Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

by Meg Meeker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345513694
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/19/2009
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 184,866
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

MEG MEEKER, M.D., has spent more than twenty years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine. The author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, she is a popular speaker on teen issues and is frequently heard on nationally syndicated radio and television programs. She lives in northern Michigan with her husband and four children.

Read an Excerpt


 The Seven Secrets to Raising Healthy Boys

I THINK OF THIS BOOK AS sort of The Dangerous Book for Parents. The bestselling The Dangerous Book for Boys was full of fun information and projects that boys love but that too many of us have tried to deny them. Tree houses? Too dangerous. The boys might fall and break their arms. Insects and spiders? Yuck. And you want to teach them about hunting, how to make a bow and arrow, and great battles of history? Are you crazy? Actually, these are all things boys like, and there is no harm in them. As a pediatrician, I’ve seen plenty of boys with broken arms, spider bites, or who have scraped a knee playing soldier in the woods. But these are just part of growing up. Too many of us parents obsess about healthy diversions that active boys like to do, while not recognizing what is truly dangerous for our boys—like popular music, television, and video games that deaden their sensibilities, shut them off from real human interaction, impede the process of maturation, prevent them from burning up energy in useful outdoor exercise, divorce them from parents, and lower their expectations of life. 

In this book I mean to cut through a lot of the misapprehensions, misinformation, and misleading assumptions that too many parents have. It’s a book of practical advice based on my clinical experience, relevant scientific data, and the sort of common sense that too many of us managed to misplace from reading too many politically correct “parenting” books. My concern is not with what is politically correct, but with what is true and what is best for our boys. I’ve seen, and I’ve learned, that when it comes to raising sons, what is politically correct and what is true are often at opposite ends of the spectrum. I think it’s time we put our sons first. 

In this book you will learn how to raise healthy and happy boys—boys who are honest, courageous, humble, meek (in the sense of willingly withholding their power), and kind. There are secrets to raising such boys. Among these secrets are the big seven. I can mention them in passing here, but we’ll look at what they mean and how to use them in the chapters that follow. 

■ Know how to encourage your son. One fault is babying and spoiling him. But another is being so harsh that you lose communication with your son and destroy his sense of selfworth. We’ll look at how to strike the right balance. 

■ Understand what your boys need. Guess what? It’s not another computer game; it’s you. We’ll look at how to get the most of your time with your son. 

■ Recognize that boys were made for the outdoors. Boys love being outside. A healthy boy needs that sense of adventure— and the reality check that the outdoors gives him. 

■ Remember that boys need rules. Boys instinctively have a boy code. If you don’t set rules, however, they feel lost. 

■ Acknowledge that virtue is not just for girls. Boys should, indeed, be boys—but boys who drink, take drugs, and have sex outside of marriage aren’t “normal” teenagers, they have been abnormally socialized by our unfortunately toxic culture. Today, my practice as a pediatrician has to deal with an epidemic of serious, even life-threatening, problems—physical and psychological—that were of comparatively minor concern only forty years ago. A healthy boy strives after virtues like integrity and self-control. In fact, it is virtues like these that make a boy’s transition to manhood possible. 

They are necessary virtues, and he needs your help to acquire them. I’ll show you how. 

■ Learn how to teach your son about the big questions in life. Many parents shy away from this, either because they are uncomfortable with these questions themselves, or want to dismiss them as unimportant or even pernicious, or because they don’t want to “impose” their views on their children. But whatever one’s personal view, your son wants to know— and needs to know—why he’s here, what his purpose in life is, why he is important. Boys who don’t have a wellgrounded understanding on these big questions are the most vulnerable to being led astray into self-destructive behaviors. 

■ Remember, always, that the most important person in your son’s life is you. 

Being a parent can often seem a daunting task. But I’m here to tell you that almost every parent has what it takes to raise healthy sons. You have the intuition, the heart, and, yes, the responsibility to change the life of your son for the better. This book is a step toward showing you how.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Seven Secrets to Raising Healthy Boys 1

Chapter One Boyhood under Siege 5

Chapter Two Bucking Peer Pressure 19

Chapter Three Bullfrogs and Race Cars 29

Chapter Four Electronic Matters 51

Chapter Five Does Testosterone Drive Cars? 75

Chapter Six Encouragement, Mastery, and Competition 87

Chapter Seven A Mother's Son 105

Chapter Eight The Difference a Dad Makes 145

Chapter Nine The Forgotten Step from Boyhood to Manhood 165

Chapter Ten The God Factor 183

Chapter Eleven How Then Shall we Teach Them to Live? 203

Chapter Twelve Ten Tips for Making Sure You Get It Right 225

Bibliography 249

Special Thanks 265

Notes 267

Index 275

What People are Saying About This

Neil Bernstein

"Dr. Meg Meeker issues a call to arms for anyone concerned about the character and healthy development of boys. Filled with inspirational vignettes and a stern warning against overexposure to a toxic pop culture, Boys Should Be Boys empowers parents to stay involved and protect their sons' innocence. It's a wonderfully written and eye-opening book-a must read."--(Neil Bernstein, Ph.D., author of There When He Needs You: How to Be an Available, Involved, and Emotionally Connected Father to Your Son)

Michael Medved

"Meg Meeker's new book, Boys Should Be Boys, once again demonstrates that the most important element in wisdom is common sense. Dr. Meeker provides insight, information and, ultimately, inspiration."--(Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk radio host)

Dr. Thomas Lickona

"I wore out my yellow marker highlighting the nuggets of wisdom in Meg Meeker's book. Begin with the concluding chapter on 'Ten Tips for Making Sure You Get It Right,' and you'll find yourself immediately thinking about how to put these gems into practice with your own sons (and daughters!). As a father, grandfather, and character educator, I loved this book for all that it teaches us about how much we matter in the lives of our children."--(Dr. Thomas Lickona, author of Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues)

From the Publisher

“If you want to raise a boy you’ll be proud of, read Boys Should Be Boys.”—Dave Ramsey

“Filled with inspirational vignettes, Boys Should Be Boys empowers parents to stay involved and protect their sons’ innocence. It’s a wonderfully written and eye-opening book–a must-read.”—Neil Bernstein, Ph.D., author of There When He Needs You

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Boys Should Be Boys 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful! Meg is a great author. I love all of her books. Great advice for raising my sons. Loved it!
1000_Character_Reviews More than 1 year ago
As a new father, I'm looking for ways to make sure that my son grows up to be a well-adjusted, confident, charitable and responsible (if he's still living with me when he's in his thirties I will have failed as a parent) man. Dr. Meeker's book "Boys Should Be Boys" is a great overview of how to accomplish just that. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, stories and principles based on her decades-long career as a pediatrician, it provides a great framework for raising boys. Meeker does a great job of addressing the unique needs of boys and how to avoid stifling their development (allowing them to embrace being a man) while establishing healthy boundaries. The primary thesis of the book seems to be that the most important requirements for raising healthy sons are just spending time with them (does not mean stressing them out with structured activities) and making sure that you are the primary influence in your son's life. A bit too preachy, but required reading if you are raising sons.
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I picked this up on a whim and made it about three chapters in before I put it in the yard sale box. I like the concept, but this particular book is more fluff, platitudes, and proselytizing than I can handle. While the writer had a nice converstational style, she lacked depth. It reminded me of my grandmother reminiscing about the good old days. I was also put off that the only "fact" presented was that religion makes boys better in every way, a notion with which I disagree on multiple levels. In short, if you want affirmation and colorful anecdotes, this is the book for you. If you want a book writen by an expert and based on research, look elsewhere.