Parental role in the lives of troubled teen boys

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Parental role in the lives of troubled teen boys

The problem what we have in the juvenile justice system, for boys who are locked up, is in many cases, the gang has become more important than the parent. What we find is that we try to bring the parents out to the camps and talk to the boys. We try to give the parents some advice on what to do when the boy gets out of the camp, but the main goal is to try to re-direct the boys into something more productive and to explain to the parent how important that is. In some cases, for example, we had boys that we found a boarding school for them. One particular boarding school is out in Colorado. It's kind of a tough love program. It's tough for these inner city kids to make it through this program, but we have to first, get the parent to buy into it and see how important that is. In many cases, there are single parents, usually women, who are raising the boys. The absence of the father in the lives of many of these boys is a terrible problem, and I don't know the solution. I can tell you one quick solution, we need to start locking up less men for crimes of drugs or a mental disturbance. When you take a boy's father away from him, you take them away from the whole family structure. The degree to which we incarcerate African American men in this country, is a national disgrace.
TEEN, Parenting Teens, At Risk Youth

Watch Paul Cummins, PhD's video on Parental role in the lives of troubled teen boys...


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Paul Cummins, PhD

Educator & Author

Dr. Paul Cummins, President and CEO of Coalition for Engaged Education (CEE), received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University, his MAT from Harvard, and his doctorate from the University of Southern California.  In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School in Santa Monica and built it into one of Los Angeles’s most successful educational institutions and a national model for innovative, independent schools. 

In 1995, Cummins stepped down as Headmaster of Crossroads and formed New Visions Foundation (now Coalition for Engaged Education) to offer opportunities for Engaged Education to all youth. The first venture was New Roads School, a diverse, K-12 independent school in Santa Monica that has a deep commitment to social justice. New Roads devotes 40% of its tuition budget to need-based student financial aid, guaranteeing access to students from a wide socioeconomic array. Cummins has since implemented a number of innovative programs to help children at risk.

Cummins has published four books on education, including Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education (2004), and Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for all Students (2007), both published by Red Hen Press. His most recent book of essays, Why Poetry? Reflections on Poetry, Writing and Culture, was published in 2009 by Xlibris, in addition to two volumes of his poetry and two children's books published in recent years. He is currently finishing Confessions of a Headmaster: My Pursuit of Joy and Justice in Education (forthcoming from Red Hen Press).

Cummins and his wife Mary Ann reside in Santa Monica. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

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