Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dr. Leonard Sax Presenting on Gender Issues at Dallas IECA Conference

For the last few months, I have been obsessed with reading two of Dr. Sax's books, "Boys Adrift" and "Girls on the Edge". I have found myself preaching the sermon according to Sax to anyone who will listen, and have had a wonderful time exchanging snippets of his books with friends and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter; and, oh yes, and in person as well!

In "Boys Adrift" Dr. Sax describes the five factors driving the decline of boys as:

Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.

Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.

Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.

Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.

Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.

In "Girls on the Edge" he looks at:

Sexual identity. Why bisexual girls may be more numerous and/or more evident today, particularly with regard to the sexualization of girlhood.

The cyberbubble. The typical teenage girl in the USA now sends 80 text messages per day, compared with 30 text messages per day sent by the typical teenage boy.

Obsessions. How common is cutting? Is cutting more common among girls than among boys? Even ten years ago, it was unusual to find girls cutting themselves. Today it's common.

Chapter 4: Endocrine disruptors. The risks of PET (polyethylene terephathalate)

These are fascinating reads, and ones which make you really think about children, and our role in helping them help themselves. I am eagerly anticipating attending Dr Sax's sessions at the IECA conference later this week in Dallas, and am looking forward to reporting back here with new insights gained...