Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Since when did the decision to express a political opinion become an “age-appropriate risk”?

Tom Blumer at BizzyBlog had a couple of good questions after reading an article in Family Circle magazine recently:

I was more than a little surprised to see this quote I stumbled upon yesterday in a Family Circle Magazine (March 2009; free registration might be required) from a “Steve Schlozman, MD, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital”:

Adolescents need to know you trust them to make good decisions,” he says. “Your faith builds their confidence to take age-appropriate risks — ask someone out on a date, audition for the play, offer a political opinion.“


The not-so-good Dr. Schlozman immediately follows with this absurd, dangerous, family-destructive statement which makes his credibility very, very suspect:

Prying can also spur kids to act out. “Kids need to have a separate life their parents don’t know all about,” adds Dr. Schlozman.

Really? Here’s a ditzy doc who says in essence that kids need to learn to be little sneaks to grow up well-adjusted. I hope that’s not typical family magazine advice, but I fear that it is.

Back on point: Since when did the decision to express a political opinion, whether inside a classroom or not, become an “age-appropriate risk”? And what are the potentially bad consequences of taking such a risk?

I'll venture a guess and say the doctor in the article means that voicing a political opinion can be risky in that others may disagree with you and that is often difficult for a teenager who does not have a fully formed sense of self (I think some do, however). Teens probably have less of a sense of self these days as they are told what to do and think so often and have few critical thinking skills.

Or perhaps people are so politicized these days that a political opinion is risky and does have bad consequences. For example, if a teen yelled, "I hate Bush" loudly in a classroom, my guess is that little would happen. Maybe Johnny would be told to "calm down." If conversely, however, he yelled, "I hate Obama," all hell would break loose. Johnny would be hauled off for counseling, maybe more drastic action would be taken. Maybe this is the risk the doctor in the article was talking about?

Labels: ,


Blogger Unknown said...

"If conversely, however, he yelled, "I hate Obama," all hell would break loose. Johnny would be hauled off for counseling, maybe more drastic action would be taken."

He would be hauled off for diversity training.

I remember my mom and my grandma used to read Family Circle and Good Housekeeping. I remember my mom reading the holiday stories aloud to me, and as soon as I could read I would read them myself. You can't do that these days because the stories are full of smut, and are inappropriate for children, IMO.

Plus with one issue they tell you how to look "hot" for your man, and then the next issue there will be someone complaining of women being used as sex objects. They think giving relationship advice is equal to telling women how they can get men to do what they want. Not to mention the other social and political agendas evident throughout those rags. They are selling a world view.

6:41 PM, May 12, 2009  
Blogger Words Twice said...

”If conversely, however, he yelled, "I hate Obama," all hell would break loose.”Hate Crime! Arrest him!

6:43 PM, May 12, 2009  
Blogger Mario said...

Just let little Johnny yell, "I hate the Earth." The environment nazis would hound him through high school.

6:43 PM, May 12, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Kids need to have a separate life their parents don’t know all aboutKids already do things parents don't know about--though don't realize their parents usually know a lot more than they let on--but this isn't something that should be institutionalized. It is the job of parents to be as nosy and annoying as possible.

I would rephrase this to say that kids will have aspects of their life that they think parents don't know about. Parents should make sure they know everything about their children, though not always let on that they know and how much they know.

7:11 PM, May 12, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

There's a time and a place for that separate life.

If your adolescent kid keeps a written journal in her room, and you don't have probable cause to think she's having sex or doing drugs or something that you have a valid need to find out about, you absolutely should leave that alone. Interactions with friends, ditto.

On the internet, though? No. I read my kid's emails and whatnot right up until she was sixteen years old AND had demonstrated to me that she had some sense. She knew I was doing it, too. And she did not have a computer in her bedroom - she had to use the one in a common area of the house if she wanted on the net. I've known people who let the wide world have unchecked access to their kids through the internet and regretted it. That separate life they do not need.

10:22 PM, May 12, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

What Joe and Laura said.


10:28 PM, May 12, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no evidence that yelling about Obama would be a no no but about Bush would be ok...this is simply asserting a political perspective on your part.

In the school system I am familir with, the kids express opinions close to the election and usually voice what their parents believe. At times the comments have been a bit, well, less that pc. And there have been no consequences whatsoever.

6:34 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Mike said...

There is no evidence that yelling about Obama would be a no no but about Bush would be ok...this is simply asserting a political perspective on your part.Aside from the documented cases of some schools regimenting their students in support of him during the elections, you're absolutely right that no one has any evidence to believe this accusation could be credible!

8:23 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Mary E. Glynn said...

If a kid shouts out anything in class out of turn, there should be one "punishment" or disciplinary rule involved. (Like first time: telling them to shut up. Second time: out of class.)

It's like hate crimes otherwise, and it shouldn't be.

Yelling out in class is the stupid thing. Self discipline is the lesson. Nevermind the political messages

This is why people "drop out" and homeschool if they can afford it.

8:30 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

We've all seen recently with the Miss California case what happens to someone who dares express a non-PC opinion. Kids see this, too. The smart ones learn to keep their mouths shut except to mouth the PC platitudes.

8:35 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

There is no evidence that yelling about Obama would be a no noHow about that person in Oklahoma City that got pulled over by the cops because the cop didn't care for the anti-Obama bumper sticker? who also had a little visit from the Secret Service because they got a tip from the aforementioned cop?

I suppose you think that's just good police work?

10:39 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger HMT said...

Why is there such an assumption that teachers are on the left? Each election year my kids school has held a mock election. Both students and teachers vote and are tallied separately. In the last two elections the Democrats carried the kid vote and the Republicans carried the teacher votes. This was in two different schools (elem, middle). I live in a traditionally red state that went blue in the last election.

10:40 AM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

HMT, my daughter's school is quite left leaning. She is the only confessing Christian and one of three moderate to conservatives in her class of 80.

When the teachers are leading discussion, and ask if there are other viewpoints that need to be expressed, the other kids either look at or call on her themselves. NTTIAWWT, but it does leave her without a political or spiritual peer group at school.


12:00 PM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

My 3 son's schools are/were all left leaning. Elementary, middle & high school.

A study done last year (?) showed 90% of academics are liberals. Our job as a parent is to show them another side of the story, we have to.

12:25 PM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...


I don't think anyone believes that *all* teachers lean left. Just the bulk.

fred -

You gotta be either kidding or purposefully ignoring the new stories over the last election cycle and prior.

12:30 PM, May 13, 2009  
Blogger 1charlie2 said...


You were joking, weren't you ?

I can claim that the majority of my boys' teachers lean right. But they've been in Catholic school all their lives.

My wife WORKS with the public education system (albeit in wholesale and not in retail), and has worked with a number of the public schools in our area (especially at-risk ones). Her brother is a teacher, as is her sister-in-law. And their parents. And other relatives. And friends from college. Which may influence why she was so adamant that our kids not attend public school -- but that's another topic.

In any event, I have socialized -- at family events and friends' gatherings -- with perhaps two dozen different public educators in the last year alone (and understand that education is my wife's bag, not mine -- I'm just "the spouse" at many of these gatherings).

The very idea that public-school teachers don't lean at least a little left of center (at least as compared to the populations they teach in) has had my wife in gales of laughter.

There's a very good reason political discussions are verboten at these gatherings if I am attending. While I con't consider myself that far right, I lack the self-control to keep my mouth shut when certain subjects come up, such as national defense, and the military, where their "opinion" has come from MASH reruns while mine is from direct experience.

Teachers are fine people in a noble profession, and my oldest son wants to be one. I'm proud of that. If he continues on that course, I'm sure I'll be proud of him as well.

But I've never lived in a community where (on balance) the public-school teachers were anything other than to the left (at least somewhat) of the population they served. This is not a "problem" (or if, as in my case, one feels that strongly, one chooses a private school), but to not see it is hard to imagine.

5:22 PM, May 14, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"You were joking, weren't you ?"

Fixed delusions appear humorous from the outside.


8:22 AM, May 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:40 AM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...

11:41 AM, May 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H i . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11:42 AM, May 24, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home