Friday, January 18, 2008
OMG, so i read in an article today that a "pathologically aggressive" german teen was sent to REMOTE SIBERIA (redundant, "remote siberia", isn't it?) to reform.
calling it "an intensive educational experience abroad" (anyone up for a spot of gulag?), german youth services lit up a decidedly fierce debate about how to handle adolescent crime.
but really, i don't know what's worse? honestly, who am i to judge? so in germany they're shipping their troubled teens to siberia, while here in america we're give them ipods and spring break trips to hawaii and cozumel. (i'm neither kidding nor exaggerating.) both extremes are bad.
kids need discipline, yes. but kids also need love. they need discipline and love in EQUAL parts. too much of one is just as bad as too much of the other. there's got to be a point somewhere in between siberia and the ipod where both kids and adults can see eye-to-eye. what a child needs is his/her parents, family, love, safety, boundaries, friends, discipline. stark isolation isn't the answer, i don't think.
what we're seeing in germany is frustration, but you don't get frustrated with a kid and ship them off to siberia . . .
america has tinkered with a similar concept for decades. it started in the 50s and is still around today. called "kid bootcamp", it is basically the same thing as germany's siberia experiment. kids are deprived of their family, surroundings, comforts and psychologically stressed in order to "break them down" and then, ostensibly, to rebuild them. just like in military bootcamp . . . but if what the military churns out is any indication of what we get back from such programs, then i think this is NOT the way to go.
and no, i don't claim to know the exact path to follow, either. not like god (if he/she exists) left a cookie trail, but i am willing to bet that a) siberia ain't it and b) it probably all comes back down to proper parenting. yeah, you'll have one or two nuts that, regardless of great parenting, will grow up to be utter bastards, but for the most part kids will turn out well if they are brought up with love and discipline.
anyhow, there are my two cents.