Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
A recent essay on TIME magazine’s website argues that schools are becoming “hostile environments for young boys.” In the aftermath of school violence in places including Newtown, Connecticut, many schools have adopted zero tolerance policies related to firearms, but those rules are sometimes interpreted very strictly, with boys as young as seven being suspended for pretending to “shoot” bad guys with pencils, or for throwing imaginary hand grenades. As a result, writer Christina Hoff Sommers worries that schools are no longer letting boys engage in the action-oriented, good-guys-versus-bad-guys play that she says comes naturally to them.
Here’s more from her essay on TIME.com:
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Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud—too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.”
According to at least one study, such play rarely escalates into real aggression—only about 1% of the time. But when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, surveyed classroom practices of 98 teachers of 4-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week—whereas less than a third reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly.
Play is a critical basis for learning. And boys’ heroic play is no exception. Logue and Harvey found that “bad guy” play improved children’s conversation and imaginative writing. Such play, say the authors, also builds moral imagination, social competence and imparts critical lessons about personal limits and self-restraint. Logue and Harvey worry that the growing intolerance for boys’ action-narrative-play choices may be undermining their early language development and weakening their attachment to school.
boys, Christina Hoff Sommers, gun violence, school, schools, social behavior, Time magazine, violence | Categories:
Education, Parenting News, Parents News Now, Trends
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Attachment parenting, the parenting philosophy that captured national attention when a controversial Time magazine cover sparked debate, has the support of a high number of self-identified feminists, a new study published in the journal Sex Roles has found.
The study asked mothers and non-mothers–who either did or did not identify themselves as feminists–to rate their level of support of a number of parenting principles, including the length of time children should be breastfed (from not at all to more than 18 months), whether mothers should carry their children in slings or arms as often as possible, and whether parents should co-sleep with their children.
On all of those measures, feminist mothers were most likely to support attachment parenting principles, with non-feminist mothers right behind them, and non-feminist non-mothers the least likely to support the principles.
The findings are intertwined with the perennial question of how to define feminism. The study’s authors, psychologists Miriam Liss and Mindy J. Erchull, write that the self-identified feminists in the study “saw themselves as somewhat atypical feminists who were more interested in attachment parenting than they thought was typical of feminists.”
An analysis from BuzzFeed.com said that Liss and Erchull also found that non-feminist mothers were most likely to believe that the principles of attachment parenting are incompatible with feminism:
Despite finding that feminist moms were more likely to subscribe to attachment-parenting philosophies, the study authors found that non-feminists, especially non-feminist moms, still believed the opposite: that feminism meant you weren’t interested in things like co-sleeping or carrying your baby in a sling. Liss and Erchull wrote, “these stereotypes are consistent with the image of a feminist woman as being less invested in her children and family, perhaps because she is more invested in aspects of her life outside of the home.”
Image: Baby in a sling, via Shutterstock
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Monday, May 21st, 2012
The singer Alanis Morissette is weighing in on the debate sparked by a recent Time magazine cover on “attachment parenting” by saying that she has no plans to stop breastfeeding her 16-month-old son, Ever Imre. PEOPLE.com has more:
“I breastfeed and I’ll be breastfeeding until my son is finished and he weans,” Morissette, 37, tells Access Hollywood.
Her decision, she adds, will provide her son with the stability he needs in his future. “I think it affords the child, when he grows up, to have a lot less therapy to go to,” the first-time mom explains.
“For me, I protect his safety and his well-being and his attachment. That stage of development is a very important stage.”
Image: Alanis Morissette, via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
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Friday, May 11th, 2012
The cover of this week’s Time magazine features a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son under the headline “Are You Mom Enough?” As MediaBistro.com reports, “The feature inside Time is about Dr. William Sears, the man credited with starting ”attachment parenting,” but Time obviously knew this cover was much more attention-grabbing than putting him on the front. Mission accomplished.”
Time’s website, which makes the article available to subscribers, has this note from author Kate Pickert:
As the author of 40-plus books on parenting and pregnancy, Sears is a familiar figure to many American mothers and fathers. Some parents subscribe to his theory that attachment parenting — characterized by extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping and wearing your baby in a sling across your body — is the best way to raise confident, secure children. Others think Sears is an antifeminist tyrant, or that his ideas are just totally unrealistic.
Image via http://healthland.time.com
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