You should read this book if you…

Are the parent of a boy raising them in today’s fast paced and postmodern society.

“In a nut shell”…

Dr. Dobson writes this book with the perspective that boys are in “serious trouble today” due to several different factors in today’s fast paced and postmodern society: the feminist movement, the breakdown of the family, absent and disengaged fathers, and the frantic pace of life that today’s society has fostered.

Key Ideas…

  • Today’s parents of boys are shaping the next generation of men.
  • Boys and girls are very different and as parents we should understand those differences in relation to boys. There are three physical and biological features and processes that operate from within that he focuses on.
    • Testosterone – a hormone that is largely responsible for producing “maleness”. This hormone washes over the brain 2 separate times (6-7 weeks after conception and at the beginning of puberty). This wash damages the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain causing boys to have a tendency to take risks, be more assertive, etc.
    • Serotonin – a hormone that carries information from one cell to another in order to soothe and pacify emotions and help individuals control impulsive behavior. Males have less of this hormone than females do.
    • The Amygdala – a portion of the brain that functions as an “emotional computer” – it regulates aggression and when it perceives a threat or challenge, it emits “irrational” chemical and electrical responses that can both save your life but also precipitate violence. The amaygdala is larger in males than females. This helps to explain why boys are more likely than girls to be volatile and engage with “at-risk” behavior.
  • Boys are “men-in-training” and their aggressive nature prepares them for the “provision and protection” roles to come.
  • Fathers are essential to the life of boys especially during particularly vulnerable periods in the boys life (puberty and just after 3-5 yrs. of age).
  • Our objective as parents is to “transform our sons from immature youngsters to honest, caring men, respectful of women, faithful in marriage, strong leaders and men secure in their masculinity.” Pg 245
  • As difficult as this objective may seem, Dr. Dobson encourages parents that this can be accomplished, with the wisdom and guidance from the ultimate Father, God.

Action Steps…

  • Boys have the same ability to ignore their moms (as their dads do) so reach out physically and touch your boys to get their attention and give your message in short bursts.
  • Help boys release their excess energy by getting them involved in activities where fighting, laughing, running, tumbling, and yelling are acceptable.
  • Protect family mealtimes; make them a priority.
  • Give boys guidance and boundaries – they need both.
  • Don’t let a harried life styles take over your family life, stay close.
  • Appreciate boys and be aware of the challenges they face.

Quotables…

  • “As these stories illustrate, one of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk life and limb for no good reason.” Pg 4
  • “Boys are in trouble today primarily because their parents, and especially their dads, are distracted, over worked, harassed, exhausted, disinterested, chemically dependent, divorced, or simply unable to cope.” Pg 55
  • “It is far easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Pg 60
  • “Your boys and girls need to see you doing what is right, even when it is inconvenient to do so.” Pg 70
  • “‘Letting go’ works best as a gradual process. It’s time to get started.” Pg 110
  • “Rules without relationships lead to rebellion.” Pg 217
  • “Children get their values and beliefs from what they see modeled at home.” Pg 252
  • “Cherish every moment and hug your kids while you can.” Pg 257
  • “The tendency is to retain control in order to keep your kids from making mistakes.  However, teenagers and young adults are more likely to make the proper choices when they aren’t forced to rebel in order to escape.  The simple truth is that love demands freedom.” Pg 265

Statistics and Interesting Facts…

  • Prison minister Bill Glass found that among thousands of prisoners not one of them genuinely loved his dad, and 95% of those on death row hated their fathers. In 1998, statistics showed that 98.6% of prisoners are male.
  • The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health research found in preventing harmful behavior: The presence of parents is very beneficial at four key times of the day – early morning, after school, dinnertime, and bedtime.
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education professor, Dr. Catherine Snow found that dinner time was of more value to child development than playtime, school, or story time.

Note: These are all American-based studies

How this has changed my parenting…

I have learned to let go and let my boys “be boys” and celebrate their differences!

Book Information:
Book Title | Bringing Up Boys
Author | Dr. James Dobson
Year of Publication |2001
Publisher | Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Pages | 257
Author’s Website | www.focusonthefamily.org

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