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Raising a happy, loving, responsible boy in today’s world can be challenging. In this third edition of his international best seller, Steve Biddulph looks at the most important issues in a boy’s development from birth to manhood. With gentle humor and ...
Raising a happy, loving, responsible boy in today’s world can be challenging. In this third edition of his international best seller, Steve Biddulph looks at the most important issues in a boy’s development from birth to manhood. With gentle humor and proven wisdom backed by decades as a family psychologist and father, he shows parents how to provide the firm, loving guidance that boys need. Updates include information on mitigating the dangerous effects of online pornography, male specific hearing problems, and teen driving on boys. Biddulph also discusses:
• The three stages of boyhood, and how to help them go smoothly.
• Testosterone! How it changes behavior and what to do about it.
• How boys’ brain development differs from girls’.
• How to help boys cultivate a caring attitude toward sex.
• The impact of competitive sports on boys, and how to ensure it stays positive.
• Questions to assist in finding boy-friendly schools.
Here are the stages at a glance:
1. The first stage of boyhood is from birth to six—the span of time when the boy primarily belongs to his mother. He is “her” boy, even though his father may play a very big role, too. The aim at this age is to give strong love and security, and to “switch a boy on” to life as a warm and welcoming experience.
2. The second stage includes the years from six to fourteen—when the boy, out of his own internal drives, starts wanting to learn to be a man, and looks more and more to his father for interest and activity. (Though his mother remains very involved, and the wider world is beckoning, too.) The purpose of this stage is to build competence and skill while developing kindness and playfulness, too—becoming a balanced person. This is the age when a boy becomes happy and secure about being male.
3. Finally, the years from fourteen to adult—when the boy needs input from male mentors if he is to complete the journey into being fully grown up. Mom and Dad step back a little, but they must organize some good mentors in their son’s life or he will have to rely on an ill-equipped peer group for his sense of self. The aim is for your son to learn skills, responsibility, and self-respect by joining more and more with the adult community.
Please note: These stages do not indicate a sudden or sharp shift from one parent to another.
It’s not like there’s the mom stage, then the dad stage, and then the mentor stage. For instance, an involved dad can do a huge amount from birth onward, or even take the role a mother usually has if need be. And a mother doesn’t quit when a boy reaches six. Quite the opposite. The stages indicate a shift of emphasis: that the father comes to the fore more from six through fourteen, and the importance of mentors increases from fourteen onward. In a sense, it’s about adding on the new ingredients at each stage.
The three stages help us know what to do. For example, it’s clear that fathers of boys from six to fourteen must not be busy workaholics or absent themselves emotionally or physically from the family. If they do, this will certainly damage their boys. (Yet most fathers of the twentieth century did just that—as many of us remember from our own childhoods.)
The stages tell us that we need to bring in extra help from the community when our sons are in their mid-teens—the role that family members (uncles and grandfathers) or the tradesman-apprentice relationship used to take. Too often, teenagers move outward into the big world but no one is there to catch them, and they spend their teens and early adulthood in a dangerous halfway stage with only peers to depend on.
It’s probable that many problems with boys’ behavior—poor school motivation, depression, and getting into strife with the law (drunk driving, fighting, crime, and so on)—develop because we haven’t known about these stages and haven’t provided the right human ingredients at the right times. The stages are so important that we must look at them in more detail and decide how to respond. That’s what we’ll do now.
Chapter one: What Is It with Boys?
Chapter two: The Three Stages of Boyhood
Chapter three: Testosterone!
Chapter four: How Boys’ and Girls’ Brains Differ
Chapter five: What Dads Can Do
Chapter six: Mothers and Sons
Chapter seven: Developing a Healthy Sexuality
Chapter eight: A Revolution in Schooling
Chapter nine: Boys and Sports
Chapter ten: A Community Challenge
Appendix A: Practical Notes on ADHD in Boys
Appendix B: How to Tell Whether a School
Is a Good One for Boys
Posted May 28, 2014
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.
As I started this book I really liked it and it had a much higher star rating; close to the end, it took a twist that I wasn't expecting and lost stars. I am only giving it two stars because while I don't like the book and wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends, I do feel like the author had some valid points and insights.
What I agreed with:
The author maintains that there are three stages of a boys/young mans life and that their needs are met by different people during those times. I thought this made sense - it is certainly something that I see in my son as he is in primary school and I notice that he is gravitating more and more to his father rather than me. Pretty tough for this mommy to handle, but I know it is needed. I also think it is smart that teen boys have other adults to play positive roles in their lives as they move towards adulthood more.
There were other specific parts of boyhood that I agreed with. However, What I couldn't agree with:
The author spends a good deal of time addressing the sexuality of boys. This certainly needs to be addressed and there were a few - very small bits - that made some sense to me as a women (who can't fully grasp the male mind or body). I was hoping that there would be some real clarity and examples of how to talk about this topic with my son.
I was disappointed that the author took the approach he did regarding developing sexuality of boys. I had hoped that it would be a moral - yes, Christian-based - approach. However, I found nothing faith-based in this book at all. That being said, let me add that while I didn't agree with everything Biddulph proposed, it certainly made me think about what I want for my son as he matures and how I would assist in making that happen.