Kids Rule – Unless we learn to say 'no' we are brewing an enormous pot of trouble for our children

20 October 2006
Dr Peter West is Head of the Research Group on Men and Families at the University of Western Sydney. His last book was What is the Matter with Boys? (Choice Books, Sydney). See Boys’ Learning – a research group on men and families.
We need to do the following:
– reinforce parents’ authority. Until we do that we will have young people out of control;
– work much harder to keep dads in families as people actively bringing boys into intelligent manhood. Dads play a vital role with daughters, too. We can’t have authoritative parenting for most kids until we put fathers back in the picture;
– parent education is necessary to tell parents what they can and should do with their children. Part of this will be teaching parents to say “no”;
– we have to find ways of working intelligently with police and local communities to show kids more constructive ways of growing up;
– give teachers more authority over children, so they learn the skills they need; and
– dismantle the state education bureaucracies and put schools under the control of parents and local communities.

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