From the President

Access, Vol. 31, issue 4, 2017, p.2.

President, Sandra Amoore

Last year I was fortunate to attend a conference at which the keynote speaker was Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. Dr Carr-Gregg is one of Australia's highest profile psychologists working in the area of health psychology, bullying, parenting adolescents and adolescent mental health.

Michael released his latest book The Prince Boofhead Syndrome, a companion to The Princess Bitchface Syndrome. He reports, ‘these parents have brought boofheads up to see the world as one giant, personalised, all-singing, all-dancing, 24/7 catering service that operates exclusively for them.’ He has conducted counselling sessions with 13-year-old girls who ‘… wring their hands about whether they are satisfying their sexual partner … By the time girls turn 13, they look like they’re ready for anything. But they’re not.’ The adolescent brain is not fully formed until the 20s, and today’s adolescents are ‘arguably the most vulnerable generation in Australia’s history’, says Carr-Gregg.

Dr Carr-Gregg attributes the rise of poorly behaved children to five major parenting problems:

… too many parents [are] being doormats for their kids. They have got what I call a vitamin N deficiency, which is a failure to say no. It’s incredibly important that parents set limits and boundaries and I don’t know that that’s happening at the moment.

Another ‘model of crap parenting’ is the:

 … helicopter parent. The high-strung, control-freak parents that want to smother their kids with so much love and attention and monitoring and supervision that they never, ever develop any self-reliance and can’t solve their own problems later on.


Dr Carr-Gregg said the style of parenting has major effects on the mental health of children and adolescents as they grow up. Michael’s first warning sign when working with children was the loneliness and isolation when the student reports s/he has no friends. Children need friends to be part of the social structure of their society. Real friends they can see, touch and hear in person to hang out with at school. They are constantly connected by mobile phone to social media. The more we are connected, the less face-to-face interaction is happening with people in our homes, schools and community. Children see everyone else supposedly has a better life than them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, fuelling the superficial need to be watching others.

This, I believe, is one of the signs evident in students hanging out in the library during their breaks. The teacher librarian is aware of who regularly spends their time alone and lonely. Perhaps this is the time to report to the guidance officer at your school. Finding and maintaining a real-life supportive friendship group has a positive effect on the mental health of children.

Last updated: 11/21/2017 5:05:12 PM