Have you seen the study which came out recently showing that “cool” kids do not do well later in life? I have seen it in a couple of places. You can read a summary here. This seems to me to be one of those “well, duh” studies. The kids they deemed cool: had more attractive friends, were dating early, and disobeyed authority more including stealing, damaging property and using drugs. It’s hard to believe such qualities would not pay off later in life, huh? It’s like no one involved ever read the book of Proverbs. These are clearly not rewarded behaviors long-term but I guess this is news now.
I think the real question we should be asking is why these qualities are what makes one cool or popular as a middle schooler (which is when they first looked at these kids). I suspect these students are a minority of the their population (it wouldn’t be much good is too many kids were popular anyway) so why don’t all the rest stand up and just say “No, this is not cool. We won’t define it this way anymore.” I know, middle schoolers will never do such things. But I am really glad my kids are not in that fish-bowl culture which teaches them that vanity, early sexuality and disrespect are the prime values.