Category: Sociology of Children

School teachers’ perceptions of the bystanders’ role in school bullying

This particular piece of research was conducted with teachers employed in Finnish primary/lower and upper secondary schools. Ten in number were asked to unfold their perceptions of what role the bystanders play in school bullying. This text draws from their expertise to address a problem with several facets as, for example, it fuels other school problems as absenteeism. Many children choose absenteeism to avoid school because they are bullied there. Considering the long-lasting effects of bullying on victims, it is...

Trans Children & Pathologisation in the UK

What happens when a society, backed by powerful institutions, media and majority culture designates a minority population as inherently disordered? When that categorisation and stigma is weaponised to legitimise abuse and discrimination? A new study highlights the legacy of one example of such pathologisation, focusing on transgender children in the UK. Introduction Across the globe, growing numbers of transgender (trans) children are being supported to live authentically in childhood. Global healthcare consensus now recognises trans identities, including in childhood, as...

Readiness for independent living of youth in residential childcare: A comparative study

Transition to adulthood has become an increasingly extended and complex period for young people, which is not usually completed until the late twenties in most European countries. However, for people who have been placed in alternative care during their childhood or adolescence after being separated from their families of origin, this process is especially difficult. In addition to their early adverse experiences (such as neglect, abuse, abandonment, etc.), they are usually forced to face a much more abrupt and compressed...

What Is Socialization, Really?

              One of the very first concepts I teach my students in Introduction to Sociology is “socialization”. Referring to how individuals come to learn and reproduce the social order of a given society, the concept of socialization is fundamental to sociologists’ understanding of how society works. As we grow up and are exposed to the social influence of family members, teachers, and peers, we come to internalize the societal norms and beliefs that they adhere to so that we can...

The post-war generation remembers

The children are busy with the finishing touch when I enter their classroom. “Lest we forget”, is written in the middle of the poster that they just made. Around, multiple hands are drawn in which every child has written why commemorating World War Two (WWII) is important to him or her. I’m joining this primary school class today to ‘their’ monument, a Jewish graveyard with a WWII memorial. At the graveyard, all children place a painted stone in front of...

The State and My Happiness: Youth Mental Health, Citizenship Education, and Discursive Contestations in Contemporary Indonesia

In 2015 we all sighed a sigh of relief when mental health was eventually included in the Sustainable Development Goals – Goal 3 to be precise. Conveniently, the World Health Organisation also offered a concise definition: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or...

Can you hear me? Two researchers’ perspectives on children’s rights, participation and voice

The Topic We have recently published an article in Children & Society journal exploring parent and professional views on the child’s voice in multi-agency meetings, considering how meaningful and impactful this was, or if there was voice present at all. An online survey combined with educational documents, subject to thematic and documentary analysis, presented some interesting findings. The findings highlight the importance of professional beliefs around child capacity and their understanding of what constitutes a competent view. In turn, they...

Researchers should do more to bring their findings to society: the case of ADHD-medication

In 2020, I co-authored a paper with one of my PhD students, entitled A prescription trend analysis of methylphenidate: relation to study reports on efficacy. In this study by Maruschka Sluiter and colleagues, the prescription-rate of ADHD pills in the Netherlands was analyzed in relation to newly published evidence regarding the lack of their efficacy. We showed that several negative study reports from 2007 onwards did not lead to significant reduction in the rate of methylphenidate (MPH) prescriptions. The data...

Using arts-based methods to access vulnerable children’s experience: The case of children in the Lesbos refugee camp

The aim of this excerpt is to outline a qualitative arts-based methodology used to understand and to evaluate refugee children’s lived experience of in-detention camp schools. We think that this may be a useful protocol with which to approach additional contexts of children’s lives that are difficult to research using traditional methods due to cultural and context – related challenges. The rights and abilities of children to consult and express their worldview as well as to influence their lives and...

Where are future generations in newspaper coverage of climate change?

Climate change is accelerating – and will impact most on children and those yet to be born.  The failure to halt the relentless rise in global temperatures is an act of intergenerational injustice in which the UK is centrally implicated.  It is among the top national contributors to global fossil fuel emissions and, as the first industrialising country, has made the largest per person contribution to climate change.   While today’s children and tomorrow’s generations will be hardest hit, they...

Is ADHD diagnosis flawed? Younger children in a school year group are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD globally

In 2019, I was the lead author of a paper titled Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder late birthdate effect common in both high and low prescribing international jurisdictions: a systematic review. We reviewed 22 studies from 13 countries covering over 15 million children, and found that it is normal for the youngest children in a school-year-group to be diagnosed with and ‘medicated’ for ADHD at a much higher rate than their older classmates. This ADHD late birthdate effect was typically strongest...

School Closures During COVID-19: Potential Impacts on Homeschooling Regulation

Life as we know it is rapidly changing in the current coronavirus pandemic. While many Americans are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship as unemployment rates are skyrocketing, others with relatively unaffected jobs are nonetheless worried about other aspects of this “new normal”: no handshakes, no large gatherings, and even moving freely about or visiting with loved ones is restricted. Many, of course, are also falling ill or losing family members and friends. Although some states are more affected than others, the...

The lack of common sense in disorder thinking

Disorder thinking has been popular and dominant in recent decennia, with a rising number of behaviors and emotions being medicalized into a psychiatric disease. More people today than ever before in history are being diagnosed and treated for ever lighter quirks, drawing professional attention away from those who need treatment most. One recent example of medicalizing a problem that someone might have is Misophonia. Misophonia In 2013, a research group led by the Chair of the Dutch Psychiatry Association introduced...

ADHD and brain anatomy: First do no harm!

ADHD is kind of like a cancer disease but you’re not going to die from it Sylvia, US, on medication, age 11 This quote originates from Ilina Singh’s groundbreaking VOICES study that interviews children about ADHD and medication. Sylvia’s account of ADHD is one of a physical and serious disease like cancer -although not lethal. However, ADHD is not a disease like cancer, but a concept from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), currently in its fifth...

How can we foster positive outcomes for children and young people in care, and what can we learn from ‘success’ stories?

‘Graduation was a really happy day. When I went on stage [my former counsellor] was cheering and stuff and you’re not supposed to do that. She was so excited. She was crying actually; it was so embarrassing. I feel very proud. No one thought I would…genuinely, other than [former counsellor]. In my care reviews, it would be like, lots of people don’t succeed at university. So, to me that [graduation] was like, in your face!’ *Karen ‘She [social worker] understood…She...