If you are a parent of children middle school age or younger, or if you are a teacher or youth pastor that works with this age group, I cannot urge you strongly enough to read From Santa To Sexting (you can read my review here).
These are some quotes from this book that really got me thinking…
Sexual Activity & Sexual Roles
“What helps young adolescents accept a heterosexual sex role identity? Psychiatrist David P. Ausubel, the author of Theory And Problems of Adolescent Development, writes that accepting a heterosexual sex role is aided by the following: 1) witnessing a happy marriage between parents; 2) having positive experiences with the opposite sex; and 3) possessing a strong, positive identification with the parent of the same sex. …In addition, Ausubel believes that parents exert a strong influence on their adolescent’s adoption of a particular biological sex role. For example, if the parent of the opposite sex is negative about the sex role of his child, the child will find it difficult to identify with that role. Suppose a father, for example, put his wife down and is negative about women. Then his impressionable young daughter will find it hard to embrace her femininity and identify with her own sex. The converse is true for boys. According to Ausubel, the preadolescent, depending on the ‘psychological climate’ of his home, may adopt one of three attitudes toward gender: 1) acceptance, leading to heterosexuality; 2) rejection, leading to homosexuality or asexuality (the renunciation of all sexual expression); and 3) ambivalence, resulting in bisexuality, perversion, or sexual delinquency.”
“The evidence is that early sexual experience has consequences for both boys and girls. Joe McIlhaney, MD, an obstetrician and coauthor of the book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, told us that ‘sex is a primary stimulator and molder of the brain. When we have sex, the body secrets the hormone dopamine, and that makes us want to do it again and again. That’s one of the primary reasons to abstain from sex when you’re young, because it becomes addictive.’ He adds, ‘The body also secrets the hormone oxytocin, that some label the love hormone—a hormone that seems to contribute to a girl’s trusting a man she is intimate with and also bonding to him emotionally.’ Then comes the breakup. McIlhaney continues, ‘When young people break up, MRIs show that the pain center of the brain lights up. Emotional and physical pain are felt in the same brain center.’ McIlhaney believes that when kids have multiple breakups, they seem to contribute to their losing their ability to forge lasting connections or attachments with the opposite sex. In addition, they sometimes become depressed and some become suicidal.”
“Sensing what others feel without their saying so captures the essence of empathy. Others rarely tell us in words what they feel; instead, they tell us in their tone of voice, facial expressions, or other nonverbal ways. The ability to sense these subtle communications builds on more basic competencies, particularly self-awareness and self-control. Without the ability to sense our own feelings—to keep them from swamping us—we would be hopelessly out of touch with the moods of others.” —Daniel Goleman
“Empathy has twin components—one in the affective or emotional area and the other in the cognitive. On other words, we feel the distress of others from birth, but as we grow and our brain develops, we begin to think about what they are feeling and can decide how to help the poor, the distressed, and the handicapped.”
“If you’re in a relationship, the relationship is a part of you, there’s no way around it. You get an empathetic child not by trying to teach the child and admonish the child to be empathetic; you get an empathetic child by being empathetic with the child. The child’s understanding of relationship can only be from the relationships he has experienced.” —Alan Sroufe
“If empathy is caught, not taught, then the effect of training students to be empathetic is only skin-deep. The training is focused on a cognitive-behavioral approach; it does not take into account the emotional aspect of empathy and the fact that empathy emerges from an intimate relationship or emotional bond.”
“Dr. Robert Balfanz, a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University who studies risk factors for dropping out of school, has found that future dropouts can be identified as early as sixth grade. …Dr. Balfanz’s study of fourteen thousand students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that sixth grader with just one of the following distress signals had ‘at least a three in four chance’ of dropping out when they reached high school. Here are the four areas he says parents and teachers should monitor:
- A final grade of F in mathematics;
- A final grade of F in English;
- Attendance below 80 percent for the year;
- A final ‘unsatisfactory’ behavior mark in at least one class.”
“Parents are the first and best anti-bullying program around.”
Video Games & Media
“Scientifically speaking, the notion that media violence harms kids is an open-and-shut case; research has found that violent video games increase levels of aggression hormones in teen players. While their onscreen personas kicked, punched, cut, and shot their way through enemies, testosterone and adrenaline levels rose significantly in the bodies of the players behind the controls…. The strength of the evidence linking media violence to youth aggression is stronger than the evidence linking lead poisoning with mental retardation and more definitive than the case linking secondhand smoke with cancer.” —Dr. David Walsh, Why Do They Act That Way?
“We found that we could actually measure how parents were getting along in two ways. We could either ask them how happy they were—how much conflict they were having—or we could take a 24-hour urine sample from their kids and measure how many stress hormones, particularly adrenaline, were getting secreted in the children’s bodies. So if you’re fighting, your kids are secreting adrenaline. And if they’re secreting adrenaline because they’re stressed out, one of the things that happens to them is that the first and most sensitive system to reflect this stress is the attentional system—the kid’s ability to focus attention, the kid’s ability to shift attention when they want to, and the kid’s ability to sustain attention. And part of what we’re seeing in all of this diagnosis of hyperactivity is, in part, a reflection of increased family stress, increased stress between parents. So the attentional system is really a very sensitive indicator of whether kids are stressed out.” —Dr. John Gottman
“People who become Christians before their teen years are more likely than those who are converted when older to remain ‘absolutely committed’ to Christianity.” —Barna Group
“Revolutionary parenting, which is based on one’s faith in God, makes parenting a priority. Those who engage in revolutionary parenting define success as intentionally facilitating faith-based transformation in the lives of their children, rather than simply accepting the aging and survival of the child as a satisfactory result.” —George Barna
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