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What makes teenage boys turn out bad?

(16 Posts)
musing Sun 29-May-05 11:41:35

Following on from all the teen pregnancy threads and the discussion about why it happens, I am wondering about what affects boys behaviour/aspirations.

I used to work as an LSA in a really rough secondary school. Some of the pupils were very scarey. It's been about 7 years since I left and all "my" pupils are obviously in their late teens and early 20s. I often see names I recognise popping up in the paper, for assault, drunken behaviour, theft, shoplifting and other crimes. A few months ago 2 of my boys got life imprisonment for beating a stranger to death, (unprovoked but apparently they didn't intend to kill him) and this week another 2 are awaiting trial for serious assault. One of them in particular I remember as being a nice little boy, quiet and quite shy. I am very sad whenever I see these reports.

In contrast I went out this week on a trip with the boys from the grammar school where I am a governor. These were the same age- 14+. They were polite, friendly and well behaved. There was no mucking about, no backchat and they did as they were told the minute they were told to do it. I was so impressed with the way they behaved. I had previously spent a day in school with a year 8 class (12-13) and had been impressed with their behaviour but assumed that the older boys might be more trouble. Not so.

Sorry this is longwinded, but it made me wonder. What is the difference? It can't just be that being academically clever makes you better behaved, so what makes one group of 14 year olds frightening and another group a pleasure to be with? Same town, and the grammar boys don't necessarily live in better areas/housing than the high school boys. (Several I know are from the not-so-nice parts of town and have just mum at home). Obviously there are boys from the high school who haven't made the papers, but it is a depressingly high number who do.

Any thought?

hercules Sun 29-May-05 11:47:44

We were discussing this in the staffroom the other day and some of the very experienced staff (20-25 years experience) said it seemed to be boys from families where there is an issue with dad. It could be absent but more likely absent with sporadice poor visit or an agressive father.

jampots Sun 29-May-05 11:52:22

im sure i will be flamed for this comment but its my theory that if the parent/s place a good deal of respect/interest in the education of their child/ren and see it more than a babysitting service supplied by the government then their attitudes will follow through into all areas of their/childrens lives.

hercules Sun 29-May-05 11:54:52

Totally agree, Jampots.

jampots Sun 29-May-05 11:54:57

that said, my ds is only 8 and so far has kept out of trouble in fact the "good boys" gravitate towards each other and they are all of similar abilities. In my ds's class the "naughty boys" are the ones who dont get the best grades.

What I wonder is why do boys get into trouble but when a girl does the same thing she doesnt?

hercules Sun 29-May-05 11:57:54

It is surely also to do with "failing" all the time. Some boys, and girls of course, "fail" all day as they go from lesson to lesson not being able to do the work and then naturally get bored and turn off school finding more interesting things they can do ie mess around.
Smaller class sizes would help in this respect.

For some boys who I have to write home about poor behaviour, their parents respond and are very concerned and want to stop it in the bud, other parents never respond or turn up for parents evenings or meetings.

tallulah Sun 29-May-05 12:01:37

hercules, in the high school the lower ability classes were a lot smaller than usual. The classes I was in had sometimes 16 or fewer pupils, differentiated lessons and 1 or up to 3 LSAs. What more could they do?

The grammar school has classes of 30+

hercules Sun 29-May-05 12:05:45

We used to have smaller class sizes but due to lack of money it is impossible to do tha t anymore and certainly not enough money for LSAs in that number. Only for kids with statements and then not enough.

weesaidie Sun 29-May-05 12:38:10

Parenting is an issue but I have to say my parents were great and my 2 sisters and I never really misbehaved whereas my brother who is 15 is an absolute tearaway!

He is not as bad as the boys you mentioned Musing. He is cheeky, smokes, drinks, stays out late (or sneaks out when my dads is in bed!)and has been expelled! God that does sound bad. He can be absolutely lovely though. When he is nice he is very very nice but when he is bad he is horrid!

I think it partly stems from his severe dyslexia which made it hard for him to concentrate, he feels stupid (he isn't), etc and when starting high school he found it very hard and played up instead of working... then it all spiralled. My parents who had never really had to discipline didn't know how to handle it and so I think were a bit too lax...

Now he is at college and we are all hoping he makes a go of it. He doesn't have father issues as he lives mainly with my dad (now, used to be equal with my mum but they have fallen out badly over his behaviour) but he must have some issues!

Sorry have gone on for so long!

weesaidie Sun 29-May-05 12:39:27

Also my brother is not at all violent. He is more of the class joker type.

expatinscotland Sun 29-May-05 12:44:58

Lack of a strong father figure, IMO.

expatinscotland Sun 29-May-05 12:46:26

I wonder how many might also have an extra Y chromosome. Some studies were done on the US male prison inmate population, and a startling number of them had more than one Y chromosome. Not sure if it's been positively corollated with aggression, but it was an interesting find.

weesaidie Sun 29-May-05 12:49:40

Yes but what about my situation expat?

My brother has an excellent father and a good relationship with him... why has he gone off the rails?

expatinscotland Sun 29-May-05 13:09:34

That is why I suggested the extra Y chromosome findings, wee. I read about it in my psychology textbooks. Texas, my home state, has also found a large percentage of its serial killer Death Row inmates have an extra Y chromsome. Freaky stuff.

weesaidie Sun 29-May-05 13:12:43

Well I really hope my brother doesn't have an extra Y! Don't want him to end up a serial killer!

He is not particular agressive - yet! Just seems to lack any considerate or respect for others - mostly my parents!

I am going to be looking after him while my dad is away for 10 days on business so I hope he has more respect for me!

SenoraPostrophe Sun 29-May-05 13:41:32

It can be all sorts of things. Lack of strong father is one, but I know people who had an agressive and/or absent father who turned out just fine.

I think one of the other big causes is dyslexia and other learning problems - several (admittedly small) studies have found very high rates of dyslexia in inmates at young offenders institutions.

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