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Boys who don't play sports are often the targets of bullying, but a boy's worst bully may be the one he can't see: society's expectations about how he should act, how he should relate, and how he should play.
Overlooked by a society that reinforces impossible standards of "masculinity," boys who are uninterested in competitive sports or have non-aggressive personalities are often vilified and bullied for being different as they grow up in the shadow of America's obsession with bigger, faster, richer, and stronger.
Through a fascinating assortment of in-depth interviews, clinical case studies, and examples from popular literature, Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette and Beth Margolis Rupp illustrate how these boys are relegated to a second-class social status simply because they can't make a free throw or because they can spell better than they can run.
Compassionate, empowering, and instructive, The Last Boys Picked will help parents, teachers, coaches, and caregivers identify the social and emotional hurdles that these boys face. It offers specific action steps to help any child build resilience and a healthy self-esteem-and tips for talking to them about their experiences and teaching them to face the schoolyard-and the world-with confidence.
Psychologist Edgette is the mother of Jake, who, unlike his brothers and peers, simply did not enjoy sports. The talents and aptitudes of boys like Jake for other kinds of activities often go unrecognized, she says, because not only are they excluded from the popular crowd, their sexuality is called into question and bullying ensues. When she began writing this seven years ago, the Boy's Movement was at its nascence, geek chic had yet to fully evidence itself, and nonathletic boys were overlooked by peers, teachers, coaches, and parents. She believes, however, that the problem persists, despite those movements, and that the remedy is for adults to step up and change the rules, challenging the status quo and applauding and encouraging the boys (and men) whose social skills are not formed on the playing field. In order to be effective, a parent can follow her instructions and stop the cycle of boy-against-boy aggression by exposing and making explicit the covert dynamics lurking behind certain bullying behaviors, but her approach follows the now familiar antibullying protocols being adopted in schools and on teams. While this is certainly an issue parents will encounter, and this book's straight talk will help some moms and dads, a magazine feature would have sufficed.