After raising five children (myself and spouse included), I have discovered this fabulous new interactive parenting website called Mothers of Bad Boys(MoBB): www.mothersofbadboys.com
The site was inspired by the creator’s challenges in raising a son. In the process she stumbled upon what is called a “boy crisis”: the difficulties boys are having in school and the overall diminishing social tolerance for boyhood. The news is full of stories of boys getting into trouble for things that were considered normal for boys in the past. Just last month a six year-old was suspended from school for bringing a camping utensil to school that in addition to a fork and spoon had a knife on it. A friend of mine told me that her son received a serious reprimand when he and a friend were discovered trying to burn some dead leaves with a magnifying glass. Once the unspoken label of “bad boy” is attached to a boy it usually does not vanish. “Diagnosis” and medication often follow. The number of boys on medication is staggering.
But don’t be misled by name of the website. MoBB is not exclusively geared toward mothers, or boys, for that matter. It addresses many aspects of raising children. As it says in “About MoBB”: “This site is a slice of life and an exploration…” It is a slice of the lives of children and their communities, and the exploration of many issues in raising children.
When I think about parenting, my first thought is “How has one parented oneself?” And of course the second thought is how one parents one’s children. Before I became a parent, I studied the art of parenting by the masters (very few really, outside my own family). I attended well-researched workshops, read literature, and observed the qualities in parents whom I respected. Mind you, attachment-related research and the neuroscience of bonding, were still in their toddler stages back then.
Once I actually became a parent I found myself exasperated by the common norms in our educational system as well as the culture around raising kids. Also, I was tangled in my own values as a first generation Iranian who had lived in the US since 1978. I had to tackle many deep-rooted conflicts disguised in such contexts as loos kardane bacheh, tanbeeh, ghalathaaye ziadi, adab kardan (as in teaching manners) and so on. I needed help and there was none within my quick reach. I recall talking to my kids’ teachers, principals, and teachers’ aids on their individual philosophies as it applied to calling my kids “troubled” or “possible ADHD” or “shy” or, worst of all, “immature.” Little Marco was diagnosed with all those labels. And it broke my heart, I tell you.
Anyway, so much for my rambling about my dilemma as a parent… On Mothers of Bad Boys I find many useful and important topics covered in a down-to-earth manner. One delicate topic that is addressed in an ongoing blog is the importance of manners and acting right to the question of morality. As adults, how many can truly consider themselves competent in moral realms – let alone skillfully teach or provide a model for a child (of any age)?
While there are regular bloggers and contributors on MoBB, most articles are contributions by users: mothers, teachers, mental health professionals – anyone and everyone in the “village” where children are raised – and the kids themselves.
The website also contains news items (with an international bent) and educational trends, for example home schooling. My personal favorites on the home page are collections of funny video clips and popular current shoaars running around (to make sense of children’s developmental stages) – really hilarious! Also, check out the clips on “In the Arts” – a great way to put a lot of things in a creative context.
The creator and editor of the site, Clara Middleton (the pseudonym of a regular Iranian.com contributor) is in the process of raising her son, a vibrant and well-socialized 10-year old. (As she frequently writes about her son, she uses a pseudonym to protect his identity.) She would be delighted to hear your feedback and to publish your experiences and thoughts. You can write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy reading Mothers of Bad Boys www.mothersofbadboys.com!