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Invest in our boys before they succumb to the five Ds

What have we learned from our past killings in Bermuda, and why they are happening? Our society has been searching for answers to these problems and we must assist our MP’s to make the necessary changes needed, especially for our children, as children are our future leaders.

We have been suspicious of the usage of violent video games, drugs, violence in the media, decline in family values and mental health as contributors to the youth’s behavioural problems. Dr Warren Farrell, author and researcher, tells us that all those things play a part, but, it’s not guns that are killing people, it’s our sons.

He express that as girls and boys grow up and have similar family values, mental health issues, and the same availability to media, drugs, and the violent games, why are only boys committing these killings?

Research reveals that in the United States, girls average five hours a week playing video games, while boys average 13 hours per week. Although, the video games are known to stimulate the feel-good dopamine that builds in one part of the brain which produces the motivation to win, it also starves the other part which focuses on the real-world.

We have not done any studies here in Bermuda, though there has been much talk that these games have a high usage.

In addition, Dr Farrell says that boys feel that girls are very important to them; however, with their poor social skills, girls don’t see them as viable partners.

This creates fear, self-hate and anger in them, from the rejection and their inability to compete. Hence, they turn to “Google porn”, for fantasy.

With the inattentiveness to mental health, the suicide rate in the United States for girls and boys at the age of nine are equal, by the age of 14, boys are twice as likely; by 19, four times; by 24, more than five times.

Dr Farrell, author of “Why Men Are the Way they Are”, and other books, writes that: “Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook Elementary, Connecticut killer) is reported to have gone downhill when divorce separated him from his dad.

“Children of divorce without enough father contact are prone to have poor social skills; to struggle with the five D’s (depression, drugs, drinking, discipline and delinquency); to be suicidal; to be less able to concentrate; and to be aggressive but not assertive.

“Perhaps most importantly, these boys are less empathetic. For boys, the road to successful manhood has crumbled. In many boys’ journey from a fatherless family to an almost all-female staff elementary school such as Sandy Hook, there is no constructive male role model”.

In his report on Bermuda by Dr Ronald Mincy, wrote: “ … Young men have not acquired the human capital they need to compete effectively in the labour market …. men lack the soft skills (eg, punctuality, teamwork, cooperation, and so on).”

Further: “Boys in single-parent families may be at higher risk for behavioural problems because they are less likely than boys in two-parent families to have high quality relationships with male role models”.

Also, “some single mothers are unable to maintain a vigilant response to their sons’ antisocial behaviour”.

Compared to, “Girls in single-mother families have an adult-female role model, so they are constantly able to observe behaviour that presumably promotes or retards their career or educational and growth.

“The increased likelihood that daughters will receive a greater investment of parental time and other resources is in households in which the head is also a female.

“Even if they have clear expectations for their sons, however, they may be less certain about how males negotiate the transition to adulthood and how they deal with the pressures from their peers. This uncertainty may produce less resolve or consistency in their efforts to discipline and set and enforce boundaries for their sons’ behaviour, especially in the presence of resistance.

“This uncertainty or inconsistency, which allows boys to exhibit more serious or more frequent antisocial behaviour, may in turn increase the risk of low-academic achievement or disciplinary problems in school.”

We may deny that we have examples here in Bermuda with the five Ds, running around in our families, and our community. Yes, we have many that are doing great and wonderful things.

However, we cannot ignore those that are not, and their need of our assistance and intervention, if we want to stop these escalating young casualties. Further, we need to invest in our boys and bring a balance in their lives, so that they can grow up in a healthier lifestyle.

If we don’t make the necessary changes needed soon, our existing societal problems will double or triple rapidly.

Eddie Tavares is co-founder of Childwatch in Bermuda

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Published May 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm)

Invest in our boys before they succumb to the five Ds

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