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If you’re parenting or teaching boys, you need every advantage you can get. The more you know about the way boys think, develop and experience the world, the better you’ll be able to assist and understand them. Here are 6 must-read books to help build your knowledge base:
The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens
This book was one of the first I read about boys. To say it was life-changing is almost an understatement. This book helped me understand why my sons did some of the seemingly-crazy things they did. Even more importantly, this book placed my boys and their issues in context; this was the book that taught me about boys’ struggles in school. Includes helpful suggestions you can begin implementing immediately.
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David S. Thomas
Trying to contain a young boy’s energy is like trying to stuff a hurricane in a bottle. And yet, that’s exactly what society wants us to do — or so it seems when we’re getting the stink-eye from others as our sons shimmy up tall trees and jump off retaining walls. This book will help you accept your son’s innate nature, and show you how to teach him social skills and nurture his talents without squelching his enthusiasm for life.
The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger by Kate Stone Lombardi
Throughout history, mothers have been encouraged to push their sons away, to turn them over to the men of the community so the adult males can shape and mold the boys into strong men. The underlying fear is that mothers will somehow make their sons “weak” and “soft” by sheltering them from the storms of life and providing immediate and constant comfort. Well, author (and mother) Kate Stone Lombardi blows that idea out of the water. In this book, you’ll learn how mothers help build their sons’ all-important socioemotional regulation skills.
If you have a tween or teenage son and have not yet read this book, grab a copy NOW. We can’t effectively guide our sons through adolescence if we don’t understand the challenges they face and the way they think, and that’s exactly what this book provides — a peek into the adolescent male’s life and mind, as well as a ton of concrete tips you can use to enhance your communication and discipline. (Click here to read BuildingBoys’ interview with the author!)
The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Don’t Play Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood by Janet Sasson Edgette
Sports are a BIG part of boy-world — and that’s a problem for boys who aren’t particularly athletic or don’t care for sports. This book will help you better understand the pressures your son faces in the world, and show you how you can keep his spirit intact and nurture his unique interests and talents. A definite must-read for parents of non-sporty boys, as well as teachers and coaches. (You can read a BuildingBoys post by author Janet Sasson Edgette here.)
This book is aimed at educators, but it’s a good-read for parents as well. It helped me see the difference between “boy-friendly” and “boy unfriendly” classrooms and schools; that knowledge comes in handy when you’re looking for a school for your son! Both parents and educators can use it as something of a guidebook: this book will show you how to create schools and lessons that allow boys to thrive. (Author Kelley King talked to BuildingBoys in 2013. Watch the video here.)