Bringing Up Boys
Title: Bringing Up Boys
Author: James Dobson
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
First Published: 2001
Reviewer: E Charles
Dr Dobson, a leading American child psychologist lays out the role of parents on bringing up boys in this way:
“Their assignment during two brief decades will be to transform their boys from immature and flighty youngsters into honest, caring men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in marriage, keepers of commitments, strong and decisive leaders, good workers, and secure in their masculinity.”
This is an objective that few parents would disagree with. But how do we achieve it?
The key lies in the need to understand and respect that boys in general are fundamentally different from girls. Dr Dobson draws attention to this gender difference and what it entails. Boys act the way they do (unlike girls) because of the different way they think about risky behavior. Girls tend to think hard about whether or not they could get hurt, and they are less likely to plunge ahead if there is any potential for injury. Boys, however, will take a chance if they think the danger is worth the risk. Impressing their friends (and eventually girls) is usually considered worth the risk.
In typical uncompromising fashion, Dr Dobson informs parents to accept this fact that “boys are like this because of the way they are wired neurologically and because of the influence of hormones that stimulate certain aggressive behaviour.”
However, Dr Dobson sees the confusion of the role of men in society today to make it ever more challenging for parents and teachers, putting them at a loss about how to bring up boys. He believes that prevailing culture has vilified masculinity…with the result boys are suffering.
This is compounded by the disengagement of parents in our fast-paced and dizzying world through divorce and career demands."
Boys "typically suffer more" from parental neglect and mistreatment than girls "because boys are more likely to get off course when they are not guided and supervised carefully."
In the book, he devotes whole chapters to the importance of healthy father-son and mother-son relationships, the special challenges facing single mothers, and the value of good relationships between children and grandparents.
A culmination of four years of painstaking research, and written in his frank and authoritative manner, it is an advice-packed, sobering but encouraging reference for the parents of boys.