The risks of being a "Cool" Kid
There was a really interesting article in the Washington post today about how kids who are typically seen as "cool" for their shenanigans in middle school may end up worse off for it.
The author talks about typical little things cool kids might do, like sneaking into an R rated movie, making out with their crush in an empty hallway, skipping third period, or obsessing over their style. Sure, we don't condone these things, but most people don't think it's the end of the world when a 12 or 13 year old slips up a little.
Well, a study done of 184 7th and 8th graders says otherwise. They followed up with the kids 10 years later and found that the kids who were invovled in minor delinquencies, young romances, and focused on social status were way worse off then their "un-cool" peers. The popular kids had a 45% higher rate of drug/alcohol problems and a 22% higher rate of criminal behavior. What's even more interesting is these kids who seemed to be into more mature relationships at such a young age were actually scored 24% lower then their peers in a social competency test at age 22. That means they had trouble carrying out normal, positive relationships.
So many of us want our kids to be popular because it means that they're accepted by society. Nobody dreams of a socially awkward child. It's good to have friends and you don't want them to be picked on. The issue is what lengths they'll go to be accepted. I feel like it's important as parents to teach our kids that the choices they make are way more important then who they hang out with. We also have to learn that having a shy, awkward middle schooler is okay. They don't need to be popular to be successful.
I also think this article speaks to how important discipline is. Even things that seem minor need to be addressed seriously in order for the child to learn what's right.
What do you think? Do you worry about your kid being "too cool"?