Wednesday, June 07, 2006

boys to men, part I

Some of our readers here have young lads at home. Some of the rest of us, God help us, might also procreate in the future. So today's two-part series is for anyone who plans on raising rugrats in the foreseable future.

In the last couple of months, I've stumbled across some random articles that, put together, paint a bleak picture of what it's like to be a young boy in this country. It's interesting reading, and something to ponder if it could affect your kids.

In our culture and in schools, boys are being placed at a precarious disadvantage from the moment they start preschool until after college -- if they make it that far.

By most accounts, they're not.

This Newsweek article seems to be the most comprehensive one in confronting the scope of the problem. I don't want to rehash it, but the jist of it is that boys' brainpans develop differently than girls. And this era of standardized test scores and elimination of gym class and recess magnifies boys' weaknesses and reduces their strengths.

That's a very, very fast overview. Read the article. Maybe you agree with it, and maybe you don't, but here are some alarming statstics that I've cobbled together from various sources that must be explained:
  • 58 percent of college students are female; 42 percent male, the largest gap ever.
  • Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability -- eight times more likely to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD -- than girls
  • 40 percent of boys under 12 are being raised in single-parent homes
  • Boys are six times as likely to drop out of high school, and that figure even includes dames who drop out after they get knocked up
One of the things that angered me in the Newsweek story was a quote from this ludicrous mother, Cris Messler of Summit, N.J., who brought her high-energy 3-year-old to her doctor hoping for an ADHD diagnosis because her kid was too antsy. She wanted him medicated.

I'm sorry that she finds life as a parent tough and draining, but young boys are supposed to be full of energy and rambunctious. Doping her kid up on Ritalin and propping him in classrooms in some sort of vegetative fog is downright reckless.

Someone should call DYFS on her.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents like her -- overmedicating their kids for the sake of making it easier on themselves and their teachers.

So what's the answer? I don't know exactly, but it's apparent the schools need to make significant adjustments in how they teach and deal with young lads. We need some sort of legislation for boys to do that -- akin to what Title IX did for girls in the '70s.

Moreover, I think the troubles foisted upon boys in school are a possibly symptom of a larger problem -- the pussification of America. We'll get to that in part II.


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