It has been acceptable for a good few years now, thankfully, to say that boys and girls are different and so we are able to look at boys issues with their masculinity and approach to manhood.
‘Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys’ by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson explores the emotional issues surrounding boy’s journey into manhood.
Their experience in over 30 years as psychiatrists and counsellors in both boys and mixed schools, provides an insight into how boys can grow to be happy successful men or fall by the wayside.
Many emotional issues are explored in this book. School is hard on young boys. It is well documented these days that boys mature earlier than girls, and many people believe that boys are not ready to start school until a year after a girl. The difficulties a boy may find in sitting still enough in his first year at school can affect his attitude to education for the rest of his life.
The peer pressure to take part in teasing and bullying and the cost of being the victim of this bullying are common reasons for boys being referred for counselling to the authors. They help the boys deal with the emotions they feel and learn to express them, as so many are unable to express them, having been brought up to believe that it is not ‘manly’ to discuss emotion.
This is also addressed by looking at both the relationships with the father and the mother, both of which can affect a boy’s self esteem and ability to deal with the emotions he will experience while growing up.
Kindlon and Thompson have also had extensive experience of identifying when a boy’s problems are due to depression, drink or drugs. There is advice on how to deal with these scenarios with a boy.
Finally they discuss the effect that love romance and sex can have on the powerful combination of adolescent feelings and how to bring boys up to treat women with respect and love
This book offers guidance for both parents and teachers of boys on how to talk to boys, accept their natural tendencies towards higher activity levels than girls and how to guide them away from the macho culture that so many grow up with. ‘Raising Cain’ gives an insight into the psyche of boys both in a family and at school and shows how to help them grow through adolescence and into a man who can handle his emotions.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.