Peer Pressure Perils

Abstract: Socialization is often put forward as an argument in favor of school. However, this article argues that school in many ways is to blame for many of the social problems that youth encounter. The problem is that, at school, children teach children to behave like children, or - even worse - to behave like non-humans.

A. The Socialization Myth

Many parents believe their children should go to school for academic reasons as well as for socialization. But the socialization at school is clearly a myth, as the entire school system is out to prevent children to communicate with each other in class. In class, children have to watch the teacher, listen to the teacher, write something down on paper, do all kinds of things. But when they start talking or otherwise socializing with their classmates, they get punished.

School has the nasty habit of twisting arguments around. In class, children have to sit still all the time. School feels obliged to compensate for this by airing the children from time to time on the school-grounds and the sport-fields. To say that school recognizes a need for children to socialize with each other and that school has therefore instituted breaks between classes, that is twisting the argument around. School wants to keep the children quiet in class and therefore gives them a break from time to time.

The school system enforces compulsory attendance at school. When children come home after school, they are tired and exhausted, but they still have to do home-work. This prevents children from meeting other people in a way in which they can socialize. Children seldom join social activities such as dancing, craft, discussion and jogging groups. The school schedule simple rules out such 'extra-curricular' activities.

The socialization myth and the twisting around of arguments goes much further. Just try and get a sensible answer to questions on topics such as sport and socialization. Typically, school argues that it is natural for children to participate in sport and be amongst their peers, so that they can play games and be happy!

The same arguments can be heard in prison. Of course, prisoners who are locked up all day and night are happy just to stretch their legs, they are happy to have a conversation in which they are not treated like dirt for a change. But the joys and perceived benefits of such gymnastics and antics are the consequences of being locked up. That things look funny is caused by the imprisonment. Things look funny within the context of the general atmosphere of imprisonment. There are also negative aspects associated with such 'socialization', such as sexual and mental abuse between prisoners, use of drugs, planning to break out and other mischief. Although many prisoners may regard this as 'fun', the fact is that prison can make a gangster out of an honest young man.

School has many similarities with prison. First of all, school is compulsory, children are forced to attend against their will. School-grounds are often surrounded by fences and gates, many doors are locked. School uses many disciplinary methods, such as uniforms and dress codes, behavioral codes, fixed times, supervisors, punishments and pseudo-rewards. And there are similar peer pressure perils, which can make a gangster out of an honest young child.

School argues that it is good for children to be among children of their own age, to play with them and have fun. School twists the argument around and presents peer-socialization as something that is beneficial to the development of a child. School twists around cause and result. Grouping together of children of the same age is typical for the education system, it is simply a consequence of the way school operates. The reason why children are grouped together according to age is because that is the way school operates. School wants to shape children into a certain mould. Age is the measure of the mould. Compulsory school starts at a given age and ends at a given age. School enforces uniformity. School wants a teacher to give the same lesson to all children in the class. This is why school treats children of the same age as if they should be identical in all respects. School sets standards as to what academic level a child should reach at a certain age. That is why children of the same age are put together in one classroom. And that is why children tend to socialize with their age peers. The sequence of cause and result is not that it is socially beneficial for children to be in the presence of their age-peers, so, children should go to school. No, the sequence of cause and result is that school wants uniformity, so, school therefore groups children of the same age together in classes.

B. Homeschooling is better

The reason why school gets away so often with this false representation of cause and effect, is that few people have considered alternatives to school. Peer pressure is blamed for many things, such as stress, nervousness, hyper-activity, anxiety and other behavior frequently displayed by school-children. But for most parents, school and sedation are inevitable facts of life, just like tax and some other things. They give children tranquillizers in the hope the children can cope with the stress of discipline, examination and bullying.

Unfortunately, few people have even considered alternatives such as homeschooling. Homeschooling is an alternative to school that does not have the age-grouping that is common to school. As a result, children learn to cope with children of different ages. Homeschooling also caters for better quality social contacts, not only at home, but also when children come along to meetings, to go shopping, etc.

What homeschooling is and why it is also superior from academic, moral and other perspectives, has been discussed in many other articles that have appeared in this magazine over the years. This specific article focuses on the false argument that the peer-group culture of school provided social advantages to children.

C. Peer Pressure Perils

In fact, peer-socialization is not necessary at all for children to grow up, to learn, to play and have fun. At school, the fun is often negative and destructive, it is a result of oppression and evolves around bullying and teasing of other children. There is great hilarity when the teacher makes mistakes. Is this fun? No, these are the symptoms of horror. It looks funny when the teacher falls off the steps, because the teacher represents the oppression of the system. The teacher's fall makes the teacher seem stupid, and this appears to liberate and empower the children. But it is only within the context of school that someone falling off steps may look funny. If a family member falls, homeschoolers will immediately be concerned and look if they can help. Schoolchildren, by contrast, will laugh.

This explains how school encourages gang-behavior. School forces children together that would otherwise not want to come near each other. At school, children are taught a destructive behavioral code that is typical of the school environment. Because school-children act in accordance with this code, they cannot socialize with other human beings, they cannot find work, they cannot be a proper member of society in general. That is why school-children pack together in gangs! This same destructive behavioral code is dominant within gangs. This type of 'social' behavior is cultivated at school and it results in and persists within gang cultures. School-children are rejected by society because of this code, and many therefore seek the pseudo-comfort of gangs where they feel 'at home'. School effectively expels children from their own home.

Many parents are worried about drugs, sexual risks, accidents and diseases their children may encounter at school. Yet, they still believe their children learn things at school and have 'friends'. Thus, they believe that on balance school is good. But what kind of 'friends' do children make at school? And what do they really learn?

The standard argument is that school is necessary for children to learn the things they need to get a job later in life, so that they can earn money and otherwise lead a happy life. School argues that, without educational qualifications, one may miss out on some career opportunities. But with a criminal record, one may also miss out on career opportunities. In fact, this article argues that school does not provide the best opportunities for a successful future, either careerwise or otherwise. Why school doesn't prepare children for future careers is again discussed in many other articles. This article argues that school itself creates the risk for children to become criminals or, more generally, become social misfits.

Street gangs are created by school as it packs children of the same age and from the same neighborhood together in an environment ruled by fear, terror and coercion. Most children are constantly humiliated, while a few 'leaders' are given prizes for their diligence. Fraud is a way of life at school. Truants are hunted down by police. School creates streetgangs and nurtures criminals. If parents are concerned about the future career of their children, they should reconsider the effects of school. School teaches a lie and, in doing so, teaches children to lie. School argues that, if parents are concerned about their children's behavior, the school discipline and 'socialization' is the answer. School will persist in twisting arguments around. If you are concerned about your children's behavior, just think about it, school discipline and 'socialization' constitute the problem.

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