How much were our parents to blame?

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Alban
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Postby Alban » Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:56 pm

My personal view as both past pupil and a parent of young children, is this:

You cannot teach peace with violence.

No one changes because they are forced to, they change because they want to.

Physically punishing a child is going to deter the most determined no more than any form of non-violent punishment. I have seen and known teachers that can keep order in the most unruly of classes without laying a finger on the children. As a parent, I can vouch that verbal control works much better than physical.

I can also back up ADG in that it is my experience that boys are much more emotionally frail in their formative years.

Alban

Daniel Gregory
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Postby Daniel Gregory » Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:57 pm

Hello Chris de vere and ADG,

Please stop boxing!!

Chris says that boys are rowdy by nature...
ADG says that boys are generally more sensitive and vulnerable....

Well, I am a parent and was a boy. I have two daughters an a son and can without doubt confirm that my son is a 'typical' boy and I am still getting used to him. My kids are all sensitive but my son is alot more 'rowdy' than my daughters.

I also have ten nephews and nieces and the same applies, boys are more rowdy.

What is the answer? I don't agree that corporal punishment (especially in this day and age) is the answer. I do think that the wrong attitude shown by many people, young and old is the cause of many problems in society.

Perhaps the reduction and eventual banning of corporal punishment, the scrapping of compulsary national service in the 1950's and whatever other factors anyone might think of has changed us, but not all of us for the better.

Some children/adults do need better discipline in their lives but how do we convince them of this?

Danny Gregory :new-alien:

Daffy
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Postby Daffy » Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:30 pm

I agree with those who say corporal punishment is not the answer, particularly with 'weapons' such as the cane.

As a parent myself of a young child I am determined not to introduce violence into my family. I watch our many friends with older children who are successfully managing to bring up their kids without resorting to corporal punishment of any kind. I don't feel that I am adopting some kind of wishy-washy social worker mentality, though I don't underestimate the challenge.

Everyone can agree that discipline is good, but discipline means many things to many people. 'A bit of discipline never did me any harm' is not the same as 'a bit of severe physical violence never did me any harm'.

BTW, with respect to Chris de Vere's comments a few posts back, I don't want to fan the flames again, but I would like to point out that the discussion is open to all. This thread is about parenting. Those who are not parents themselves have (or have had) parents and can therefore still contribute usefully to the debate. Hopefully we will all benefit from an exchange of views, but I think we can safely say that in a thousand years parents will still be debating how best to bring up their children!

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Postby a different guest » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:06 am

Daniel - yes boys get rowdier - when they are older! It might not be clear from the posts but I was talking about YOUNG boys and babies. Alban did pick this up by agreeing with me about his observations in boys "formative" years.

Like I posted earlier - it is statistical fact that boy babies are more unsettled than girl babies. Now perhaps it can then get down to parenting - are you the sort of parent who ignores a crying baby? or are you the sort to offer comfort. Boys ARE needier than girls in these early years. Also, when kids start school - go and observe kids first day. Of the kids crying I will bet you the majority of them are boys.

Nuture also lends a hand with older feminist mothers - I have seen on a number of occasions at playgroups and mothers groups the following sort of situation - say, toddlers tussling over a toy. If a girl child is inolved she will be labelled "assertive" but if a boy child is involved he will be labelled "aggresssive" with the mother FAR more likely to intervene. I kid you not - I've seen it!

I haven't read it in a long time but a good book about boys is by Steve Biddulp and its called "raising boys". I remember not agreeing with everything he said but he makes some interesting points. And yes many mothers (and fathers) are consiously raising their boys these days to be caring sensitive people beleiving there is strenght in that. They no longer tell their sons things like "boys don't cry" or encourage them to punch out kids in the playground who aren't nice to them.

Alban
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Postby Alban » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:24 am

a different guest wrote:I haven't read it in a long time but a good book about boys is by Steve Biddulp and its called "raising boys"...


And when he talks about "A surge in testosterone" you beter batten down the hatches!

Boys are more emotionally unsettled when young, but this does not preclude them from being rowdy. In my experience, it's the imbalance that causes the rowdiness.

...but girls make more noise

....yes they do!

Goblinboy
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Boys, Biddulph and Psychology

Postby Goblinboy » Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:02 am

a different guest wrote:I haven't read it in a long time but a good book about boys is by Steve Biddulp and its called "raising boys".


Yes. Good book. His other books on being a bloke are also worthwhile. Just add an "h" to the surname (Biddulph). http://www.stevebiddulph.com/

Biddulph's stuff is probably not going to be palatable to SES / School of Philosophy members, as I recall my SES girlfriend telling me she was forbidden from seeing a psychologist for counselling by her "tutor". Psychology wasn't "true", and wasn't going to help her - greater obedience to the teachings of the School of Philosophy was all that was required.

And agree with ADG and Alban on the nature of boys. Their andecdotal experience as parents (and mine) is reflected in the research.

Sarah M
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Postby Sarah M » Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:34 am

This debate about girls and boys is starting to seriously wind me up. One of the things I hated most about the SES/St James doctrine was the seperating of girls and boys and men and women into seperate camps. Of course it's possible to make generalisations about differences and similarities, and it's probably possible to find research to back up most points of view, but how helpful is it really? For all the research focusing on innate differences between the sexes there is research to show that these differences are caused by nuture. From my own observations I can see that boys and girls often behave differently and are treated differently, but which came first the chicken or the egg? I have 2 daughters, they are sensitive, rowdy, thoughtful, boistrous, kind, aggresive, assertive, shy, intelligent, daft, agile, clumsy, artistic, an enormous pain and a huge joy. I find this reduction of children into a gender specific set of characteristics extremely sad.
In terms of the subject of this forum, the bottom line is, beating, humiliating and verbally abusing children hurts and damages them whether they are boys or girls.

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Postby a different guest » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:17 pm

woah sarah - hold your horses there.

I am writing from the perspective of breaking down gender stereotypes NOT reinforcing them. That being said there ARE 'general' differences between boys and girls and they ARE general. Everybody has aspects of 'masculane' and feminine' (for want of better terms *sigh*) in them and those amounts vary from person to person. And I strongly argue AGAINST the practice of trying to rid boys of 'feminine aspects' (umm, can someone invent a better ungendered term?) by 'toughening' them up etc.

and i would certainly not ever ecourage 'separating' children/adults because of their sex a la the SES. For instance, I would never send my children to a school that did not have in practice a good gender equity policy. At my kids school both boys and girls play netball, both boys and girls play footy. The 'girl" uniform is the same as the "boy' uniform. And of course the ethos runs deeper than these things I mention.

As far as I am concerned this is NORMAL for a school and has been for some time - thus part of my concern about the SES schools and my relo's kids.

TB
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Postby TB » Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:04 am

ADG,

TB wrote
Quote:
If something like this does not turn out for the best, it appears that it is very difficult for parents to admit an error

I beg to differ. Most parents I know would concede to various mistakes - even little ones and wish for the benefit of hindsight


What I did not say, and obviously should have, is that parents also rationalise their behaviour. This allows them to feel that they have seen and corrected mistakes. If they are not able to do this, it would threaten sanity. This is not restricted to parents, it is part of social human behaviour, but the emotive impact of children exaggerates it. Since I have made a statement about this, can I prove it? Aside from my own personal experience of this, our knowledge of psychology and biology shows that feedback mechanisms operate to protect us from issues that are too difficult to cope with. These are physical and mental. This view by definition is not well accepted in general society, despite research and logic that supports it. Once again, its a protection mechanism to believe our own view and value it accordingly.

ADG I have to add that I suspect your view that boy children are less rowdy than girls is being preset by your social notions of gender. It is not difficult to assess if this is the case, unless one is unable to overcome prejudices, in which case it is very easy to kid oneself. Being rowdy is not exclusive with sensitivity or vulnerability. Any collection of small children will show that boys are m,ore physical and destructive, more inclined to fight than girls. It is of course affected by upbringing and social expectations but its biology that causes this difference, just as biology dictates that women, not men, become pregnant. Our brains, hormones, biology are vastly different, is it any wonder we behave differently. The social drive to somehow deny some differences and eliminate others, so we can become more equal, is intensely powerful and politically appealing.

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Postby a different guest » Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:24 am

What I did not say, and obviously should have, is that parents also rationalise their behaviour. This allows them to feel that they have seen and corrected mistakes.


Are you saying that parents (and people as a whole) are constantly deluding themselves???

If so I would disagree.

Certainly I have made some parenting mistakes - and freely admit them. I can to a certain extent "rationalise" them - but I mean by that more "analyse" - ie seek to understand why that mistake was made. For instance the example I gave earlier about smacking - I realised it was a mistake, a tactical error and also had more to do with aussauging my own anger and frustration than anything to do with "discipline". I've "rationalised" it, but does that make the mistake go away? No.

and TB - I have not said that boys are or are not rowdier than girls. Both can be rowdy. I would agree there are certain inante differences between the sexes, no doubt driven by biology, hormones etc. However the extent of these differences vary from person to person and that is BEFORE you take the "nuture" thing into consideration. What is dangerous is stereotyping traits and then encouraging them. The old "boys don't cry" stuff for example. Of COURSE boys cry - and they should be allowed to.

and I stand by my assertion that very young boys are generally more emtionally fragile than their female peers. Perhaps this is linked to their less developed speech/vocab abilities?

also, keep in mind that all foetuses start out female. :)

TB
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Postby TB » Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:55 am

Hi ADG,

Are you saying that parents (and people as a whole) are constantly deluding themselves???

If so I would disagree.


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying, so let me support my statement.

Ignorance is not directly observable, in other words you do not know what you do not know. You might agree that you are probably not aware of ALL mistakes made by you in life, because every now and again you probably learn something that shows you a past error. Before that happened you assumed that there was no mistake at all. This occurs because of simple ignorance in most cases, however when there are significant things at stake we might actively block out reality. This is seen in alchoholics who steadfastly cannot see their problem, or people who are being cuckolded by their spouse who are usually among the last to find out because they block facts that threaten their core values and life.

For parents, debates over breast vs bottle, passive smoking, caesarean vs vaginal delivery, etc, can significantly affect the entire life of their child so if the reality threatens this, it takes a courageous person to face the responsibility. Sometimes they take a half way stance and blame the medical profession, friends, relatives etc.

A popular example of this mindset occured when Galileo suggested that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Regardless of facts, this could not be contemplated because of the damage it would do to the status quo, primarily in the church and society as a whole.

This is usually offered as an example of a flawed theory when it probably better demonstrates flawed thinking. Once the dust settled the same people blindly accepted that the sun was at the centre, still without knowing the full facts or proof. In short they were incapable of independent thought, average human beings.

If you checked with a number of intelligent, qualified people that accepted biological evolution, as opposed to creationism, very few would have complete understanding of it. Most accept these scientific facts on faith, and if pushed beyond dinner party conversation would be unable to support either creationism or evolution.

I realised it was a mistake, a tactical error and also had more to do with aussauging my own anger and frustration than anything to do with "discipline". I've "rationalised" it, but does that make the mistake go away? No.


As per my earlier comments, this works only if you aware of all 'mistakes' you make, something even a saint might not make claim to. It proves very little to point out that we do recognise some mistakes, and this explains why most people think like you do.

The challenge is the ones we do not acknowledge today, but might see tomorrow - or never.

What is dangerous is stereotyping traits and then encouraging them. The old "boys don't cry" stuff for example. Of COURSE boys cry - and they should be allowed to.


I agree with you - for this example. I think the issues arise when people disagree on what is a biological difference and what is socialised. And, even if something is socialised does this make it a bad thing? I happen to agree with you that boys should be allowed to cry, but what if they cried as much as girls did?

and I stand by my assertion that very young boys are generally more emtionally fragile than their female peers. Perhaps this is linked to their less developed speech/vocab abilities?


I know very little about infant development and only having daughters I do not have experience or research on this, so i guess I have no view either way. I have read that girls do develop verbal skills earlier than boys and understand that male and female brains deal quite differently with verbal and social skills.

also, keep in mind that all foetuses start out female. :)


I disagree with this, perhaps you mean that foetuses are female by default in form, but not genetics. They are born with either XX or XY chromosomes (with rare exceptions). Hormones then kick in and affect how the foetues evolves. The concept that female is default is being questioned, some sources would describe the foetus is gender undifferentiated for the first 6 weeks until hormones act upon the chromes.

It appears the view of starting life as female came about due to a lack of understanding on what factors occur to make a female, while those making a male were quite well understood. So it became 'female by default'.

This gives a good example of mistaken understanding based upon ignorance. You and I have little clue about the true facts on something like this, yet we think we do. Your view and mine might both be wrong, and another will replace the commonly held myth. In this case this particular 'fact' has been used by feminists for political gain, so they are likely to defend anything that might upset it.

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Postby a different guest » Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:24 am

I happen to agree with you that boys should be allowed to cry, but what if they cried as much as girls did?


well my experience is that they cry more. At least as youngsters. Once they start school things start to change - is this "nature" or social pressure?

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Postby TB » Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:59 pm

Hi ADG,

well my experience is that they cry more.


What is your experience? Pre school teacher, neo natal nurse? If I understand you correctly you believe that boys cry more from birth to school age (7 years?) than girls and then it reverses.

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Postby a different guest » Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:34 am

TB - here school starting age can be as young as four and a half. Six is the oldest they start school.

re my experience - well as a parent (and with all the networking that involves with other mums) plus I've read up quite a read a bit about child development (as one does) plus also involvement with creche/kindergartens and schools.

As I said earlier, it is statistically true that male infants are more "unsettled" than female infants. ie - amongst other things what it boils down to is they cry more. Even in the toddler years boys seem more prone to tannys and crying than girls (which is why I wonder about the language aspect - this type of behaviour comes on cos the child is unable to control and express their emotions). Even into pre-school a small tumble and a grazed knee and girls seem far more stoic than boys about their injuries (but perhaps this is biological with females having a higher pain threshold than boys?).

Once at school tho outside influences play a MUCH bigger part in any gender divide.

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Postby a different guest » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:05 am

so TB - am i to assume by your posts in another thread that you are so SES anal you have dropped this discussion?

Do you enocurage gender stereotypes?

why do you unable to beleive young males are emotionally vulnerable?

Why do you control your children so much? don't you want them to grow into healthy adults able to make their own decisions?


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