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Our Flawed System is Failing Boys and Young Men

Our Flawed System is Failing Boys and Young Men

We need a national debate on gun violence perpetrated by boys ad young men.  it must stop, and there is an answer. We need systemic change.

This latest shooting at ‪Marysville Pilchuck High School in Washington follows a pattern of young males committing gun violence at UC Santa Barbara, Seattle Pacific University, Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, and Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

“The conflux of modern behavioral phenomena – non-stop social media escalation and antagonism, with a huge increase in overall technology addictions – coupled with traditional factors of bullying and unrequited love can form a volatile environment,” Dr. Jantz says.

“But underlying all of this is a very troubling cultural trend that is producing disenfranchised and confused violent boys and young men. At their earliest, formative ages, we are condemning young boys’ behavior. The result is, as we are seeing in many of these boys, they reach their teenage and young adult years in massive confusion as to their identity and what are appropriate social norms. The tragic result is Marysville Pilchuck High School and so many other recent horrors and our hearts ache for the families affected. We truly are experiencing a crisis in our country.” Dr. Jantz continues. 

Dr. Jantz points out these alarming statistics:

  • 70% of D’s and F’s in school are given to boys
  • 77% of expulsions are boys
  • 80% of all disciplinary referrals are boys
  • 67% of all children held back in class are boys
  • 73% of children diagnosed with learning disabilities are boys
  • 81% of suicides ages 10-19 are boys
  • 80% of diagnosed behavioral disorders are boys
  • 80% of children on Ritalin are boys (the U.S. consumes 80% of the world’s Ritalin)
  • 89% of incarcerated youths age 15-17 are males
  • 33% of men aged 22-34 live at home with parents, a 100% increase in 20 years. No such increase has occurred for women

Noting research conducted in his recent best-seller Raising Boys By Design, co-authored with brain science expert Michael Gurian, Dr. Jantz relayed, “We have created a culture that labels boys morally defective, hyper, undisciplined or ‘problem children’ when quite frequently the problem is not the boys but the family, our social environment, and our institutions that do not understand their specific needs and brain chemistry.”

“Limiting their natural development, and not understanding the difference in their brain make-up, has resulted in stunted behavioral growth. Condemning their actions during their early developmental years, and ending the discussion there, reinforces the message that their identity is confused and something for them to be ashamed of. Their resulting behavior can be shocking, as we are seeing.”

“We must have this important national debate now. There is a solution, but we must address it as a society.”

Dr. Jantz noted Michael Gurian’s chilling disclosure, “After almost two decades of working with boys and young men – in classrooms, in prisons, in community agencies, and in my therapy practice – my fear for them grows.” 

Dr. Jantz emphasizes the importance of parents to discuss these violent tragedies with their children immediately. “We cannot let this trauma turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) where it stays with children long-term. They will always have the memory, but it cannot be a memory that harms them,” Dr. Jantz says.

For parents with school-aged children, breaching these sensitive conversations with their kids can be difficult. Dr. Jantz advises parents to let the children guide the conversation. He also advises to be cognizant of developmental age differences between children that affect their ability to process information.  

“What a younger child can process is different than a person in high school or even junior high,” explains Dr. Jantz. “But we must deal with it. We need to make it a family discussion.”

In the wake of the recent school violence, Dr. Jantz believes that it is imperative for parents and mentors to understand how best to talk with children about these issues. If you or a loved one is struggling from the trauma or aftermath of school violence, the world-class team of professionals at The Center • A Place of HOPE is standing by to help. Seeking necessary medical help can prevent future issues of depression, anxiety and PTSD. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to get more information or to speak with a trauma specialist today.


Resources for Parents:

Fox News Interview on Marysville Pilchuck High School Shooting

How to Talk About School Shootings With Children

Talking to Your Kids About Violence

How to Discuss School Shootings With Kids



1 Comment

  1. We need to see how the belief boys should be strong and girls protected from the old physical world beginning from infancy is creating very different academic outcomes for boys and girls today. The increasingly aggressive treatment boys are given boys by parents, teachers, peers, others from infancy and much less kind, stable, verbal interaction, along with much less mental emotional support for fear of coddling, is creating many hurtful things for boys. 1. When we redefine our average stress as many maintained layers of past, present, future -experiences, fears, anxieties, preparations for defense, – far above any immediate needs or circumstances and those layers take up real mental energy, then we can see more readily how the treatment given to make boys tough is made up of higher layers of anger, fears, anxieties, preparations for defense, along with many weights and values developed which act as magnets for other maintained fears and anxieties. This creates significantly higher maintained layers of mental work for boys. It creates more socioemotional distance and distrust of adults others. Also boys are not given kind, caring verbal interaction which hurts vocabulary, communication skills, openness, trust, and many forms of communication we as girls take for granted. Boys are also given love and honor only on condition of some achievement. Boy not achieving are then given more ridicule and discipline to make them try even harder.
    As girls we are treated much better and enjoy more hope and care from society. Since we as girls are given by differential treatment, much more continual, positive – mental, social/emotional support, verbal interaction and care from an early age onward, this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls when compared with boys. We enjoy much more care and support from society from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things. We enjoy lower average stress for more ease of learning. We enjoy much more freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look more unstable at times. Of course we can also use that same freedom of expression to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness/patronization to our Male peers with impunity knowing we are protected. We enjoy much lower muscle tension for more ease and ability in handwriting and motivation to write. We enjoy much more positive, trust/communication from parents, teachers, peers, and more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. The lower the socioeconomic bracket the much more amplified the differential treatment from infancy and more differentiated over time through adulthood.


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