From the New York Times bestselling co-author of Raising Cain, It’s a Boy! is the first major parenting book to chart every stage of a boy’s life. This upbeat, authoritative, and reassuring guide–written by psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a leading international expert on boys’ development, and journalist Teresa H. Barker–shows how a boy’s inner life progresses through infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
What do boys actually need? How exactly does a healthy boy look and act? It’s a Boy! has the answers, providing expert advice on the developmental, psychological, social, and academic life of boys from infancy through the teen years. Exploring the many ways in which boys strive for masculinity and attempt to define themselves, Dr. Thompson identifies the key developmental transitions that mark a boy’s psychological growth and emotional health, and the challenges both boys and parents face at each age.
• Expecting a Boy: how our deeply held hopes, fears, and family histories shape our expectations of boys and our parenting techniques
• Baby Boys (birth to 18 months): falling in love with your son, healthy attachment, trust, and temperament
• Toddler Years (18 months to 3 years): boys on the go, bold steps, blankies, budding language, and rambunctious physicality
• Powerful Little Boys (ages 3 and 4): superhero ambitions, penis play and potty talk, learning to manage the force of his anger, and celebrating the power of the boy group
• Starting School (ages 5 through 7): developmental cues for school readiness, transitional challenges, girl cooties and boys-only play, tough talk, tender hearts, and first friends
• Boys on a Mission (ages 8 through 10): striving for mastery in sports, screen games, and boy society, organizing the boy brain for school success, and glaring academic gender gaps
• The Preteen (ages 11 through 13): puberty, posturing and popularity, the culture of cruelty, hidden sensitivity, and stoic silence in the middle school years
• Early High School (ages 14 and 15): the secret life of boys, powerful peer groups, sexuality, school strategies, the shift away from Mom (she knows too much), and yearning for Dad’s respect and attention
• On the Brink of Manhood (ages 16 through 18): the quest for independence, sex, love, driving, drinking, and other choices and challenges of life
Practical, insightful, wonderfully engaging, and filled with instructive true stories any parent of a son will recognize, It’s a Boy! is the definitive guide to raising boys in today’s world, revealing with humor, compassion, and joy all the infinite varieties of boys and the deep and profound ways in which we love them.
Addressing recent troubling studies about boys in the U.S. authors Thompson and Barker (Raising Cain; Speaking of Boys) underscore the developmental differences between girls and boys that often compel boys to underachieve in school and embrace destructive behavior. The authors aim to rectify a sense of parental loss of trust in boys development by advocating early unconditional love, strong maternal attachment, restraint of corporal punishment and sexist stereotyping, strong father participation and safe places where boys can engage in undirected, outside play. The trend toward earlier academic performance in school does not suit boys development, as they tend to learn language and reading slower than girls, hear less well and fidget. Educators and psychologists share their opinions, all in the spirit of embracing boys unique energy and intellect. Ages 11 to 13 bring startling changes, which the authors examine under the five tasks of adolescence, while ages 14 to 15 invite a mysterious inner life, and ages 16 to 18 present challenges regarding independence, sexuality and responsibility. In this upbeat guide, Thompson especially relies on his good-sense experience as a father and educator to remind parents not to criticize behavior that is typical for boys.