Saturday, December 21, 2013

Boy Trouble - Family breakdown

Kay S. Hymowitz writes in Atlantic magazine:
Family breakdown disproportionately harms young males—and they’re falling further behind.

When I started following the research on child well-being about two decades ago, the focus was almost always girls’ problems—their low self-esteem, lax ambitions, eating disorders, and, most alarming, high rates of teen pregnancy. ...

The reason for boys’ dismal school performance, they argued, was the growing number of fatherless homes. ...

In fact, signs that the nuclear-family meltdown of the past half-century has been particularly toxic to boys’ well-being are not new. ...

On average, boys are more physically active and restless than girls. They have less self-control and are more easily distracted. They take longer to mature. They have a harder time sitting still, paying attention, and following rules, especially in the early years of school. ...

Boys — not girls — often require remedial education to sit still, to look at the person speaking to them, to finish the task they were working on. These days, experts might put it this way: boys come into the world with less natural human capital than do girls.
No, boys do not have less human capital. They only appear to have less if you judge them by feminine standards, such as the willingness to sit still in class for feminized educators.

If boys pay too much attention to something, it is considered a symptom of autism, and if they pay too little, a symptom of ADD. They are only considered normal if they behave like girls.

Keoni Galt points out how her analysis is partially right and partially annoying:
Boys don't just need Fathers in the home to role model and provide guidance them on how to become Men.

Boys need Fathers in the home, to keep the mothering from becoming smothering. ...

Where did this Fatherless boy learn how to be cruel and heartless? By imprinting his single mother's worst feminine traits and emotional stability causing an intermittent reward addiction for her approval, combined with his base masculine drive and aggressiveness.

Which is precisely why the lynch pin to destabilizing and destroying a civilization, is to remove the Father from his role at the head of his home.
Update: James S Taranto of the WSJ also says that Hymowitz's analysis falls short, and explains the root of her problem:
The real revelation comes in the first paragraph, wherein Hymowitz laments non-elite boys' diminishing "chances ... of becoming reliable husbands and fathers." To be sure, this columnist is acquainted with any number of men who fit that description, and by and large they report that family life is a source of great happiness. But we can't recall ever hearing such a man describe himself, nor can we imagine one describing himself proudly, as a "reliable" husband or father.

Hymowitz would like men to organize their lives around maximizing their usefulness to women and children. Hey, what woman wouldn't?
That is, she is measuring the success of boys by what is good for girls. She is arguing that boys are not improving themselves the way girls are, but fails to grasp that boys and girls may want different things.


Anonymous said...

That WSJ story includes a link to another story about a man who got kicked out of Auburn even though all charges of sexual and physical assault were dropped:

An Education in College Justice

Anonymous said...

I have to take issue with what Mr. Taranto wrote:

we can't recall ever hearing such a man describe himself, nor can we imagine one describing himself proudly, as a "reliable" husband or father.

I am proud to be a reliable father and in thinking of my own father, that's a lot of what he offered. He was usually busy working, but there were times when my mother behaved emotionally and irrationally and I could usually rely on him to provide reason and intercede with her. (Which is not to say that he never behaved emotionally or irrationally.) He was very serious about providing material resources for my mother and us children all of his life and beyond.

I guess Mr. Taranto means to say reliability is a really low bar. I could tell story after story where I either encouraged or let my children try something while watching and staying close by to catch them or grab them if they slipped. Often I'd hear someone's voice in the background saying, "Fathers sure are different than mothers!" I watched a mom yesterday evening with her two-year-old son at a "turtle rock". Three times she put him up on it and took him off, and he had a good time running around on it, but she would not let him scramble up or down on his own.

I spent four hours last week driving to pick up and drop off grandma so she could attend my daughter's school event. She doesn't like to drive anymore, especially at night. I think it meant something to my daughter that grandma and I were both there. I believe that sort of reliability is the bedrock of a healthy childhood. It's not just hugs and kisses and sweet words.

George said...

You are saying that the kids and grandma could rely on you. Nothing wrong with that. I think that Hymowitz had in mind that the wife could rely on the husband to do what she wants.