My reading list often mirrors seasons in motherhood for me. Lately, my son has moved further through tween-ager and closer to teenager. I have so many questions, new worries, and a desire to be better at walking with him through these next phases. Mothering my little boy was so easy – he was an affectionate, responsive, kind little guy. And he still is, in many so ways! But the natural pulling away from me (so hard for my mama heart!!) and the changes he is going to experience are new territory.
Are Boys Getting Lost in the Shuffle?
And then there are the times we live in today. If you have a son, you may have thought about these things too: the “Me too” movement, plummeting rates of boys attending college, school shootings, skyrocketing rates of boys’ suicide, and all kinds of statistics that make me wonder if our sons have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle while we have raced to address the many issues facing our daughters.
I also have a daughter, and I have found a plethora of books and resources for me (and for her!) on friendships, bullying, puberty, body image, peer pressure… and the list goes on and on. I find that support for her social, physical, and emotional growth is available to her in many places.
But what about my son?
Where are the books and magazines and programs for him about dealing with emotions like failure, loneliness and sadness? And friendships? Peer pressure? Social problems? Bullying? And I have found that the number of books on puberty and adolescence specifically just for boys is far less than the number available to girls. How do I help my son to be a socially, mentally, emotionally and physically healthy adult?
So I turn to the knowledge of what IS available as my comfort. The good news is that our boys are getting more and more attention focused on what they need to grow up healthy too. I have been reading and researching to gain some bearing on the new land I am entering, looking for new “north stars” that will guide my footsteps. I’ve never raised a boy into a healthy man before. Whew! Heady stuff. I have been binge reading books about raising boys, and thought that if you, dear reader, also are facing this season, we can find some great information together.
My Favorites So Far:
Wild Things – The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas.
- This is at the very top of my list. So encouraging for mothers and fathers alike, it delves into the ages and stages that boys go through from toddlerhood to adulthood. It also talks about their minds, bodies and hearts, and addresses what boys need to grow into healthy adults.
- While I have had so many resources about tween and teen girl friendships, this is the first book that I have read that talks specifically about the social-emotional dynamics of boys friendships. An effective peek into the social world of boys, it gave me a whole new perspective.
Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys by Michael Gurian.
- This book addresses the many challenges that boys face today, and discusses strategies to help them develop things like motivation and emotional intelligence.
What Stories Does My Son Need? A Guide to Books and Movies that Build Character in Boy by Michael Gurian.
- An excellent slim volume that lists 100 movies and 100 books (divided by age group) that you can watch or read with your son. The guide includes a brief description of each recommended book or film and follow up questions that can prompt a conversation with your son. A great resource!
The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It by Warren Farrell and John Gray
Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax.
- Both of these books address our current world and the effects on boys, and give an insight in what you can do to support your son to become a healthy adult. They cover myriad topics, and are excellent resources for understanding what our boys are facing today as they work their way towards adulthood.