Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Parents guiding teens: Are teen attitudes changing?

NO. 66
April 8, 2009
The eReview provides analysis on public policy relating to Canadian families and marriage.

Parents guiding teens: Are teen attitudes changing?

By Derek Miedema, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Is teenage rebellion going out of style? Recent statistics show that teens may be navigating into adulthood these days by having less sex and smoking and drinking less than their counterparts in the 80s. [1] Still, there's a paradox; teens face adult behaviours like early sexual activity, while at the same time sticking around home longer.

Through all this, one thing hasn’t changed: family plays the prime role in teenagers becoming disciplined, self-reliant, contributing and compassionate adults.

Thankfully, the statistics may speak to improved relationships with parents over this transition. And how parents relate to teenage children is an important question in particular because the transition to adulthood is happening more gradually.

A 2007 study by Statistics Canada examined the adult populations aged 18 to 34 between 1971 and 2001. The study found that

In 1971, three-quarters of 22-year olds had left school, nearly half were married and one in four had children. In contrast, in 2001, half of 22-year olds were still in school, only one in five was in a conjugal union (usually common-law), and one in eleven had children. In 2001, young women led men in educational attainment and many more women had full-year fulltime jobs than young women 30 years earlier.[2]

Higher educational attainment means that children remain in the parental home longer than they did in 1971. [3] The changing nature of work means that children in 2001 were more likely to return home after leaving than were teenagers in 1971. [4]

Then there’s the fact that we are delaying the age of marriage by a substantial margin and that cohabitation has replaced marriage as the preferred first relationship for 18-34 year olds by 2001. This is troubling, given the reality that contrary to what most young people are hoping for, cohabitation does not lead to stronger marriages. [5]

A 2007 Poll for the Associated Press and MTV asked 1,280 youth consisting of 618 13 to 17-year-olds and 662 18 to 24 year olds “What one thing in life makes you most happy?” 20 per cent of respondents stated that “spending time with family” was that one thing. [6] This is also seen in the latest results from Dr. Reginald Bibby’s 2008 Project Teen Canada, where 67 per cent of adolescents rate family life as “very important,” up from 59 per cent in 2000. [7]

Seventy three per cent of respondents replied that their relationship with their parents made them either “very happy” or “somewhat happy.” [8] Seventy six per cent said the same thing about their relationship with their family. [9]

As children remain in the family home longer or return from the independence of university to live a summer at home, having a quality relationship with their parents becomes all the more important. In 1971 half of 22-year-olds were married and one in four had children. In that context, young men and women would make the transition to adult not only more quickly, but also more likely outside of the parental home. As young adults remain home throughout college or university years, they will be navigating that transition with their parents under the same roof.

So how do families face the paradox of growing up quickly yet becoming adults more slowly? Some advocate the situational approach. A recent book entitled When Things Get CRAZY wih Your Teen: The Why, the How and What to Do Now, gives advice on how to deal with situations. Johnny is smoking marijuana? Here’s your solution. Mary has become sexually active? Covered. Bobby is hanging out with a bad crowd of friends? Check.

There may be moments in a parent’s life where they need an answer immediately. However, ideally, in the context of a relationship with their children, parents can interact with their children out of a learned respect and love. No person is born a teenager. What happens in the years previous can have a strong effect on how people navigate the journey to adulthood. Family, in particular parents, has a strong role to play in encouraging and guiding children to become healthy, happy adults.

This prolonged or repeated transition has consequences for the parents as well – adjustments of this nature affect everyone. Parents love their children and want the best for them; but the ultimate task for parents is not to put out situational fires but to prepare their children to face the world more or less on their own.

Dr. Karyn Gordon, a Canadian parent and teen coach, has undertaken research in this area as well. Her findings discuss setting boundaries in critical areas. [8] Some of the 13 boundary areas she discusses are:

· Financial

· Responsibility

· Social

· Smoking/Alcohol/Drug

· Emotional

Key here is that we teach our teenagers and young adults according to what their age, maturity level and agreed upon responsibilities should be. This process will need mutual accountability as well. These agreed boundaries will often determine how everyone will resolve new unforeseen issues, as they arise.

Changing situations with our teenagers need not result in confrontation. Though being a teenager can be fraught with difficulty, parents can take heart in knowing their teens want to communicate with them—and if recent stats are any indication, they are even doing more of the right thing than before.


[1] Gillis, C. (2009, April 13). Generation tame. Maclean’s, pp. 36-40.

[2] Clark, W. (2007). Delayed transitions of young adults. Statistics Canada, Canadian Social Trends No. 84 Retrieved April 1, 2009 from

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mitchell, P.J. (2009, February). Growing up married, growing up common-law. Institute for Marriage and Family Canada eReview No. 64. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from,%202009.pdf


Podlich, H. (2007, November 7). Til death do we cohabit? Institute of Marriage and Family Canada eReview No. 28. Retrieved April 6, 2009 from

[6] Knowledge Networks. (2007). The Associated Press-MTV Poll. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from

[7] Gillis, C. (2009, April 13). Generation tame. Maclean’s, p. 38.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Gordon, K. (2008). Dr. Karyn’s Guide to The Teen Years. Toronto: HarperCollins.

Permission is granted to reprint or broadcast this information with appropriate attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Mike Murphy wrote:Posted 2009/04/08
at 1:40 PM ET
The complexities involved in raising children have reached new heights. For many years judges in their gynocratic manner have been favouring females.

This is imbued in all their decisions whether it be granting custody in a 9-1 ratio to females or if someone overlooked it and gave dad custody to change that as soon as it is brought to their attention and in the familiar gender discounts for infractions of the law.

These judges having set themselves up as the new parents can be pointed to to as the social engineers that are causing so much turbulence in our youngsters today. Read Dr. Edward Kruk's new study on the impact of court decisions on our children.

Its a bloody shame.

Quebec dad sued by daughter after grounding loses his appeal

Father's lawyer says they may take case to Canada's Supreme Court

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 4:30 PM ET Comments533Recommend241

A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

The father is "flabbergasted," his lawyer Kim Beaudoin told CBC News.

In its ruling, issued Monday, the province's court of appeal declared the girl was caught up in a "very rare" set of circumstances, and her father didn't have sufficient grounds to contest the court's earlier decision.

The family's legal wrangling started with a dispute over the girl's internet use.

'Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules. It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss.'

— Kim Beaudoin, the father's lawyer

She had been living with her father after her parents split up when he grounded her in 2008 for defying his order to stay off the internet. The father caught her chatting on websites he had blocked, and alleged his daughter was posting "inappropriate pictures" of herself online.

Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

The father — who had custody — withheld his written permission for the trip, prompting the school to refuse to let the girl go with her classmates.

That's when the girl asked for help from the lawyer who represented her in her parents' separation, and petitioned the court to intervene in her case.

"Going to court was a last resort," said Lucie Fortin, a legal aid attorney who represented the girl. "The question was that there was a problem between the father and the mother, and the child asked the court to intervene because it was important to her.

"The trip was very important to her."

Legal battle destroyed father-daughter relationship

A lower court ruled in the girl's favour in 2008. She went on the trip, but her father appealed the decision on the principle of the matter.

He doesn't have regrets, his lawyer said.

"Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules," Beaudoin said. "It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss."

The girl — who now lives with her mother — doesn't have much of a relationship with her dad now, Beaudoin said.

"We went from a child who wanted to live with her father, and after all this has been done, they're not speaking anymore."

"We have a lot of work to re-establish a link between those two."

Beaudoin believes the ruling reflects a loss of moral authority in Quebec's court system.

"Is this what we want in our society? Laws are supposed to reflect our values. And if the courts aren't reflecting that, maybe the government will, to prevent children from going this way," she said Tuesday, adding her client may take the case to Canada's Supreme Court.

In its Monday ruling, the appeal court warned the case should not be seen as an open invitation for children to take legal action every time they're grounded.

Court of appeal sides with girl, 12, who sued father over grounding

Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The lawyer for a Quebec man whose 12-year-old daughter took him to court to challenge his punishment said yesterday the case might be taken to the country's top court after the father's appeal was quashed. The Quebec Court of Appeal sided with the girl, who won a decision from a lower court last June overruling her father's decision to ban her from a school trip. The court stated that it is a question of parental authority and that what should have been a daily parenting decision grew into a major conflict. But the girl was right to ask the Quebec Superior Court to resolve the matter because her divorced parents could not agree, it added. The mother was in favour of the school trip while the father forbade the girl from going because she did not follow his orders to stay off the Internet and got into a fight with her stepmother.

Some Blogosphere observations on Parental Alienation Syndrome.


A good analysis. Wendy takes a more reasonable approach to the issue than many feminists. She even believes in 50-50 shared parenting which you would think is the norm for all feminists given their equality focus. She knows children are used as weapons and it is not gender specific. I think that is why many gender feminists hate Gardiner as he only found females’ performing the behaviour and this has skewed their thinking.

Is Parental Alienation a Syndrome?

on Sunday 05 April 2009

by Wendy McElroy

Parental Alienation has been a hot topic in the Canadian courts of late with a mother losing custody on the grounds of her continuing campaign to vilify the father and distance him from their children. The father received full custody. I have mixed feelings about the attempt to introduce parental alienation as a psychological syndrome. I fully admit the existence of cruel, vicious parents who use their children as weapons; whenever custody arrangements cannot be agreed upon privately, I endorse the idea of shared parenthood (50/50) through which children are part of the lives of both parents. But, again, I have reservations about making the pattern of behavior into a psychological/legal "syndrome."

I expressed them in an article I wrote a few years ago, which is reprinted below.

For those of us who have been abused by our ex's and seen this abuse manifested through our children's behaviour toward us there is no doubt. My then 11 year old daughter told the Children's Lawyer Clinical Investigator she could not remember her older Sisters both of whom who she adored and had seen every year twice a year or more over her life. She could not remember events I was involved in but could remember all events related to her mother's activities or very brief encounters with her mother's family. These are but a few of the many symptoms she displayed. The invective, with bullets made by her mother, she acting as shooter was distressing and heartbreaking.

I think too much is made of the term syndrome. I believe it is having witnessed the damage it does to a child but take away the term and the damage is the same. It must be child focused but these deniers want to make it perpetrator focused.

A child who is sexually molested has been damaged. One cannot escape that fact. The child must be treated for any physical damage and emotional trauma. No syndrome is involved but we know there is suffering. Its not rocket science. The same is true of PA. The child is damaged and that damage can range from mild emotional trauma to psychotic breaks. In the most extreme of cases death can occur. Pamela Richardson's son killed himself and recently in the Toronto area a mother killed her 18 month old toddler so the dad could not have access. That was Parental Alienation of the most egregious kind but not necessarily PAS. It was still extreme behaviour.

The professional's attending the PAS Symposium in Toronto also suggested in the Q & A not to get hung up on the syndrome part as it tends to serve as a red herring. They know the behaviour is damaging and can treat it without it being in the holy grail of the DSM. Dr. Darnell opined that not one of the maladies listed in the manual has "Syndrome" attached to it.

In any event good work.

Mike Murphy

George Jonas: People should build their own nations and liberate their own wives

Comments on the National Post site in response to a George Jonas column on the war in Afghanistan.


Well stated and we must keep the focus clear as to why we are there. No nation has ever conquered the Afghan tribes nor should we "force" our values on them. Perhaps some of our better traits can "rub off" but given the entrenchment and brainwashing over centuries of religious dogma anathema to the west it is unlikely.

I've said in another forum awhile ago Canadians ought not to be too smug or self-righteous about Afghan patriarchy something akin to your example.

In Canada, indeed the USA as well, a form of gender apartheid is applied by our government each and every day based on mythological gender feminist ideology. In a ratio of about 9-1 females get custody of children upon family breakdown and dads are marginalized to the sidelines as visitors in their lives. We, according to our current Government, at both levels are only good as ATM's in supplying money to support the ex's lifestyle. Money that, as previously noted, is tax free to the recipient but taxable to the dad. As a sidenote the biggest deadbeats are those rare females ordered to pay child support. There are far too many incentives for females to seek a divorce in this country and they do at least start the process 66 to 70% of the time.

In Belgium shared and equal parenting was initiated in 2006 and has reduced the divorce rate. The agency responsible for collecting support payments has disappeared from that role - think of FRO in Ontario - and does other things. If one parent withholds access they may well go to jail as that is considered abduction. They are child centered not vaginally coerced as are our lawmakers and Judges in Canada. Do you know what else that was startling? The Minister responsible for getting it rolling was a feminist who wanted to ensure her husband had the children 50% of the time so she could pursue her career. Her selfishness (or rather career oriented posture) worked for the benefit of all men who were marginalized but more particularly the children as it is truly in their best interest. She did believe in the equality of the sexes which is a breath of fresh air. Judges in Canada think it is in children's best interest to lose 50% of their genetic makeup by marginalizing fathers. Can you think of anything more repugnant than that? Yet it flies under the radar everyday.

If Harper and McQuinty are looking for savings then change the law. We can reduce the massive bureaucracy's involved in the divorce industry, free judges up for more important work, reduce divorce, increase the well being of children who will have two legal parents in their lives again on an ongoing basis and according to Dr. Edward Kruk's recent research we should have much better adjusted children reducing social costs.

That is not only in the best interest of our children but in the best interest of our nation because families are its basic building block and married families the most solid of those blocks are now a countable minority according to Stats Canada. It is the canary in the coal mine.

George Jonas: People should build their own nations and liberate their own wives
Posted: April 08, 2009, 1:33 PM by NP Editor

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the green-robed statesman who tries to rule between a rock and a hard place, first signed, then unsigned (well, sort of) a piece of legislation governing relations between men and women in his country. Now Western commentators are congratulating themselves on having successfully pressured him. Before the punditry gets carried away, though, we should remember three things about the nation of tribes nestling among the peaks of the Hindu Kush.

From Lisa Scott and her "Real Family Law" site

You are all undoubtedly familiar with various abbreviations used by law enforcement and courts to designate certain crimes.

Commonly seen terms are

DUI - Driving under the influence

MIP - Minor in possession of alcohol

VNCO - Violation of No-contact order

Some terms have also been coined by certain groups to designate non-crimes where police often seem to target minorities, such as

DWB - Driving While Black

Well, TABS has uncovered a series of heretofore unknown crimes and their abbreviations, which police use only against men in domestic situations. Unbeknownst to most men, they are committing "crimes" every day in their dealings with their wives or significant others. All the wife has to do is call 911, report the misbehavior, and the man will be summarily tossed out the door.

So, as a public service, to help better prepare you for what may happen to you at any time, we offer the following formerly classified offenses, for which you may get in trouble at home:

RDVII - RESISTING DV INDUSTRY INDOCTRINATION (When sent to DV Perp Treatment Re-education)

Lisa Scott is a family law attorney based in Bellevue, Washington. Tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers, she decided to start her own website. Co-founder of TABS: Taking Action Against Bias in the System, she has been fighting for equal justice and gender equality in the family courts for years. Lisa hopes you enjoy the humor, satire, absurdity, and occasional seriousness contained on this site. And be sure to give us your contributions on the Blog.