In The Outsiders, what do you think Randy meant when he told Ponyboy that Bob only wanted his parents or someone to tell him "No"?

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dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Bob was the spoiled child of extremely permissive parents.  Randy remembers a time when he came home "drunker than anything", but instead of getting mad at him his parents "took all the blame and didn't do anything to him...they thought it was their fault - that they'd driven him to do it or something".  For a child to be allowed to run wild like that, with no consequences for bad behavior is very frightening and unsettling; a child looks to adults to take control and set boundaries, "to give him something solid to stand on".  If a child does not receive this kind of support when he is young, it is not unusual for him to continue to seek it through his adolescent years and even to adulthood, through antisocial and even criminal acts.  According to Randy, Bob desperately wanted his parents to love him enough to set limits to his behavior.  He would go to great lengths in acting out, just "trying to make someone say 'No'" (Chapter 7).

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ik9744's profile pic

ik9744 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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All Bob wanted is his parents to say it was their fault or no to him but they always said yes or said it was their fault if something happens and he grew sick of it.

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