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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Despite the fact I'm not old enough to be, a lot of my students, boys in particular, try to use me as a surrogate father figure.

Inevitably, such a young man fits a certain profile. Typically his parents are not amicably divorced. His father may or may not be a figure in his life, but even if he is, he is basically ignored by his male parent. He's a kid with problems, often substance abuse. He craves attention.

He wants deep down inside for someone to yell at him for getting a tattoo when he gets home. He wants someone to get angry when he gets an F. He wants discipline. He wants a father but he can't have one. So he collects father figures.

A coach. An assistant principal. A remedial math teacher. Any older male in a position to punish him and lavish him with discipline.

Inevitably such an individual adopts outrageous behaviors and claims bizarre beliefs in order to draw negative attention to himself. Now how you deal with this constructively is another thread altogether, but if you fail to deal with it then what you create is a non relationship.

I call it a non relationship because although a bond is forged it's a mutually destructive one. This kid will keep doing stupid stuff and getting in more and more trouble and in the process he will drive you insane if you let him.

Now of course there are variations. I had a girl last year exhibit this same syndrome, and of course I'm sure my colleagues in the math department become surrogate mothers in very similar non-relationships.

These of course are typically 15 and 16 year olds who, despite their maturity, still have a deep emotional need for a parent figure. Of course you can't ever be that for them no matter how much you wish you could sometimes. They may have parents in the sense that a guardian or guardians actually exist, but emotionally, they don't have parents.

But thinking on it now, I wonder if perhaps this syndrome hasn't created some of the current problems we face in government.

You see the maladjusted youth grows up to be a maladjusted and dissatisfied 26 year old, and he still wishes he had parents. He sees the government as a surrogate parent.

He wants the government to tell him what to do, where to go, what he can and can't have, and what he should think. He tries to wedge in ridiculous and repressive laws to fill this emotional hole in his being. He never had an authority figure as a child and he still doesn't have one now. He's trying to create one.

He tells himself the government does these things because the government knows what's good for him. Just like he wanted the teacher to yell at him in high school, he wants the government to force him to do things. He wants to pretend for just a few moments at a time that he has a father.

I know that sounds like a lot of Freudian armchair therapist pyschobabble, but considering the relatively large volume of children coming from divorced households where the divorce was not amicable, it's almost like we can see a pattern.

We know there's a lot of latchkey kids whose parents don't care.

Could this be the root of the problem? Is this the reason gun control and other left wing nonsense continues to exist? Have we really created a society where deteriorating families have spawned left wing supporters?

I pose this as a question as I've a keen interest in human nature. Perhaps I am painting in strokes which are too broad, but perhaps not.

17,352 Posts
I would say 99% of the problems with kids could be solved with proper parenting .. Period ..

I was left alone to take care of my self for say 2-3 hours after school becuse my parnets worked same shift and 45 mins away but i kept out of trouble becuse i knew if i didnt mom and pops would make me wish i had for sure...

Some common sense parenting would take care of a lot but people are over extended ... I got to have that new BMW with that new 300k home not good enough to drive a buick with 92k miles on it any more so we have to work 12-16 hours a day to afford this crap while JR suffers..

I see this day in and day out im in people home everyday i was in 10 different houses today the more modest people like me who arent so overextended on credit seem to be the happest and have the happest house life and kids... Maybe im full of B/s But thats my 2 cents..

Anymore we only have one car i drive company van all day come home in it what do i need a car for one less payment Gave it to my sister becuse she couldnt afford one .. I aint rich probley never will be but i got a :censored: Load of guns and im Happy :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Premium Member
25,481 Posts
Euc - as ever an erudite and stimulating post - I wish I had you for my math! :smile:

Yep - parenting is a root problem - has been and always will be - just happens to have gotten worse. That throws much burden extra on school and teachers - regretably most are not of your high caliber.

I know the father figure deal - some of those kids are like some forum posters - ask a question for advice - but they have already made up their minds and will go own way anyways!!! HEAVY!

Many folks do indeed see Gov as something akin to a father figure - they'll feel protected (sic!) - secure and comfy - ignoring the fact that were they to look outside of the box they just might see erosion of freedoms and liberty.

For them tho as they grow up much of their definition of freedom and liberty, is being able to go get the next car - hike up credit - and then go get more material stuff to further assuage their craving for - well, something to satisfy!

I am a bit like Bud - crazy money invested in guns - but secure in knowledge that while wife and I live very middle of road lives, we stay pretty well outa debt - and if necessary I have equity in my collection. Severe plastic bending is not my scene - but youngsters, up and coming adults (sic again) probably have already been 'infected' with the ''credit spree'' syndrome and, lacking a secure emotional base will likely go silly getting into debt - and worse.

Pretty grim picture ain't it?!

1,563 Posts

A interesting theory based on observation and analysis - are you sure you don't teach science? :wink:

But seriously, it does seem to explain some things, but how do we test it or change things such that this disturbing (to us) phenomenon is minimized?

1,068 Posts
Euclidean said:
...I pose this as a question as I've a keen interest in human nature. Perhaps I am painting in strokes which are too broad, but perhaps not.
I think there are certainly some parallels, but I don't think you can extrapolate directly from the individual to the national level. JMO.

Even as complicated as that kid's life is, our national life is even more complicated. Divorcing our spiritual lives from our civil conduct has caused us to create a body of law intended to legislate into existence what was once dictated by the moral and ethical guidelines of our faiths, outside the law. The moral compass of faith has been replaced largely by the legal compass of jurisprudence. In a sense, you could say the divorce of our spiritual lives from our civil lives has been very much like losing the guidance of a parent, and we have tried to compensate.

Where your analogy doesn't really hold is in the ideologies driving the nanny state. The lawmakers pushing nanny statist views are the liberal elite, so we aren't seeing a desire by the unruly populace for discipline, but a desire by the political elite for control. If legislation were truly driven by popular demand, then you might have a more direct link for your analogy, but legislation is driven more by special interest and personal ideology. Here, I think, the leftist leaning towards socialist democracy and communism, replacing spiritualism with statism, and command economies come to bear. The generation driving and making these laws are the boomers, and the inroads made by socialist and communist philosophies in the 60's and 70's are playing out.

In this sense, I think these people look to the State to guide and control their lives, much as they would look to a parent. The price of freedom is responsibility, and it is a price that some would rather not pay. The people who founded this country were pioneers - individualists. The people who followed were not all pioneers. Some wanted the freedom bought by the pioneers with the safety of a more structured life well away from the frontier, and would rather that everybody be told what to do and think, than have to do and think for themselves.

I think we see "gun control and other left wing nonsense" perpetuated because the children raised by the boomers have been successfully indoctrinated. The children you speak of, products of broken homes, are a result of leftist ideology in practice, tearing and breaking down social and family structures until the only structure left is what is provided by the State.

Just my opinion, and probably wrong at that, but you asked.
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