According to child psychologists and a growing number of studies, kids too cool for school today are ten times more likely to be on welfare tomorrow. Those were the kids who got drunk, who thought they were better than the other kids and were somehow the most popular kids in the class at the same time. What happened to them?
“Early adolescent pseudomature behavior predicted long-term difficulties in close relationships, as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behavior.” – Joseph P. Allen, Psychologist
The New York Times has also endorsed the idea that those kids who smoked pot, cut school and dabbled in delinquency tended to be the ones who garnered more attention while young.
The study went on to document alarming statistics:
What is cool at the age of 13 was not so cool at 23, and kids had a 45 percent greater rate of problems resulting from the use of drugs and alcohol. They also had a 22 % increased rate of adult criminal behavior.
We all know the dangers that arise when “Cool Parents” raise kids who are too cool for school. Here are five tips to avoid the horror that comes for kids too cool for school today, on welfare tomorrow:
1. Discourage them from befriending “the cool” kids
“Adolescents are more likely to engage in these behaviors and endorse deviant-related attitudes if they believe that doing so has been endorsed by high-status peers” – Beyond Homophily
2. Don’t let them hang with “the older kids”
“Middle school students who associated peer-directed aggressive behavior with high social status (coolness) in the first semester of middle school demonstrated increased antisocial behavior in the second year at that school.” – Bullying And the Peer Group: A Review
3. Age 13 seems a turning point – for better or worse
“At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy, admiration and not a little awe. The girls wore makeup, had boyfriends and went to parties held by older students. The boys boasted about sneaking beers on a Saturday night and swiping condoms from the local convenience store.” – Jan Hoffman
4. Stop responding to your kids “Button-Pushing”
“Many teens learn that arguments with parents are like a big game, with the object of being the first person to control the mood or direction of any confrontation by pushing the other person’s buttons. Whoever can do this first has the most power to control the other player, regardless of their size or age.” – Scott P. Sells, Ph.D.
5. Sometimes parents can’t avoid having trouble kids
“Why have so many children of prominent and loving parents grown up in ideal circumstances, only to reject it all for the streets of San Francisco or New York? Good answers are simply not available. It apparently comes down to this: God chooses to use some individuals in unique ways.” – Dr. James Dobson
The lesson on all this is, of course, that we should nurture our kids to be themselves instead of encouraging them to be something they’re not. Insecurities and the gratification that comes from peer perception seem to go hand-in-hand. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s worth remembering that the “Too cool for School” attitude should be confronted and discouraged using all the tools at a parents disposal.
Finally, there’s nothing that says that your kid can’t be cool, only that your kid should not feel superior for being so. Nothing communicates cool like confidence, intelligence and grace – all characteristics that should be nurtured and encouraged within our children.
Remember that you children’s tomorrow will be here all too fast, after all.