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Bulletin #4421, Violence Part 1: Societal and Cultural Roots

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Violence Part 1:

Societal and Cultural Roots

boy looking through chainlink fenceJudith Graham Ph.D., Extension human development specialist

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“Kids today are in trouble,” states James Garbarino. This is probably not a new or surprising assessment for many readers, but it does reflect the overall decrease in the well-being of our society since 1970. One indicator is the sharp decline in the Index of Social Health for the United States. Another is the significant increase in 45 of the 113 emotional and behavioral problems of the Child Behavior Checklist; those items increasing include feelings of apathy, sadness, various forms of distress in children, and dislike of school.1 Garbarino’s explanation is that “children today live in a socially toxic environment.”2

“Socially toxic environment” explains Garbarino, means “that the social world of children, the social context in which they grow up, has become poisonous to their development.”3 Social toxins include “violence, poverty and other economic pressures on parents and their children, disruption of relationships, nastiness, despair, depression, paranoia, alienation—all the things that demoralize families and communities.” Two very telling differences between the social context of today versus that of 30 years ago are the constant stream of messages that undermine kids’ sense of security and the departure of adults from the lives of kids.4

As the social environment becomes more toxic, it is the children—particularly the most vulnerable among them who will show the effects first and worst. And the children who will show the effects of social toxicity first and most dramatically are the ones who have accumulated the most developmental risk factors. Their risk factors are absent fathers, poverty and other economic pressures, racism, addiction, educational failure, poor physical health, family violence, and adult emotional problems that impair parenting. Each of these factors multiplies the effects of any others that may be present, and so risk accumulates.5

Garbarino continues his reasoning of the impacts of social toxicity in his most recent book, Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them.6 The publicity of school killings during the last two years has served as a “wakeup call for America,” states Garbarino. Unfortunately, these killings are not new but reflect the “terrible phenomenon of youth violence [that] has been commonplace for the past 20 years.” The importance of this book is that if we can examine the “circumstances under which the epidemic of youth violence first took hold, among low-income, minority youth in inner-city areas, we can begin to gain some insight into the lives of the boys in places like Jonesboro, Paducah, and Springfield,” and now Littleton.7

This fact sheet looks at the roots of violence—primarily how our culture and relationships are the seedbeds of violence. Bulletin #4422, Violence, Part 2: Shame and Humiliation, focuses more on prevention—what can we do as parents, teachers and caregivers to intervene in the effects of social toxicity, and how we can increase our children’s resilience and well-being. Since spanking as a method of discipline is high on the list of behaviors contributing to problems and violence, bulletin #4357, Spanking, looks specifically at nonviolent discipline and positive parenting.

Drawing Our Children’s Social Maps8

When we Americans seek to understand our children, we move most easily among psychological theories that focus on individual development. Our deeply rooted individualistic culture means we are most comfortable approaching our children as individual thinkers (through theories of cognition) or as the sum total of reinforced patterns of behavior (through theories of learning). These approaches tell us a great deal about some specifics of behavior and development. If our goal is to evaluate the quality of our children’s lives, however, we need a more avowedly social definition of development, a definition that focuses on the child’s relationships.

First and foremost, child development is about the process and outcome of drawing the child’s social map, a map brought to life in behavior as it arises and is understood by the individual and the community. Life draws the child’s map; each child sees the world through the lenses of culture, temperament, and individual experience. The child proceeds with the drawing of this map in response to experiences that arise from the social systems of family, school, neighborhood, church, community, society and culture.

Some children learn to draw social maps in which they are central figures, powerful and surrounded by allies. Others draw defensive maps in which they are surrounded by enemies, or are insignificant specks stuck off in the corner. The child’s map is first primarily the result of experience, but increasingly it becomes the cause. They are often self-sustaining. They gather momentum, for better or for worse.

Where Do Social Maps Come From?

Social maps come from the way the child gets along in the world. Our task is to understand the forces of the social environment as they impinge upon the child. One of the first things we can observe in this process is that by and large people become what their environment defines as real and normal. Environment guides most of the people most of the time.

Environment press is a term used by ecological psychologists to talk about this process of normalization. It includes the combined influences of forces working in a setting to shape the behavior and development of people who are in that setting. Environmental press arises from the circumstances confronting and surrounding an individual. These forces generate psychosocial momentum that guides individuals in a particular direction. It is the raw material for children’s social maps.

People come to resemble the environments they inhabit. In all environments, as in all individuals, there are weaknesses and strengths, sources of risk and opportunity. These forces may work for or against meeting the child’s basic survival needs; for or against providing emotional nurturance and continuity; for or against appropriate attempts at self-determination. In short, the nature of the social environment may work for or against the creation of a positive environment for the growth and development of children and their social maps.

One thing that we can establish is the central role of families in the child’s experience. The family is the exclusive early environment for most children and the primary environment for nearly all. As such, it is a major source of environmental press. We also know that children function not so much as individuals but as members of families when it comes to entering and experiencing new environments such as schools.

At first, most children experience only one social system—the home. Home involves interaction with a very small group of people—often one person at a time—in relatively simple activities, such as feeding, bathing, and cuddling that offer the baby an introductory lesson in love. As the child develops, complexity increases; the child does more, with more people, in more places.

The child and the environment negotiate their relationship as time goes on. Neither is constant; each depends on the other. The impact of childhood depends on who the child is and what else is happening in the child’s life.

Influential events often occur in systems where children do not themselves participate directly. In these remote environments, things happen that have a direct impact on parents and other adults who interact with children. Indeed, such influences are one of the driving forces behind increased social toxicity for children.

For example, when parents work in settings that demand conformity rather than self-direction, they reflect this orientation in their childrearing, tending to stifle independence and emphasize obedience. Other influential elements of the work environment include long or inflexible hours, commuting, business travel, or job-related stress that impoverishes family life.

Childhood is about learning the ropes of the family, the community and the culture, all in child-sized doses, on a child’s timetable, in ways that enhance the child’s eventual successful transition to adulthood. Development results from a complex interplay among these child and family systems and the social environment within which both children and families operate.

Television as a Feature of the Socially Toxic Environment

Television has succeeded beyond its early proponents’ wildest dreams in becoming the dominant cultural force in our society. In small doses, and of the right type, television can be healthy. It can entertain. It can teach. Yet, television contributes to the social toxicity of the environment for children and families. The first consequence of television viewing is its role in transmitting and validating messages about violence and aggression in human interactions. The hundreds and hundreds of existing studies leave little doubt on this. One recent analysis concludes that the introduction of television resulted in a doubling of the homicide rate. Other studies document a doubling of aggressive behavior among children after television was introduced into their community.

As television violence increased through the 1960s and 1970s, it was doing so in a changed social context, a context in which declining adult presence in the lives of children was setting those children up to take in the messages of violence with less and less counter-socialization from adults. TV thus plays a role both in increasing the level of social toxicity and in increasing the vulnerability of children to that toxicity. These two features of social toxicity—violent messages and decreased adult influence—work together in a conspiratorial fashion.

A recent review of the existing research by the American Psycho-logical Association concluded that television is responsible for up to 15 percent of the violent behavior of America’s children and youth. That figure is probably an underestimate, however, because it is based upon studies of the violent content of TV, and does not include the effects of reduced child-adult interaction in the home and in the community.

Besides teaching that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution, television has another and more insidious effect on human development. By crowding out activities that used to be shared with family and friends, thus substituting passive observation for real social interaction, television deprives people of vital lessons in living together. The less experience people have with face-to-face interaction, the more they distrust each other, the more hostile and defensive their social maps become, and the more toxic the social environment becomes. In addition to the behavioral problems and lost experience associated with excessive television exposure, there is still another problem—the simple nastiness of much of the programming combines with other factors in the environment to undercut the development of a strong and positive mental map of a child’s world.

Exposure to Nastiness and Decline in Civility

While the number of children who have experienced violence personally is still limited, all of our children are now being exposed regularly to nastiness. The nastiness they see and hear interferes with their happiness and the future they see for themselves, and thus represents a pervasive threat to children at every level of society in every community.

Childhood ought to be a protected space for children in the economic, political and sexual life of the community. When we allow the erosion of a protected space for childhood, we permit the creation of one important element of social toxicity—exposing children to adult issues and themes well before their time.

Children face a special challenge in dealing with these issues because of their relative powerlessness. Indeed, one line of psychological theorizing has gone so far as to identify powerlessness as the primary factor leading to impaired development and psychopathology.

The decline in civility (an old-fashioned word to be sure) is more than just shocking. It has a negative effect on our children’s development. It lowers the level of discourse. It provokes a callousness that generalizes to other relationships.

Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent8

Much has been made in the press and in city halls around the country of the welcome news that the total national homicide rate took a dip from 1991 to 1997. Similarly, after more than a decade of steady increase, homicides by juveniles dropped 17 percent between 1994 and 1995 (which still leaves the rate more than 50 percent higher than it was in 1980). Does this mean the problem is under control? Not necessarily. For one thing, homicide rates in general, and our juvenile homicide rate in particular, remain much higher in the United States than they are in other industrialized societies. Canada’s youth homicide rate is about one tenth of the United States’ rate.

To reach a true understanding of why children kill, we need to look beyond short-term trends. Certainly, the long-term trends are very disturbing. According to the FBI, juvenile arrests for possession of weapons, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder rose more than 50 percent from 1987 to 1996. Looking back still further, we can see a sevenfold increase in serious assault by juveniles in the United States since World War II. But perhaps the most disturbing trend is that while the overall youth homicide rate dropped in 1997, the rate among small town and rural youth increased by 38 percent. Today, almost every teenager in America goes to school with a kid who is troubled enough to become the next killer—and chances are that kid has access to the weapons necessary to do so.

Kids Who Kill Themselves

We shouldn’t lose sight of the young people who turn their violence inward, the kids who kill themselves. Suicide among juveniles is a serious problem. According to recent statistics, each murder committed by an adolescent is matched by a suicide—about 2,300 each year. And just as youth homicide rates have risen dramatically in recent decades, so too have youth suicide rates sky-rocketed—400 percent since 1950.

Harvard University psychiatrist James Gilligan points out that acts of self-destruction and the destruction of others often have a similar source in the psychology of men involved in lethal violence, namely, the sense that life is intolerable. Thus, the links between suicide and homicide for boys are an important part of the problem facing anyone who cares about kids. Sometimes, only at the last moment does a boy choose between killing himself and killing others; sometimes he does both.

Where Did the Epidemic of Youth Violence Start?

Researcher Robert Zagar and his colleagues found that a boy’s chances of committing murder are twice as high if he has the following risk factors:

  • He comes from a family with a history of criminal violence.
  • He has a history of being abused.
  • He belongs to a gang.
  • He abuses alcohol.

The odds triple when in addition to the aforementioned risk factors the following also apply:

  • He uses a weapon.
  • He has been arrested.
  • He has a neurological problem that impairs thinking and feeling.
  • He has difficulties at school and has a poor attendance record.

The odds increase as the number of risk factors increases. This is a general principle in understanding human development. Rarely, if ever, does one single risk factor tell the whole story or determine a person’s future. Rather, it is the buildup of negative influences and experiences that accounts for differences in how youth turn out. This is one of the most important things to remember in understanding boys who kill. If we try to find the cause of youth violence, we will be frustrated and confused; we may even decide it is completely unpredictable and incomprehensible. It is important to recognize the central importance of risk accumulation. Understanding comes from seeing the whole picture of a boy’s life, whether he is a troubled middle-class boy in a town like Springfield, Oregon, or a troubled poor child in inner-city Los Angeles.

Epidemics tend to start among them most vulnerable segments of the population and then work their way outward, like ripples in a pond. These vulnerable populations don’t cause the epidemic. Rather, their disadvantaged position makes them a good host for the infection. That the exact nature of the problem may change a bit as it spreads is not surprising. It is not uncommon for infections to mutate as they spread, with one strain being particularly successful in invading a particular host. The Black Death of the Middle Ages started in the poorest and most deprived homes and neighborhoods, where sanitation conditions and nutrition were the most primitive, but it eventually reached into the palaces of the nobility. Unmarried teenage pregnancy over the past 30 years has shown the same pattern: the high rates observed among low-income, inner-city minority girls in the 1960s are to be found throughout America today, among small town, suburban and rural girls. The same is true of the phenomenon of “latchkey children.” Finding young children at home without adult supervision was once common among low-income families but almost unknown among the middle class. Now it is common everywhere.

The same epidemic model describes what is happening with boys who kill. The first wave of lethal youth violence in schools peaked in the 1992-1993 school year, when 50 people died, mostly in urban schools and involving low-income minority youth. In response to what we now call Stage One of the epidemic, inner-city high schools scrambled to devise and implement measures to teach teenagers nonviolent conflict resolution techniques, to disarm students before they could enter the school building, and to remove them if they did enter the school with weapons. American high schools have become the major market for worldwide sales of metal detectors. We are now in Stage Two, the spread of youth violence throughout American society.

How Boys Get Lost

Every infant contains a divine spark. Recognizing the reality of the sacred self is the foundation for understanding human development as something more than a matter of engineering, plumbing, chemistry and electronics. You can see this spiritual reality in the eyes of a child. We recognize this in the ancient proverb “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

What kindles the spark of divinity in a child? And what consigns the human spirit to darkness? At the heart of the matter is whether a young child is connected rather than abandoned, accepted rather than rejected, and nurtured rather than neglected and abused. Naturally, all this takes place at a particular intersection of biology and society. The individual temperament of the child does much to dictate the terms of engagement between him and the world, just as what the child’s environment has to offer in the way of opportunities and threats does much to dictate the consequences of individual temperament and experience. In some situations this intersection produces unhappiness and violence; in others it brings joy and peace.

The Importance of Connection

The process of kindling the divine flame begins with connection. Child development is fundamentally social: a human infant can neither survive physically nor develop normally on its own. Human development proceeds from attachment in the first year of life. Starting at about 3 months of age, babies come to know and love the people who care for them. By the age of 9 months, most babies have formed a specific attachment to one or more caregivers.

Attachment research delineates four forms of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant, insecure-ambivalent, and disorganized-disoriented. In contrast to secure attachment, insecure-avoidant indicates a generalized wariness and distancing on the child’s part, whereas insecure-ambivalent indicates a high level of distress and inconsolability. The disorganized-disoriented pattern indicates a mix of behaviors from the other three classifications. Secure, attached infants are more likely to become competent and well-adjusted children. However, “not all anxiously attached children later show acting-out behavior problems, but a young child manifesting such problems in an extreme form is likely to have a history of avoidant or resistant attachment relationships.” This fits lost boys to a T.

Disconnection is a threat—particularly if there is some temperamental vulnerability to developing depression. Human babies can die from depression. It can kill adolescents, too, and depression is a particular problem for violent boys.

The Dangers of Depression

Violent boys often have problems with depression as a prelude to their lethal crimes. In his book I Don’t Want to Talk About It, psychologist Terrance Real explores this characteristic emotional disconnectedness among boys and men. The subtitle of his book, Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, refers to his observation that while troubled women are likely to express depression through overt suffering, men are more likely to experience hidden depression, what he calls covert depression. When afflicted with covert depression, males hide the darkness within them both from those around them and from their own conscious awareness. For boys and men, the experience of depression is typically a mixture of two things: loss of the capacity to feel at all and externalization of their pain so that they attribute it to the actions of others, feel victimized, and deal with their distress through action, particularly violent action.

This potential for depression is actualized when a boy’s experiences of abandonment combine with the cultural messages he receives about masculinity, messages that devalue the direct expression of feelings of emotional connection, vulnerability and softness. As boys experience increasingly more disrupted relationships at home and in the community, these factors combine to put them on the road to trouble. Shame at abandonment begets covert depression, which begets rage, which begets violence—a powerful equation in the lives of lost boys.

Rejection, Abandonment and Disrupted Family Relationships

When the earliest parent-child relationship doesn’t take hold and thrive, a boy is left emotionally high and dry and his soul retreats deeper and deeper. The problem is not the breakdown of the family but the breakdown in the family. Disruption in the basic relationships of the family figure predominately in the lives of violent boys.

To anyone who knows family life in America, it should come as no surprise that fathers play a crucial role in the development of boys. Two particular patterns of father influence are most important in understanding the development of violent boys: (1) the presence of an abusive father and (2) the absence of a caring and resourceful father. The presence of an abusive father teaches sons some very dangerous lessons about being a man, often lessons that are only unconsciously learned.

But boys also suffer from the absence of a caring father. Research shows that having an absent father is associated with a greater likelihood of chronic juvenile bad behavior. First, being fatherless increases the odds that a boy will grow up in a neighborhood where resources of all kinds are in short supply, thus, the normal opportunities for success in the world will be limited. Second, growing up fatherless increases the chances that a boy will lack a male guide, protector and mentor. This is itself a risk factor for later delinquency, because boys in an environment with many negative possibilities require every possible counterforce to keep from succumbing to them.

The prevalence of absent mothers in the lives of lost boys is a surprising component. Many of the boys involved in lethal violence lose their mothers for significant periods in their early years; some lose them permanently. The pain and rage associated with maternal abandonment is often buried deeply, but it is there nonetheless.

Rejected children are at a heightened risk for a host of psychological problems, ranging from low self-esteem, to truncated moral development, to difficulty handling aggression and sexuality. This effect is so strong that anthropologist Ronald Rohner calls rejection “a psychological malignancy” that spreads throughout a child’s emotional system, wreaking havoc. The shame of abandonment appears over and over again in the lives of kids who kill.

Rarely does one risk factor by itself tell the whole story about development, but most child psychologists recognize that early detachment is a very powerful negative influence all by itself. When an abandonment experience is put in the broader context of a troubled boy’s life, particularly a boy with uncontrolled access to guns, such an experience can be the spark that ignites a powder keg.

How Early Vulnerability Becomes Bad Behavior

What stands between early psychological vulnerability and later youth violence? Research by psychologist Leonard Eron and colleagues documents that by age 8, boys’ patterns of aggressive behavior and attitude are already crystallizing, so much so that without intervention such patterns tend to continue into adulthood. There is a formal name for a pattern of behavior characterized by the repetitive and persistent violation of the basic rights of others or the major violation of age-appropriate societal norms or rules: Conduct Disorder. The behaviors of conduct disorder include aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules.

Particularly important for understanding lethal youth violence is the question of when a boy’s pattern of chronic bad behavior starts, that is, whether it begins early (childhood onset) or later (adolescence onset). When conduct disorder begins in childhood rather than adolescence, it is more likely to continue into adulthood. If bad behavior starts in childhood, it has a longer period to build up and interfere with normal development. When it begins in adolescence, a boy is more likely to have positive experiences and relationships from the past to fall back on, and the troubling behavior is more likely to be a temporary phase reflecting difficulty in meeting the special challenges of being a teenager, such as dealing with complicated issues of peer relations.

When young children exhibit a pattern of bad behavior, it more than likely is linked to some underlying problem in them rather than to simple negative peer influence. Underlying problems include a difficult temperament, neurological deficits and difficulties (often associated with pregnancy- and birth-related complications), separation from parents, violence in the family, and harsh parenting practices.

When Risk Accumulates

The presence of only one or two risk factors does not disable a child. Rather, it is the accumulation of threats that does the damage. And trouble really sets in when these threats accumulate without a parallel accumulation of compensatory “opportunity” factors. Once overwhelmed, defenses are weakened the next time the child faces a threat. Children and adolescents become highly sensitive to any negative social influences around them.

As threats accumulate, children’s’ intellectual development suffers, and they cannot bring to bear cognitive strength in mastering the challenges they face. The threat to intellectual competence compounds the effects of negative social influences in the environment by undermining a child’s resilience and coping processes.

Maltreatment Impacts Behavior

In a Minnesota study, children who were maltreated at an early age were noticeably less cooperative than children who had not suffered harsh punishment at the hands of their parents or guardians. Maccoby’s classic study of mother responsiveness found that the more responsive mothers were in the first three months of life—for example, going immediately to pick up the baby when he or she cried—the more obedient the child was at one year. Chronic bad behavior is most likely to arise in the early years of life when parents use harsh, inconsistent punishment practices instead of clear, firm, but warm responses when the child exhibits unacceptable behavior. Parents who use harsh punishment and mainly pay attention to their child’s negative behaviors and ignore the positive ones are unintentionally encouraging aggression.

Child maltreatment teaches children to adapt their behavior and thinking to the harsh fact that those who are in charge of caring for them are the same people who hurt, terrify, ignore and attack them. This adaptation ultimately becomes the source of their problems in later years. The key lies in the fact that the child comes to understand how the world works through the lens of his own abuse.

All children develop social maps and codes of behavior which are initially the products of their experiences as filtered by their temperament. For most children, the social map portrays the world in positive terms. Abused children develop their social maps by adapting to an abusive environment. The more they learn these lessons, the more likely it is that they will learn a code that is compatible with a pattern of bad behavior and aggression by the time they are eight years old. There are four specific elements of this code that are especially important for subsequent behavior and development.

  1. Children become hypersensitive to negative social cues.
  2. Children become oblivious to positive social cues.
  3. Children develop a repertory of aggressive behaviors that are readily accessible and can be easily invoked.
  4. Children draw the conclusion that aggression is a successful way of getting what they want.

Society’s Role

One of the most important elements in the developmental equation for violent boys is the larger social environment outside the family, for it is there that one of three things happens: (1) an early pattern of bad behavior and aggression is identified and treated; (2) an early pattern of bad behavior and aggression plays itself out in socially benign settings (in which no matter how bad the boy’s behavior gets, there is little danger); or (3) an early pattern of bad behavior and aggression falls on fertile ground and grows into chronic violence and delinquency as the child partakes of the dark side. All three courses are possible options.

Context is critical. It is because of the dangerous larger social environment many boys find themselves in today that we are so concerned that early “childish” bad behavior and aggression will turn into lethal behavior in adolescence and young adulthood.9

Men,Women and Sexual Harassment: Violence Under Cover

The Clarence Thomas—Anita Hill hearings of 1991 focused national attention on the subject of sexual harassment. The hearings became a cultural consciousness-raising event, stimulating discussions and media analyses that persist to this day.

However, most harassment and violence against girls and women in our society receives no public attention at all. Most boys and men who abuse girls and women are never held to account for it, particularly by other boys and men.

Part of the process for change is for boys and men to examine how their own behavior toward girls and women often constitutes abuse. Since males are socialized to act in ways that perpetuate male dominance, much abusive male behavior is not even recognized as such. That is why when boys and men are confronted about their sexist behavior, they often deny it or say “it was just a joke.”

The following is a partial list of the ways boys and men perpetuate sexism, domination, and hence violence against girls and women every day.

  • Rape (use of force, threats, or coercion to obtain sex).
  • Intimidation (standing in the doorway during arguments, angry or threatening gestures, use of size to intimidate, standing over girls and women, outshouting, driving recklessly).
  • Keeping weapons around that frighten women.
  • Threats (verbal or nonverbal, direct or indirect).
  • Harassment (taunts or whistles, following girls and women around, embarrassing girls and women in public).
  • Yelling, swearing, being lewd, raising your voice, using angry expressions or gestures.
  • Criticism (name-calling, swearing, mocking, put downs, ridicule, accusations, blaming, use of trivializing words or gestures).
  • Interrupting, changing topics, not listening, not responding, twisting girls’ and women’s words.
  • Sexual harassment in the school or workplace, job discrimination, not allowing women to do their jobs, inappropriate comments.
  • Denying girls’ or women’s credibility, being the authority, defining female behavior, using “logic.”
  • Emotional withholding (not giving support, validation, attention, respect for feelings, rights and opinions).

Source: Real Men, PO Box 1769, Brookline, MA 02146.

Resources: Books on Boys

Michael Kimmel has done a wonderful analysis of many of the current books on boys’ development. He groups them according to the writer’s perspective or underlying philosophy from those who advocate “rescuing” boys from women to those wanting to redefine boyhood by using feminist precepts.

Books that want to rescue boys from either the clutches of feminists or the feminizing clutches of women. Advice to mothers: let go, let them be boys, let them bond with father.

A Fine Young Man and The Wonder of Boys, by Michael Gurian.
Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph.

Books that want to rescue boys from a society that doesn’t understand them. Advice to mothers: be involved.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Live of Boys, by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson.
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, by William Pollack.

Books that want to rescue boys from a definition of manhood that equates masculinity and violence. Advice to mothers and fathers: love tenaciously and do not tolerate violence.

Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, by James Garbarino.
Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence, by Myriam Miedzian.
Violence, by James Gilligan.

Books that want to redefine boyhood by using feminist precepts. Advice to mothers and fathers: share housework and child care, love your sons courageously enough to transform the meanings of manhood.

The Courage to Raise Good Men, by Olga Silverstein.
Boys Will be Men: Raising Our Sons for Courage, Caring, and Community, by Paul Kivel.
Challenging Macho Values: Practical Ways of Working with Adolescent Boys, by Jonathan Salisbury and David Jackson.

Source: Kimmel, M. (1999). What are little boys made of? Ms. October/November, 88-91. Michael Kimmel is the author of Manhood in America: A Cultural History, The Gendered Society and The Gendered Society Reader.

1 Garbarino, J. (1995). Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, pp. 2-3. The Index of Social Health for the United States is produced by Fordham University’s Institute for Social Policy; it is “based on sixteen measures including infant mortality, teen suicide, dropout rates, drug abuse, homicide, food stamp use, unemployment, traffic deaths, and poverty among the elderly. The index ranges between 0 and 100 (with 100 being the best). From 1970 to 1992, the index showed a decline from 74 to 41,” The Child Behavior Checklist was developed by Tom Achenbach and identifies a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems from a 113-item checklist. It is widely used in the United States and other countries.
2 Ibid., p. 4.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., pp. 4-5.
5 Ibid., p. 6.
6 Garbarino, J. (1999). New York, NY: The Free Press.
7 Ibid., p. 5.
8 Excerpted from Garbarino, J. (1995). Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, pp. 23-39.
9 Garbarino, J. (1999). Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them. New York, NY: The Free Press, pp. 7-26.

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