Book looks into the difficult lives of troubled boys

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new book is looking into the reasons why boys are at the center of the violence, crime and mayhem in developed nations like the United States.

At the same time, the District of Columbia is in the midst of what some could characterize as a crime wave. On Wednesday night alone there were three separate shootings resulting in one death and 4 injuries.

“The crime is an integral part of The Boy Crisis,” said Warren Farrell, coauthor of The Boy Crisis. “I met yesterday with three Superior Court judges here in D.C. and they said of the people they see everyday (that are almost all involved in crime) almost 90 percent of them have no fathers.”

Farrell holds a Phd in political science and has authored several books on men, women and family. He cites several reasons for girls outperforming boys in school but said that raising a son without a father figure is a major factor in how likely they are to end up trouble makers.

“When children don’t have boundary enforcement– when they aren’t told they have to finish their peas before they have their ice cream– then they don’t develop that discipline,” said Farrell.

Farrell believes a two-parent approach is essential in raising children because each parent brings something different into a child’s life.

“There’s a mother-style of parenting and a father-style of parenting,” said Farrell. “With the father-style children learn the importance of rough housing.”

“Children are aided best when both styles are integrated together and both father and mother are valued for the contribution they are making.”

Without a father, Farrell said boys don’t learn about boundaries and are likely to cross the line at school or when working with coaches.

“Through the teenage years especially is when there is a huge gap between boys who have fathers to guide, them fathers to discipline them; fathers to enforce,” said Farrell.

He said, in many cases, a boy in need of a father is really hurting.

“You don’t think of the bully as being ashamed of himself,” said Farrell. “You don’t think of the criminal as being ashamed of himself but very frequently he is.”

In America, more than 20 percent of high school dropouts remain unemployed following school according to Farrell. He compares that to other developed nations, like Japan, who have strong vocational training programs and see 25 percent of their teenagers taking a job directly out of high school.

Farrell hopes a forum held in Arlington Thursday night can help people understand the important role the community can play in helping boys without a father figure feel valued.