Dr. Coleman was on the Today Show July 6th, talking about parental estrangement. Click here to view the segment.
The notion of a rebellious teen driven by hormones and an undeveloped brain is so much a part of our ongoing cultural narrative that we assume its universality. But, what if this construction of adolescence is more cultural than universal?
In a fascinating new book, Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex, University of Massachusetts sociologist Amy Schalet examines this question by asking both American and Dutch parents the question: “Would you ever let your teenager’s boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over?” She finds that while the vast majority of parents here say no way, the vast majority of parents there give a qualified yes.
Oh, those Dutch, you say. With their hashish cafes, their acceptance of prostitution, their non-punitive approach to drug addiction. Of course they’re going to be loose about that. What aren’t they loose about? And yet, as Schalet demonstrates, the Dutch attitude toward the sleepover (like their more tolerant approach to adolescent alcohol use) reveals a very careful and measured approach to parenting.
And that approach reveals fundamental differences in how our two cultures view the construction of the individual and the role of society at large. These differences are especially interesting because there are many ways that the two cultures are quite similar: Like us, the Dutch developed a governmental system based on a liberation from an outside power (Spain, in their case), have powerful middle classes, experienced a sexual revolution in the 1960s, and are proud individualists.
Dr. Coleman was invited to give a talk to the faculty and students on Dual-Career Couples at Harvard. He discussed his clinical experience working with dual-career couples and also what research tells us about how couples and their children can benefit from sharing financial and household responsibilities.
Today’s NYT’s featured an article on parental estrangement by one of my favorite journalists, Tara Parker-Pope. The article is one of the first I’ve seen that discusses the pain of estrangement from the parent’s perspective. She interviewed several people who post here on the When Parents Hurt forum. To read the full article, click here: Be sure to add your comments at the end of the article!
I have long been an admirer of Ellen Galinsky’s work. As president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, Ellen and her colleagues have produced some of the most interesting and important findings on the relationship between work and family functioning that we have. I often cite her research in my interviews and she has become one of the most important go-to people in the field. So I was not surprised by how much I liked her new book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Skills Every Child Needs. Mind in the Making summarizes the best of what we know about how children develop the capacity for thinking, learning, developing good judgement, and succeeding in life. Unlike most parenting books, Mind in the Making backs up each one of its assertions with research on child development, neurology, and parenting. It is written in a warm, engaging style that reads more like a conversation with the reader than a
dry treatise on child development. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mind in the Making provides the reader with multiple ways to help a child develop the seven essential life skills that she describes. Highly recommended!
Not as common as you might think. Researchers at Duke University spelled it out for a random sample of almost 1,500 students at the Durham, N.C., campus and found that only about one-third had had a hookup in college. Researchers surveyed 732 freshmen and 723 seniors and found that of the one-third in each grade that had had a hookup, less than half involved oral sex or intercourse. The study also found that nearly 60% of the freshmen reported that they had never had sexual intercourse. Click here to read the full article by journalist, Sharon Jayson.