My son has had many difficulties since starting school, and his behavioural problems have led to many trips to the principals office. It sounds pretty familiar. I was a regular customer there so many years ago, although more often than not my sentence was a more benign relegation to the corner of the classroom, or lines on the blackboard ala Bart Simpson. But in an era where “tag” is no longer allowed, throwing snowballs during winter is banned, and recess is a time to stand outside in gender neutral clusters and shiver in the wind, it makes me wonder.
Recently, my son was tested for possible advanced signs of “enrichment” in his studies. Though such tests do not usually begin until grade 3, he was tested in the first grade, and found to be sitting somewhere in the 97th percentile for his age group, showing that much of his behavioural problems might be due to simply being “bored” with his slower peergroup. But I was not so sure. At the rate he was getting into trouble, the school suggested that perhaps my son was suffering from ADHD. The very thought made me bristle.
If anything, I thought, this kid isn’t suffering from intellectual boredom, but the stifling of being a boy. Getting sent to the office for the most trivial of offenses, such as giving “raspberries” to other children, light pushing and shoving, and asserting male hierarchal authority within other groups of boys, is simply not tolerated anymore. It makes me wonder if our society is slowly turning our boys into girls:
[...]For Mr. Carneal, that proves his theory. Boys as a whole are softer today than they were 40 years ago.
“If you take a group of 25 boys now, there might be six or seven of what I call real tomboys compared to back then, if you had a class of 25, you’d have 22 of them who were tough, they were boys,” he said.
There’s growing concern among educators, psychologists and others who share Mr. Carneal’s feelings, that we may be feminizing our boys. There’s a feeling that society is trying to bleach out gender differences in the name of sexual equality.
We expect boys today to abandon the manly stoicism of yesteryear in exchange for expressing their feelings. We tell them not to fight the bully but join hands with him in conflict mediation class.
Don’t fight, don’t run and be quiet or you might get diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and put on medication.
In the struggle to empower women, we’ve lost sight of what makes boys into men. It isn’t about being sexist or misogynistic, but not stifling those characteristics which are intrinsically male. The reasons for this change are many, and the article attributes it to things like a lack of a male role model, to the lack of male teachers. I think it breaks down to the politically correct “sensitivity” training which begins early in school in Canada, and indoctrinates children to some kind of notion of gender neutrality, eradicating those differences which do make gender unique, and trying to obfuscate the instinctive drives which occur in both the male and female species. Under political correction, we are taught to restrain our boys from engaging in the healthy horseplay which we, ourselves, grew up on. Because of a cultural sensitivity over issues like bullying, gender equity, and a notion that all children are “completely equal”, we are beginning to see the psychological problems of today’s young adults emerge in their inadequate and unprepared approach to the “real world”.