sometimes it's not even a teacher that enforces the rules...I've had volunteers scold my child.
I still think it comes down to the parents. You have to be involved and make your presence in the schools. You can't just send your kid off to school and not check in with the teachers or follow up on their progress. Everyother week I make contact with my childs teacher on his behavior and progress. Sometimes more than that. But most of the teachers no me in the school and no that I'm watching and paying attention to what's going on.

September 10, 2008 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a mother of 2 boys ages 7 & 5 I agree completely that the public school system needs an over haul. I helped out in my sons kindergarten class and was appalled by the teachers fierce reaction to a child slumping in his chair & another child's mimic of her reaction. Why do children have to be controlled? It is difficult to encourage respect of teachers when the teachers try to make everyone the same & don't see the individual. It's the way the system works. It's time the parents & teachers unite. Parents openly disrespect the teachers encouraging it in their children and teachers are afraid of being sued by parents but demand conformity in the class. We set the example for children. Let it be the right example form all of us. We're all in this together, step up to the plate. It's not a problem exclusive to one gender. It's a problem with our society.

September 10, 2008 at 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever noticed that ADD, ADHD and a few other acronyms or conditions started to appear right when the use of corporal punishment and strict discipline were banned? No let me be clear that I am not an advocate of child beatings and That it will not work on all children. However you can easily distinguish between the two. If no heed is given to several verbal warnings then you probably have a good candidate for corporal punishment.

I was a troubled youth that went on to become a teacher. I know for a fact that many children in particular males, well respond much better to such punishment. Whatever happened to "spare the rod spoil the child."??? It worked for thousands of years, why would it not work now? Children have been around a long time, why all of a sudden the new theory of the delicate psyche.Is the world delicate or is it more like only the strong survive? Have you ever watched children play amongst themselves? First thing you see is the balling up of fist if they don’t get along. It is what is understood at that age not a contract outlining specific behaviors and consequences that have no value. What is a contract to a kid? A pinky swear, Why? Because it is fast swift and immediate.

I am telling you first hand that when I was a child the only thing that curbed my behavior or instilled the desire to pay attention was knowing that if I goofed off I would pay for it. Now a day we have more second chances and "make up" or extra credit labs that getting the job done on the first go around is not a priority. Why should it be? After all if you don’t do it, all you have to do is cry that you had a "problem" and you will be afforded many opportunities to make up or do the work later. Yet missing that ever important telephone call or chance to play Xbox or watch an "R" movie gets a rating of importance that rivals an anthrax attack.

Parents need to understand that parenting is not a popularity contest but a position of authority that needs to employ the use of fair discipline and to understand that discipline is love.

September 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guy with the paddle....
I don't trust individuals enough to allow them to make the call of corporal punishment. Not these days!!
His Dad or I will be the one to lay the hand on his backside.
Again, it goes back to parent involvement!

September 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger jziak said...

Peg is 100% on target. The pharmaceutical companies are also to blame for the epidemic of overdosed ADHD. Some doctors promote this issue as well. They are coerced by parents to prescribe drugs which are often unnecessary.

When my son was in 2nd and 4th grade, we were told he by his teachers that he probably has ADD. I was 100% convinced the teachers were wrong. There were never behavior issues. Today, he is in the 6th grade. He has never been held back or made poor enough grades to consider. However, we re-moved him from the public school system where test-prep is the main focus of everyday school activities. Currently, he attends a very high standard private school and excels.

The point I make is….. Parents do not let people convince you that your child is ADD or ADHD. Instead, look at the root cause of the problem and make adjustments. I strongly suggest lifestyle (food, sleep, physical activity increase etc.) changes are more effective that most ADD or ADHD drugs on the market. I have seen many young men’s lives negatively affected by such drugs. Take a short look at the problem and a long look at yourself, lifestyle and environment you are using as tools to raise your child.

September 10, 2008 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger jziak said...

Peg is 100% on target. The pharmaceutical companies are also to blame for the epidemic of overdosed ADHD. Some doctors are also guilty of appeasing lazy parents. They are coerced by parents to prescribe drugs which are often unnecessary.

When my son was in 2nd and 4th grade, we were told he by his teachers that he probably has ADD. I was 100% convinced the teachers were wrong. There were never behavior issues. Today, he is in the 6th grade. He has never been held back or made poor enough grades to consider. However, we re-moved him from the public school system where test-prep is the main focus of everyday school activities. Currently, he attends a very high standard private school and excels.

The point I make is….. Parents do not let people convince you that your child is ADD or ADHD. Instead, look at the root cause of the problem and make adjustments. I strongly suggest lifestyle (food, sleep, physical activity increase etc.) changes are more effective that most ADD or ADHD drugs on the market. I have seen many young men’s lives negatively affected by such drugs. Take a short look at the problem and a long look at yourself, lifestyle and environment you are using as tools to raise your child.

September 10, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have hit the nail on the head. As the mother of two boys (17 and 19) of which one was diagnosed in 2nd grade with ADHD and ODD, I know for a fact that the change to accommodate girls and make a child grasp and learn at younger and younger ages has been a major part of the declines we see with boys. There has to be a way for us to accommodate the learning styles of boys AND girls, without making one or the other fail.

Their father and I let them be boys, which by nature generally means they are more active. They did not go to a structured preschool, got to play both structured and unstructred games, and sometimes maybe try things that other parents might say was dangerous. But we were always there to watch and support. Again, we MUST recognize that boys and girls are wired differently.

September 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM  
Anonymous misty said...

Teachers have been putting my son on a daily chart since he was in Kindergarden. And, the teachers take away recess time when children get into trouble, nonsense! My husband and I are happily married and normal parents that have disciplined our children from the start. My 8yr old son has been on medication for the past year for ADHD. I go to support groups and talk with other moms about the problems they face. I am as confused as the day I started this hole journey. I have played an active role with my child and the school to stay involved and to help them in any way. When I have a teacher come up to me at meet the teacher night and tell me that she suggest my son go on a daily chart after the first couple of weeks, I just don't know what to say but HELP. We spend to much time pointing out the bad behavior in our children at school than concentrating on the good ones. I have pushed my son since he was 2 years old to learn everything he could and now I know that it might not have been a good idea on our part. I will go a different route with my youngest boy and let him have fun and not introduce him to such a structured life style until pre-k. Whether you have a boy or girl, I don't think that it matters what gender, but what will help our children of the future be better people. I am happy to see someone writing acticles to help educate us moms that need the information and guidance that will help us.

September 10, 2008 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the parent of a son for whom you wrote this book for! Unless you have a child whose I.Q. is in the 90th percentile for his age and fits this description to a T (has a LD & ADHD-inattention) wouldn't understand. I am open to reading all I can to understand and provide the best support I can for my student!

September 10, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Anonymous KLS in Hou said...

I wanted to say that I do not like the trend of eliminating free time for our children (boys or girls for that matter). I can't believe that my child is getting only one recess in the middle of the school day. She is working a much more difficult cirriculum that I did at her age and IMO should be breaking free more often as a reward. I fear what school will be like when my yet unborn son enters 6 years from now.

September 10, 2008 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read your article "Why are Boys Struggling" in Newsweek and was in awe since I just had this conversation with my husband last night. Yesterday his school sent home a request to allow our son to have extra time with "literacy specialists" because they think he's behind in reading. He's only in kindergarten! I didn't learn to read until I was in first grade. But it's all pressure to do more, do it quickly, no recess if you don't get your work done. It's really insane to expect so much from a 5-year old boy who only spends 3 hours at school. He did attend preschool but he loved it and we signed him up primarily for the social aspect and there was no pressure to "perform." He only has one activity (soccer) once a week and the rest of the time is spent outside playing, activities (library, museum, etc) or with our family and he's a very well-behaved kid who gets plenty of sleep AND fun. I look at my neighbor's boy who is in 3-4 activities a week, goes to bed at 9:30pm and wakes up just minutes before they leave for school and he is wild and now on ADHD medication, oh, but he can read (in first grade) so that more important. What happened to letting kids be kids?

I can't wait to read your book!

September 10, 2008 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a mother of four, three girls one boy. My son is very respectful to adults and does not cause problems at school. He is considered gifted since he was in 2nd grade but he is oftem bored and does not do his homework. Problems started last year when he entered sixth grade, junior high with six diferent teachers, it seemed to overwhelming for him. He would lie that he did his homework or that he had none. I received his report card in Feb 07' and he had two fails, a "B" in P.E., and two "c"s. No calls from teachers so I called them and they said not to move him from gifted because he was very smart. Then the next report card worsened and the final, five fails and one "C" in PE. I never had problems with my three daughters doing their homework and classwork but my son complete opposite. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles County (LAUSD). And I am so dissappointed in the teachers. One teacher told my son he would never amount to anything and he would live with his parents for the rest of his life. Nice, huh? He now just started 7th grade so I really have to babysit and make sure he does his work but he gets defensive sometimes. He loves to read what interests him and classes he does not like he tunes them out. I look forward to reading your book-Olivia In LA

September 10, 2008 at 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. Half of you are nuts. Circumcision? Discipline? Whatever! I agree with Ms. Tyre. The school system is not allowing our children to be children. No playing rough, no "bad guys", no "gun playing"-cowboys and indians-remember that? Freeze tag? Dodge ball? And I survived. It's not too much "extra-curricular", it's being stifled in the class. Heaven forbid our teachers have a few "rowdy kids" in the class. I know they are underpayed, but come on. Stop blaming ADHD. Get real!

September 10, 2008 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous marty c. said...

As a youth baseball coach for 12 yuears and a father for 21yrs., it is refreshing to me that there is now a study that backs up what I have believed for years. We as parents are soooo tied up with "success", that we push our children too far too fast. The education industry has done an evil job in telling us what is expected and what the future holds, and we have put blinders on the human side of childhood. Let's get back to tag in the school ball field and understand that boys will fight, flirt and will be attacted to some basic instints that some of the educators and child psychologists will not agree with. But, it raised a nation and it raised the greatest generation as well as the founding fathers. Lets reconnect with our childhood and let our children have theirs.

Marty C., State of Wa.

September 10, 2008 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous marty c. said...

as to the widespread male circumcision, the Jewish religion has been doing it for 5000 years, your observations need to be sharpened...

September 10, 2008 at 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one noticing this trend! I am the mother of two my son is 6. When my son started kindergarten, I was contacted at work to come and pick up my child for not keeping his hands to himself; he had given a girl at school a hug! I was given a pamphlet that described the acceptable way to show affection at school. You could hug from the side, but not the front. Girls can hug girls from the front, but not boy/girl hugging. Try explaining to a 6 year old, who is used to hugging friends and family everyday, which he can't hug at school or he will be sent home. He started having other disruptive behavior at school once the homework began, like not listening to his teacher. Why do kindergarteners have homework??? I was called numerous times to leave work and pick up my son, because he would not listen. It got to the point that when my phone would ring I would get anxiety. It got so bad that they actually called me to pick him up because he "might" have a problem that day. My son had done nothing wrong, but they thought he might! I am so fed up with the school system! What happened???

September 10, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'll be chalked up as a "right-wing conservative wacko", but do we really need a book to tell us that a massive population of our young boys have no fathers and have mothers living in poverty? To make things worse, most of our teachers are women. It's no shock that the lack of physical play allowed at school because of political correctness -- and schools thinking more about liability than the well-being of our boys -- is tantamount to disaster. I didn't need an 18 month study and the resulting book to make this clear to me. The collapse of the American family has had a devastating affect on our boys.

September 10, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not news - boys / children were not meant to be cooped up in a cell for 8 hours at a time, tied to a desk, and forced only to concentrate on mental activities. This study / information was written decades ago, and I lived it over 50 years ago (and I'm female).

The best educational experience happens in a 1-room schoolhouse, with all the grades taught in the same room. Those capable of faster learning progress while still remaining with their peers, and those slower learners have the advantage of hearing information again and again until they can grasp it more fully. Physical chores and physical games and physical activities like art and music and drama and the like round out the day. ROUND OUT. It is something we don't like to think about. We think a linear education of the mind is all that is needed, but physical activity creates connections in the brain that enables learning.

I know.

My son was one of those Hyper kids who had to jiggle and wiggle and squirm in order to process his lessons. We found this out in 1978 at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital.

Everything old is new again. The studies re-affirm old news, the data doesn't improve because WE don't allow the changes that would cause improvement.

And another generation loses out. What does it come to? I think this is the 5th or 6th generation to suffer from "modern teaching methods". I hope my grandchildren will forgive me - and you.

September 10, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. Not sure if you investigated this aspect or not, but I believe the pendulum has swung too far - well beyond the correction that was needed in the 60's and 70's - past the systematic support/encouragement of girls to take up and succeed in science and math curricula.

I have 3 sons (19, 15, and 5). The older two have mentioned (year after year) that teacher behaviors range from outwardly and blatantly favoring girls to using teaching methods which subversively play to the strengths of girls, which (they say) tend to be more social, verbal, deferential. In addition, they argue pop culture influences are more pronounced for boys in terms of the emphasis placed academics - and these influences run counter to the value of education and encourage questioning, nay challenging, authority figures. Teachers need to vary their approaches to appeal to both boys and girls learning styles - that has not happened as far as we can tell.

I do believe we still have a gap which needs to be addressed at the senior level (board rooms etc) with females. But, I think we need to discontinue initiatives such as 'bring your daughter to work day' or 'women in engineering days' etc and start leveling the playing field again in secondary education and beyond.

September 10, 2008 at 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Donnie, PhD, MA said...

There are a lot of interesting comments here, and it is encouraging to me to see these issues come to light.
I agree that young boys should not be expected to sit still for 7 hours a day in school. However, young boys need to realize that there is a time for play, and a time to sit and learn.
Discipline starts, and ends, within the household. While there are a great number of single parents out ther that really bust their @sses, there are an equal number that for many reasons don't have the remianing time and energy to encourage appropriate behavior and learning habits in their children. Acting out impulsively is not an appropriate male trait, and can lead to longer term antisocial behaviors and conflict.
There are many spokes in this wheel, so not any one is the culprit or the cure. What works for one, may not always work for another. High expectations are, in my opinion, healthy and help with focus. Rewarding mediocrity - like giving the same rewards for success and failure alike - is ridiculous.
Lastly, unbelieveable about the circumcision association - wow.

September 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I have been experiencing this phenomenon and the community acts like I'm one of those overzealous mothers with unrealistic expectations for my son. I thank you for bringing this issue into focus. FINALLY! I just found your article on MSN today and it came at a great time. I can partly relax today, that its not just my son or just my community's school system that has promoted this drastic change from elementary to middle school. I know we made the right decision pulling him from the messed up school system. In fact, because of the great success all 4 of my children are now home schooled as of this passed August. Its only the first month and I can already see the difference with the cirriculum being centered differently around each of them and not trying to hold them up to the "cookie cutter" standards. They come from a two parent household we do discipline and believe in God. We just stopped turning our heads and finally looked at the failure of the system and we know our children deserve better.

September 11, 2008 at 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three boys ages 11,8,7 and my oldest loves school and he has ADHD.But very good without his meds sometimes. But I agree with the mom who has 7 kids.We should let our boys be free and get to the point of learn .Like that saying goes girls learn faster and some boys learn later.

September 11, 2008 at 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Firefighter Mom said...

First of all I would like to say Kudos to all the parents out here taking an active role in their kids education... I am a single mom of an energetic about to be nine year old boy and I repeatedly get notes from the teacher about how he finishes his scool work in minutes then after a while disrupts the rest of the class. This is not uncommon for me since I was once that child. I am a graduate of public school at the age of 16 and get this I repeated the sixth grade for sassing my mom about how dumb the other students were!!! She sure fixed that.. Anyway (SOME)school teachers have evolved to glorified babysitters. There was a time if you finished school work before everyone else, you were instructed to wash the chalk board or some other meanial labor. Now (in my case with my son) the teachers expect a child to just sit there until other students catch up. This bothers me. I teach part time but my full time job is a Firefighter. I have Odd hours and every minute is precious seeing the things that happen while I am at work. For all of you remain steadfast and pray. Dont give in the the mainstream... Keep our little boys full of ambition and goals. Dreams can become reality with nuturement.

September 11, 2008 at 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Bridgette said...

I watched the interview with Peg on The Today Show this morning and my eyes filled with tears. I have a bright, active 5 yr old boy who started K 2 1/2 weeks ago. I have gotten a phone call almost every day and have been asked to pick him up twice for inappropriate play and touching other kids. I am not talking about kicking or punching, I mean boys playing lasers together, I mean touching someones hair or wanting to hold another childs' hand. Maybe I should say I am a SAHM and my son did not attend preschool. However, when he was tested at the age of 4 because my husband and I were trying to find the right school, he tested at a 1st grade level in language and a 2nd grade level in math. I say this because when the calls started coming I was shocked that the teacher said he did not appear interested in class. I have already had 2 conferences with the principal. He has already encouraged my son to see the school psycologist. I finally told the principal he was not to call me to remove my son from school again unless my son had knocked the crap out of another child or set the building on fire. My son is not aggressive. I am not in denial. I am not crazy to think it is unreasonable for schools to expect a perfectly normal behavior such as rough housing or touching to be abnormal in little boys. They do not magically become grown-up just because they turn 5 or 6.Don't get me wrong I take any problems that my son has very seriously. I have spoken to my son, his teacher and observed his class. I saw nothing but bright beautiful typical kids. I guess our schools are training our teachers to be intolerant of typical behavior. Anyway, I feel validated in my words and actions at his school after seeing the interview. I am going out this afternoon to get the book, maybe I will get 2 and give one to the principal.

September 11, 2008 at 4:23 PM  

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