In Denmark we started to notice that some kids suddenly disappeared from school. Were they taken by phedofiles? Were they traded off to participate in some regional war far from here?
No, the answer was that the parents had become afraid of our youth culture, which I must admit can be rather challenging because it is aimed to produce people capable of choosing for themselves and stop up and start criticizing whenever they observe unjust in their life. We had a lot of parents who made the decision to lure their children on holiday abroad and then lock them up in religious boarding schools where they are taught values very unlike ours. A teaching which make it difficult for them to re-enter our society and function as a productive citizen. In 2004 it was revealed that about 1,000 students were taken abroad on such behavior modification trips.
Our government moved fast to stop that kind of traffic. Of course we cannot expect parents to fully understand our concept of teaching developed in our 1,000 year old culture in a short time. We had to offer them alternatives which allowed them leave their children here and at the same time provide these children a kind of semi-sheltered environment where they only see the light version of our world of free choices.
In Denmark parents can legally detain their children in boarding schools known as “Efterskoler” in Denmark (Continuation Schools in English). The continuation schools are often based on rigid rules where no smoking or consumation of alcohol is allowed even given the fact that 10 years of intense research has resulted in legislation where alcohol with an alkohol percentage of below 22 percent is considered safe for youth under 18 to drink safely without consequences.
But it is a compromise. Given the alternative that the teenagers would have been confined abroad it is a little better that they can settled with being locked up from Monday to Friday. It doesn’t prepare them properly to a life in High School where most of the students socializing and the schools safekeeping is done in the Friday bar, but at least they are given the chance to mature during their weekends.
While the boarding schools are religious they are not only for families of a certain religion. Many teenagers of Muslim parents attend Catholic boarding school because an Atheism society scare some parents more than a strict religious society even if the faith is not the one they believe in.
It is believed that we are in control of this problem right now. Improvements can be made. A number of control mecanisms have been introduced. Every town is responsible for reporting absense of children and suspicion of foreign behavior modification.
Unfortunately it is not so in other countries. When I researched for this article I learned about how some children from England are taken to Africa where they can be beaten in to submission and return to their parents as broken, scared but respectful teenagers.
Also in the United States they have a long tradition to send their children away to boarding schools, boot camps where some of kids die. Some of these schools were located in Mexico, Jamaica, Samoa or Costa Rica but also inside the United States in such states like Missouri or Utah where children are not considered humans before they are 18 (Maybe they are but they have no human rights).
This week I learned of an unusual case from a friend who have seen a poster online. A 17 year old girl ran of from a place called “Circle of Hope Girls Ranch”. I managed to look at their website. Their school work is worth nothing. Of course no Danish school would accept the papers but Danish schools are general of higher standard than in most countries so they don’t accept a year in the United States regardless of the school. But this school is accredited nowhere other than some do-it-yourself online religious school system. I believed that it was special but I soon learned that it is quite common that some of the teenage lockdowns provide this kind of education so those who make it with good grades have to start over entirely once they return home.
Runaways is also an everyday happening over there and I was surprise to learn that these kids are arrested instead of being helped. I mean in Denmark the police hardly bother to look. If they do they locate the teenager and then inform the parents or the social services to get them. The police is not running a taxi service.
But this case is special and thats why I mention it in this blog-entry. This 17 year old girl used to live as a small girl in England. At some point she left and started to live with her father. I don’t know what happened but I have learned enough from bitter exchange students who have returned home that a teenage life in the United States is nowhere close to a life in freedom as we enjoy it here. This girl must have faced harsh opposition and instead of letting her leave for England to live a normal teenage life her parent and step-mother leving in Nevada got someone to take her to this lockdown of a ranch in Missouri.
There she was without legal representation, without any contact to a consulate or an embassy regardless of her British passport. She may have offended the standards and norms of the society she was living in but she was not in court before she was sentenced to a term of unknown time. What other than trying to run could she do?
I find it extremely harsh to give a person a sentence without setting a timelimit on it. There is no hope left for this person to plan a life once freed. That’s why we in Denmark only give such sentences when a life has been taken.
But back to the subject. Is it normal that British kids are shipped off to whatever solution the parents can find abroad? Africa was mentioned above. With a little research I also discovered that kids were send to Mexico before the drug war overthere started. In fact a school is mentioned which later closed due to suspicion of child abuse. We are talking Casa by the Sea – the very same school attended by the son of Farrah Fawcett where he developed the basis for a drug addiction while he was placed there for behavior problems only. The program Banished to Boot Camp told a story about a mother in England who made the decision to find a program as far away as possible from her so others could conduct this kind of outsourced parenting. Based on the comments made on the homepage of BBC, I could see that several parents did the same as her.
I find it odd. England has developed a fine youth culture with plenty of solution at hand for parents. But what is common for these solutions is that the parents have to involve themselves in the process.
It is here I hope that families in other countries could learn from us.
First alcohol with a percentage below 22 is not a health danger if males keep it under what equal 21 beers per week and women 14 beers per week. It is the standards we are aiming at in Denmark and we have not become instint due to our strategy in this area. In fact people live just long enough so they don’t join the so-called burden of elderlies for too long.
Second introduce local alternatives to banishment. We have our continuation schools. It is not a good solution but it is the best solution possible. It is a compromise.
Thirds as parent you must accept that your child will not grow up in the 1970’s. We are talking year 2010 here. Children of today must have some kind of access to alcohol. Otherwise they will turn to drugs. We as parents lay the foundation for their need as we allow them to learn of whatever earth queke, war or something other out in the world where people have lost their lives or suffered. We adult can stand watching deaths in the news and still enjoy our food, but teenagers have not our life experience. They have not learned the Lesson of life number one: “Don’t take life serious, you will die due to it anyway.” They take the suffering of other people too serious and need something to lower their bad conscience and concerns with.
So parents: Look at Denmark and how we are doing. Protect your children. Keep them close to you, even when they are causing your problems. Remember when you are sitting in your diaper already used one time for number 1 then who is going to turn it? The staff? You must be joking. In a welfare society on decline that job belongs to your children.