Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bookshelf, Library Bag, or Donation Box


In Raising Cain:Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, child psychologists Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson discuss the emotional education of boys. Through case studies, many facts and citations, this book suggests that schools, parents, and society overall do not foster the emotional growth of boys which causes long lasting issues such as anger, aggression, or depression. They describe a society that expects both too much and too little of boys. For instance, their actions are dismissed too easily by parents and teachers as "Well, that's just boys being boys." On the other hand, boys are held to the impossible and unfair standards of masculinity in which they are not allowed to express emotional vulnerability such as sadness or hurt.

I agree with the concept that there is a lack of emotional development for children in society, but not just with boys. There are many parents who do not foster their children's emotional growth and development, be it sons or daughters. There is often a greater value placed on academic achievement over emotional development. Some parents, for example, may care that the child reads for 45 minutes a night or does exceptionally well at school. However, what they miss is the fact that school does not teach the child how to manage his or her emotions, and this is where all parents must become teachers. 

The book does not give the reader specific instructions. Instead of being a "how to" book, I found it to be more conceptual in nature. It is more of an eye opener to the way society acts and reacts to boys and shows how we must rise above cultural stereotypes for the sake of our children. I think if the readers understand the message, they will in fact be better equipped to understand boys and help them to become emotionally stable men. 


Bookshelf: In conclusion, I recommend if you are a parent of a boy or a teacher, that you keep this on your bookshelf. Kindlon and Thompson go through the different stages of a boy's life and the different emotions they can experience and how you can best support them. I do think if you are looking into this book to begin with, you must already be a pretty good parent or teacher and this can only enhance your relationship with that special boy in your life. For further reading about parenting and managing your child's emotions, I would recommend What Do You Really Want For Your Children? by Dr. Wayne Dyer.  

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