Boys will be boys and...

Boys will be boys and they need a great deal of guidance as they journey through their adolescent years.

Graham is 15 and, from a recent conversation, I have learnt that he spends about 56 hours a week playing computer games, on the internet, involved in other internet games, participating in some questionable chat rooms (his own admission) etc. etc. From a little research I have done, children should not be allowed to spend more than two hours a day playing games, on the internet like this etc. What has happened now is that Graham has become totally disconnected from school. He is not a major behaviour problem at all, though he undermines teachers, makes smart comments, mostly of a negative nature, and is influencing a student or two who are in vulnerable places and easily influenced.

Graham's parents know all about this - dare I call it an addiction? - and yet he is allowed to continue this most unhealthy lifestyle.

How was this matter discovered? Simply by finding out which students in a school in a particular age group were actively connected and involved in the school eg, through sport, music, drama or some other extracurricular activities.

Graham's future journey will be interesting. Some interventions are being organised with Graham's support .....

What I have also observed during the past year is that boys in particular, in this 15 and 16 year age group, who are developing behaviour issues and making poor choices, without exception have no goals in their lives and are simply drifting along. Binge drinking is becoming an issue. In some cases, they are not coping with academic work, everything seems too hard and so they are developing many negative behavioural symptoms which inevitably places them at real risk of being asked to leave their school.

There are a number of interventions that could be used to encourage them to become the best they can be. From my experience in recent years, I have little doubt that the development of a youth mentoring program for such students would see so many positive life changes. Such a program should be for girls as well, as it's a well known fact that teenage girls tend to cover their concerns and issues better than boys of the same age.

In many cases, I also feel more effective parenting is required and a collaborative approach between student, parent and the school could work wonders.

One thing is for sure: there is no quick-fix solution ....

Best wishes.


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