Value Packed Guides

Building Boys Books

Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World that Misunderstands Males

By Jennifer L.W. Fink, Building Boys founder

Raising boys is important work.

We’ve all seen the horror a damaged boy can inflict upon society. So today’s parents are attempting to raise kind, compassionate, emotionally sensitive boys – in a society that misunderstands male development and proclaims The Future is Female.

Misconceptions about masculinity and male development hinder parents and harm boys.

Author Jennifer L.W. Fink, a mom of four sons, didn’t initially realize that parenting boys is very different than parenting girls or non-binary children. She thought you could parent a Child, irrespective of gender. She eventually realized that overlooking a child’s gender is as unhelpful as ignoring a child’s race because gender, like race, impacts an individual’s experience of the world.

Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World that Misunderstand Males shows parents how to raise confident, secure boys in an era of evolving gender norms.

Drawing on her two-plus decades of experience as a “boy mom,” Fink points out possible pitfalls (like academic expectations that are wildly out-of-sync with male development) and teaches parents how to help boys thrive despite lingering sexism and a lack of societal support.

Building Boys Awards


An image of the Silver Winner award

Judges' Comments -

A needed, well-researched book for parents about raising boys in this rapidly changing environment. The author points out that girls have now been told they can be anything they want (perhaps overly optimistically) while boys have largely been left to supporting roles and not given many options. Should they be kind? Strong? Focused on science? Sports? Or are there other options available to them? How is a parent to walk the line between over-parenting and letting them spread their wings? What do we tell boys about consent? Relationships? School? Goals?
NonFiction Book Awards Judge
New parents and those with early school-age children of all genders would find this discussion helpful...Well worth a read.
NonFiction Book Awards Judge

Silver Winner

An image of the Silver Winner award
The book is written in easily accessible and flowing language that could be read by the most frustrated parent. There is an extensive bibliography for those that want to know more, and even an index, which was delightful. As a parent of boys and a non-binary child myself, I found much of the advice things I coulda/shoulda/wished I had known about earlier on. I found myself revisiting interactions with my now-grown sons and trying to evaluate if I'd met Fink's suggestions.
NonFiction Book Awards Judge
This book should be mandatory reading for all adults.
NonFiction Book Awards Judge

Endorsements for Building Boys

"Jennifer Fink is a tireless advocate for boys, with four boys of her own. In Building Boys she distills the research into 10 simple rules any parent can use to guide their sons' development. Not only do her guidelines and analysis fit the newest research on boys, they also fit common sense--which is something that parents today find immensely important. I highly recommend this book to anyone raising boys."
Michael Gurian
New York Times Bestselling Author of "The Wonder of Boys" and "Saving Our Sons"
“With humor and vulnerability, Jen shares real life in-the-trenches boy-mom stories while highlighting the latest research and how it applies to your family. Most importantly, she shares the practical advice you need to understand, love, and raise your son…to be a great guy!"
Janet Allison
Founder of Boys Alive! and Co-Host of ON BOYS Parenting Podcast
"It is routine to identify and discuss how gender norms can be harmful for girls. But we don't often elaborate on how gender norms can be harmful for boys, too. And we definitely don't often discuss how to counter those harmful gender norms to raise wonderful, decent, loving boys. This is why Building Boys is such an important book..."
Kate Mangino
author of "Equal Partners: Improving Gender Equality at Home"
"In Building Boys, Jennifer L.W. Fink provides wisdom, science and reassurance for parents as we navigate the rewarding (and at times messy) process of raising our sons. Fink, who has four boys, takes on the stereotypes, distills the research, and offers practical guidance. Reading this book is like having an experienced friend on speed dial."
Lisa L. Lewis
MS, author of "The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, And How Parents And Schools Can Help Them Thrive"
"Building Boys starts with a critical acknowledgment - that boys confront a world of stereotypes - and offers a roadmap for parents wanting to help them hold onto their true selves. At a time when masculinity itself is weaponized, it is refreshing to hear from a savvy mother who simply wants all our sons to flourish."
Michael C. Reichert
Ph.D., author of "How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men", & Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Boys' and Girls' Lives at the University of Pennsylvania
"This is not a culture wars book about which gender has it hardest, or whether there are genders at all. It's a practical, hopeful, bracing guidebook to raising boys who are kind and strong and good men in the making. Amen to that!"
Lenore Skenazy
President of Let Grow, author of "Free-Range Kids"
“Jennifer does a brilliant--and more important, empathetic – job of integrating her own experience raising sons with data from the world’s best scholars. A must read for every parent and educator.
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
Author, The Boy Crisis
“I love this book! As a woman who grew up in a house full of females, I so often was (and still am!) unsure of how to raise a son. As Fink points out, us moms know we want to raise “good guys,” but we don’t really know how. Building Boys provides so many answers. Evidence-based, entertaining, and easy to read, this book will help parents, educators, coaches, and others invested in the well-being of boys to not only raise good guys, but guys who are emotionally intelligent, capable of forming salubrious relationships, and mentally and physically healthy.”
Dr. Charlotte Markey
prof of psychology at Rutgers Univ & author of "Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys and The Body Image Book for Girls"
“In BUILDING BOYS, Jennifer Fink combines research, insight and her own considerable experience in raising four sons to create a clear, helpful guide on how to raise boys to become good men. This book is more important than ever as society continues to challenge our sons with new and constantly evolving expectations.”
Kate Stone Lombardi
Author - “The MAMA’S BOY MYTH: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger"
“With Building Boys, Jennifer shares her unique perspective as both a longtime journalist on boys’ development, and a mom of four nearly-grown boys who has seen it all firsthand. The result is an extensive compilation of research grounded unwaveringly in the stories of boys and their parents—a touchstone for building boys’ best selves.”
Jonathon Reed
“Jennifer Fink’s book is an exceptionally valuable contribution to the growing field of literature about raising boys to become the excellent friends, partners, brothers, sons, husbands and fathers they can be when their upbringing isn’t compromised by misleading cultural narratives about gender that set the behavioral and emotional bar lower for males than necessary. Parents will appreciate the practical guidance applicable to the different developmental periods of boys’ lives, as well as to the shaping of enduring and emotionally rich relationships between parents and their sons.”
Janet Sasson Edgette
Psy.D., Child & Adolescent Psychologist and author of "The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Don’t Play Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood"
“As a school counselor, therapist, and mother of two sons, I kept saying “YES” out loud as I read “Building Boys.” Author Jennifer Fink has devoted her entire adult life to raising, writing, and podcasting about boys, and it shows. Her trademark humor and vulnerability come through on every page of this entertaining, practical, exhaustively researched guide to turning out confident, kind boys in a world that often misunderstands them. Whether you're a caregiver, therapist, or educator who works with boys, this book is an absolutely indispensable guide."
Phyllis Fagell
school counselor, licensed therapist, and author of "MIDDLE SCHOOL MATTERS and MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPERPOWERS"

Reader Reviews for Building Boys

"I came away from the read feeling more relaxed...Connection is KEY and Fink knows this and reminds us in a highly conversational and casual way, like a friend over coffee. (or maybe a glass of wine)."
“For those who think there is not an instruction manual for raising boys, think again!”

The Library Journal Review -

Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World that Misunderstands Males

by Jennifer L.W. Fink

Rowman & Littlefield. Apr. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781538159552. $26. CHILD REARING

“Building Boys” has been selected as one of the top 20 bestselling books on parenting in 2023, according to the Library Journal.

Fink (The First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys) believes the world often paints masculinity in a negative light. As a result, she wants society to help boys navigate evolving gender norms. Readers are guided through how to emphasize boys’ emotional intelligence, help them find unique talents, challenge them with chores, teach them how to be compassionate and empathetic, and more. The book examines why more boys are diagnosed with both autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. In addition, there’s mention of many stereotypes, including that girls are weaker in general and that boys are tougher emotionally. The book includes data and statistics that indicate that those who are taught to hide their feelings end up with a variety of struggles during the teen years and beyond. The book also addresses the specific challenges faced by teens who just want to be accepted, regardless of gender identity and expression.

VERDICT A title filled with ideas that are sure to be helpful for parents of sons.

Reviewed by Julia M. Reffner , Feb 01, 2023

The First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys: Practice Advice for Your Son’s Formative Years

By Jennifer L.W. Fink, Building Boys founder

Raise a kind and confident son with this advice for parenting boys ages 8 to 12.

Parenting a young boy can feel like total chaos, especially if he’s your first. His mind and body are changing, and so is his relationship with you. How do you handle puberty? His schoolwork? Health and hygiene? Don’t worry, The First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys will walk you through all of it with clear and proven advice. 

This is your complete resource for raising boys:

  • Tackling the tough stuff―Address important issues like puberty, sex, consent, and mental health, with advice for initiating crucial conversations.
  • For modern families―Explore advice that works for families of all types, plus tips for raising boys in the ever-expanding digital worlds of YouTube, Twitch, and more.
  • Moments of reflection―Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions that encourage you to think about your hopes and fears as a parent, and identify your values and priorities.

Reader Reviews for First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys

“So full of great information, delivered like a friend sharing their experience, strength and hope over coffee at my kitchen table!”
“A fantastic, concise book that I wish was required reading for all Moms.”
Building Boys

You can purchase the newest book from Building Boys at the following websites: