Dr Jim Garbarino has just released the title and abstract of his keynote presentation for the 2013 HFCC:
The Challenge of Parenting in a Socially Toxic Environment
James Garbarino, PhD
Loyola University Chicago
Social toxicity refers to the extent to which the social environment in which families develop and operate is poisonous, in the sense that it contains serious threats to the development of identity, competence, moral reasoning, trust, hope, and the other features of personality and ideology that make for success in school, family, work, and the community. Like physical toxicity, it can be fatal– in the forms of suicide, homicide, drug-related and other life style-related preventable deaths. But mostly it results in diminished “humanity” in the lives of children and youth by virtue of leading them to live in a state of degradation, whether they know it or not.
What are the social and cultural poisons that are psychologically equivalent to lead and smoke in the air, PCB’s in the water, and pesticides in the food chain? We can see social toxicity in the values, practices, and institutions that breed feelings of fear about the world, feelings of rejection by adults inside and outside the family, exposure to traumatic images and experiences, absence of adult supervision, and inadequate exposure to positive adult role models. These feelings and experiences arise from being embedded in a shallow materialist culture, being surrounded with negative and degrading media messages, and being deprived of relationships with sources of character in the school, the neighborhood, and the larger community. This presentation focuses on how parents can respond successfully to these challenges