VOLUME 16 NUMBER 4
3Editorial: Viva la difference!
Leanne Rose Sladde
6The Case of the Little Incredible Hulk: A Therapeutic Relationship with a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
12Boys to men: exploring masculinity in child and youth care
22Red Knight Errantry: The First Step Towards Mature Masculinity
28The Importance of Being There
Irwin F. Altrows
29The Story of Greta
32Preventing Youthful Offending: Where Do We Go From Here?
Diana Nicholson and Sibylle Artz
47Missing John Mayer
50The Greatest Gifts ...
Our voice Darren Lenz
The marks of my childhood Holly Frederickson
53For Whom the Bell Tolls
55It�s Only a Theory
56Bringing Relationship into Accreditation
60The question of Child and Youth Care celebrities
63In their own words: Experiences of adolescent immigrants
66Using Narrative to Work with Families
70Twilight reflections: Stand up a little bit straighter
74Relationships: A Sideways View
Boys and girls: Viva la difference!
Much like the profession of Child and Youth Care, parenting is influenced greatly by the beliefs and values of others.
A quick look at the development of our profession reveals that much of our history is steeped in the knowledge, traditions and strategies coming out of disciplines other than our own. The well known �foundations� of psychology, social work, medicine, sociology, etc., have been touted over the years as the principles on which Child and Youth Care practice stands, notwithstanding the notion that we have a �unique� way of putting these borrowed theories together.
In our development we have witnessed the thinking in our field moving from restrictive, controlling practices (for example, restraints, strict behavioral programs) towards a philosophy that puts the child at the center. So too have we tried to embrace the new age ideas about parenting that embody similar perspectives.
As always with change, the progression appears slow and, again like change, there has to be a benefit. I liken it somewhat to the perceived organic movement. For many years �organic food� was seen as expensive � not really necessary if you were eating your four food groups, and reserved for those that still birthed their babies in the field and wore Burkinstock sandals. (Two more things that have come into popularity in our more informed society!)
Organic food is now accessible on the shelves of most grocery stores and is becoming a hot commodity and selling feature for many multinational corporations. However, there is still a strong faction of society that chooses not to embrace the concept of �organic is better�, hence the larger isles of pudding pops, Dunkaroos, Dr. Pepper, and processed food.
Parenting ideals follow a similar same pattern. Although we have been coached for many years on discipline vs. punishment, and popular parenting magazines are continually encouraging parents no longer to use spanking, but to give their children choices and to listen to what they have to say, the change in societal practice is slow. We all seem to understand theoretically the basic human right to voice, however it appears that making a change in practice might require more than just stating the ideal.
Permission to speak
There are many teachings that urge us to be kind, to accept others as individuals, to honor others� opinions, to allow people to choose their lives and discover their paths. But for some reason, the prevalent thinking still asks us to control and exercise authority over our children.
I have always professed my children�s right to have a voice and confess now that possibly, just possibly, this may not be the way. That maybe society really isn�t ready to walk their talk, and that maybe we really do embrace the ancient thinking that children should be silent. The evidence for this is overwhelmingly in our faces. In a time when we are allowing children to have a voice, our own policies contained in our many institutions continue to squelch that voice. In fear that we are letting our children run the world, we implement rules in our school system that diminishes individuality and choice and that continue to convey the same messages handed down through generations about how children should act, look, and be. We have not learned the lesson that you can tell someone what to wear but your cannot tell them what they want to wear.
I accept what I know intuitively � that my children are grand; that they are struggling with their own dichotomies of the world, expressing them in their own unique way, which will evoke various societal responses. (Which I, too, have experienced, as have all of you, whether parents or not.)
My job and desire is only to love them, guide them, and accept them as their own beings, while at the same time trying to attend to my own shit!
I can�t say that I believe it to be all right. What I do know is that each child is an individual with a spirit of their own, and my desire is not to make them mind me, or be like me, but to allow them to express them- selves as they are. If this society does not end up being one that accepts, young people will have their own wills intact enough to find one that does. Viva la difference!
The same trend shows up everywhere. I find myself in a very odd position at this point in my life. Having been, years ago, at the cusp of the integration of feminist dogma into academic curricula, I have spent much time focusing on the experience of women and the powerless position that they can hold in our society. I am now a single mother of two boys! And, lo and behold, boys are different.
At a recent Halloween party put on by a daring neighbor, I had the opportunity to witness a large number of children ranging in age from one to twelve. The dancing on the patio to the Monster Mash, the decorating of cookies, the craft table, and the face painting area were filled with fairies, angels, princesses, and Kelly Clarkson (apparently the new teen idol). Outside, on top of the swing set, crashing the riding toys, sword fighting, and generally playing war, were the ninjas, Samurai fighters, Harry Potters, etc. One could conjecture that in these groups either sex could exist, but this was not so.
It got me thinking about how our society has worked so hard at suppressing the seemingly �violent� side of boys in particular, and how in my parenting I have taken on the societal belief, seeing any physical expression other than sports and the gentler contact as something to be re-directed, minimized and almost �girlized�. I find myself pressured by society to see oppositional and aggressive behaviors as problematic rather than a statement of personal freedom. Yet I watch my �violent� boys utilize their voice and aggressiveness to confidently set their boundaries and state their place in the world.
I find some solace in the fact that writers in the field of Child and Youth Care are stepping forward to remind us that boys too have a voice, personal volition, and a viable place; that some are speaking about the differences that exist in gender and honoring the developmental place that activities such as rough-housing and physical contact plays in the lives of boys. My boys.
I feel honored to be a part of a field that is forward thinking and that does allow for difference to be valued. It gives me motivation to continue participating in the change for the children of the next generation.
Leanne Rose Sladde