Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Upcoming Senior Division dates:
Monday, May 14 to Friday, May 18: Year 12 exams continue
Monday, May 14: Special assembly with MADD Canada presentation, Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
Friday, May 18: Afternoon focus schedule; classes end at 1:10 p.m.
Last week we were very fortunate to have researcher and author Dr. Jean Twenge visit the College.
Twenge, whose most recent book is titled iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, spoke with both parents and students about the impact of smartphones on today’s youth. I heard her speak at the Parents’ Organization luncheon and was very impressed by her research. As the father of two teenagers who spend far too much time on their phones, I greatly appreciated her very practical tips for parents.
Part of Twenge’s presentation that day was centred around the difference between the young people of today and those from 40 years ago. Using photographs as evidence, she argued that, in many ways, teens from the 1970s were more adult-like and worldly than today’s teens, many of whom are sheltered from the experiences — both good and bad — that their flare-bottomed, long-haired predecessors navigated first-hand.
Listening to Twenge, I reflected on the divergent approaches to parenting that I’ve been exposed to, both directly and indirectly, over the years. Some experts have recommended a more permissive philosophy where parents are encouraged to allow their children to lead their own lives and figure things out for themselves. Others, like Tiger Mom author Amy Chau, have written about the benefits of taking a more controlling and authoritative approach to dealing with our kids. With all that’s out there on the subject of parenting, and all the experts with their contrary views, as a parent there are times when I’ve felt confused and overwhelmed.
I’m a big fan of the television show Leave it to Beaver and — while I understand that the simpler 1950s were a very different time than the high-tech, fast-paced, smartphone-centred, complex world of today — June and Ward Cleaver, the main character’s parents, seem to have figured out a few things in their approach to raising their two boys:
- They didn’t over-manage their kids’ lives, nor did they intervene and solve their problems when they messed up, but they provided support and guidance when it was required.
- They held their kids accountable for their attitudes, behaviour, decisions and actions, and provided appropriate, related consequences to help develop their character.
- They forgave them when they made mistakes and always gave them their unconditional love.
While I wouldn’t rely too heavily on “Cleaver counsel” during times of confusion and crisis, I think they have a healthy perspective on what’s required to raise kids in any generation.
An exchange from one episode of the show holds relevance today:
June: “Dear, do you think all parents have this much trouble?”
Ward: “No, just parents with children.”
Thanks for reading,