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Guns don't kill people — our sons do


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Fathers and Families

Guns don't kill people — our sons do
January 9, 2013
Top Story
Right nowrespond to this USA Today article.

In response to the most recent shootings, Newtown, Connecticut, Warren Farrell renews his call for a White House Council on Men and Boys to work with the Council on Women and Girls that President Barack Obama formed in 2009. Ask everyone you know to ask for this Council too.


Why do we need a White House Council on Men and Boys? According to Warren Farrell, “The five different areas in which boys are in crisis — education; jobs; emotional health; physical health; and fatherlessness — are handled by different portions of the government. First, White House co-ordination creates the best possibility of avoiding different departments having program duplication and becoming territorial. Second, the best solutions are holistic ones; a Council located in any given department would be less holistic and more territorial.

Most important, a Council on boys and men parallel to the White House Council on Women and Girls would signal to the world that boys and men are facing problems, alert schools and parents as to the nature of these problems, and alert all the nation’s institutions to explore how attending to these problems might help our sons, daughters, families and nation.”



Guns don't kill people — our
sons do

By Warren Farrell, PhD, member, Fathers and Families


We need to find ways to stop the childhood injuries that lead boys to murder.

Our daughters do not kill. Why the difference? For boys, the road to successful manhood has crumbled. It's time we go beyond fighting over guns to raising our sons.

After Newtown, Connecticut, parents cried out, "What's making our children kill?" But it is not our children who are killing. It is our sons. All but one of the 62 mass killings in the past 30 years was committed by boys or men.

We respond by blaming guns, our inattentiveness to mental health, violence in the media or video games, or family values. Yes, all are players, but our daughters are able to find the same guns in the same homes, are about as likely to be mentally ill, have the same family values and are exposed to the same violence in the media. Our daughters, however, do not kill. Why the difference?

Start with suicide. Each mass murder is also a suicide. Boys and girls at age 9 are almost equally likely to commit suicide; by age 14, boys are twice as likely; by 19, four times; by 24, more than five times. The more a boy absorbs the male role and male hormones, the more he commits suicide.

No manly model.

For boys, the road to successful manhood has crumbled. In many boys' journey from a fatherless family to an almost all-female staff elementary school such as Sandy Hook, there is no constructive male role model..

Adam Lanza is reported to have gone downhill when divorce separated him from his dad. Children of divorce without enough father contact are prone to have poor social skills; to struggle with the five D's (depression, drugs, drinking, discipline and delinquency); be suicidal; be less able to concentrate; and to be aggressive but not assertive. Perhaps most important, these boys are less empathetic.

And just while their bodies are telling them that girls are the most important things in the world, these boys are locked into failure. Boys with a "failure to launch" are invisible to most girls. With poor social skills, the boys feel anger at their fear of being rejected and self-loathing at their inability to compete. They "end" this fear of rejection by typing "free adult material" into Google and working through the quarter-billion options. Online "success" increases the pain of real world failure.

Fragile fantasy success.

So, too, with these boys' relationships with video games. While girls average a healthy five hours a week on video games, boys average 13. The problem? The brain chemistry of video games stimulates feel-good dopamine that builds motivation to win in a fantasy while starving the parts of the brain focused on real-world motivation. He'll win at Madden football, but participate in no sport.

It's time we go beyond fighting over guns to raising our sons. With one executive order, President Obama can create a White House Council on Men and Boys to work with the Council on Women and Girls he formed in 2009. Why? No one part of government or the private sector has a handle on the solution.

A coordinated strategy is best developed at the White House level. The mere formation of such a council by the president alerts foundations, companies, families, teachers and therapists that our sons' "failure to launch" needs to be on their agenda. And politically, an effort to go beyond the rote ideological disagreements of the two parties could help build the unity to actually do something instead of fight to a standstill in a closely divided country.

There are few things a culture does as important as raising children. We can't continue to fail half of them.

Warren Farrell is author of Why Men Are the Way they Are. He is co-authoring a book with John Gray, titled Boys to Men.
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Fathers and Families is a non-profit organization that is educating the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents and extended families. If you would like to get involved in our organization, you can do so several ways. First, we would love to have you as an official member of the Fathers and Families team. Second, Fathers and Families is an organization that believes in the importance of using social media as a means to spread the word about shared parenting and other topics, and you can visit us on our Facebook Page to learn more about our efforts. Last, we hope you will share this newsletter with other families using the many social networking sites so that we can bring about greater awareness of shared parenting. Thank you for your support.



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