Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men by Steve Biddulph, A Review ★★

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I am participating in the Parenting Books Challenge hosted by Julie over at Books Are Portable Magic. You can see more on my progress HERE on my blog.

Book Description

A revised edition of the bestselling and practical guide to the issues parents face in raising sons--including sex, violence, homework, sports, the Internet, and more--and how to best aid boys' development from birth to manhood.

Raising a happy, loving, responsible boy in today’s world can be challenging. In this third edition of his international best seller, Steve Biddulph looks at the most important issues in a boy’s development from birth to manhood. With gentle humor and proven wisdom backed by decades as a family psychologist and father, he shows parents how to provide the firm, loving guidance that boys need. Updates include information on mitigating the dangerous effects of online pornography, male specific hearing problems, and teen driving on boys. Biddulph also discusses:
• The three stages of boyhood, and how to help them go smoothly.
• Testosterone! How it changes behavior and what to do about it.
• How boys’ brain development differs from girls’.
• How to help boys cultivate a caring attitude toward sex.
• The impact of competitive sports on boys, and how to ensure it stays positive.
• Questions to assist in finding boy-friendly schools.


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

As I started this book I really liked it and it had a much higher star rating; close to the end, it took a twist that I wasn't expecting and lost stars. I am only giving it two stars because while I don't like the book and wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends, I do feel like the author had some valid points and insights.  

What I agreed with: 
The author maintains that there are three stages of a boys/young mans life and that their needs are met by different people during those times. I thought this made sense - it is certainly something that I see in my son as he is in primary school and I notice that he is gravitating more and more to his father rather than me. Pretty tough for this mommy to handle, but I know it is needed. I also think it is smart that teen boys have other adults to play positive roles in their lives as they move towards adulthood more. 

There were other specific parts of boyhood that I agreed with. However, What I couldn't agree with:

The author spends a good deal of time addressing the sexuality of boys. This certainly needs to be addressed and there were a few - very small bits - that made some sense to me as a women (who can't fully grasp the male mind or body). I was hoping that there would be some real clarity and examples of how to talk about this topic with my son. 
What I couldn't believe was when the author suggested that as parents, we should make sure that our sons have quality porn/erotica. 
This was especially confusing because the author spent a good bit of time explaining how pornography is damaging to boys as they become men (which I completely agree with). He also made references that adults should be steering young men into how to interact with women along with how to treat them. 
And pornography in no way honors women.

I was disappointed that the author took the approach he did regarding developing sexuality of boys. I had hoped that it would be a moral - yes, Christian-based - approach. However, I found nothing faith-based in this book at all.  That being said, let me add that while I didn't agree with everything Biddulph proposed, it certainly made me think about what I want for my son as he matures and how I would assist in making that happen. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

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