Building on the success of his guide to raising healthy young boys (The Wonder of Boys, Michael Gurian has written the next chapter--a book focusing on the much-maligned adolescent male. Gurian asserts, "We do not understand adolescent-male development, and therefore are unable to give our adolescent males the kind of love they need to become fully responsible, loving, and wise men." Adolescent boys may appear to be self-sufficient, but Gurian asserts that they actually need their parents and elders desperately. The author carefully illustrates what we--as parents, mentors, and educators--need to know about male adolescents, and what we can do to aid them on their journey to adulthood.
In the face of many sociologists and scholars who strongly declare the contrary, Gurian claims a biological basis for many male behavioral traits. In A Fine Young Man, he employs convincing data from scientific studies on neurological development to assert that female and male brains have significant differences, and that testosterone plays an important role in male development and behavior.
But A Fine Young Man offers far more than theory. Gurian's arguments are firmly rooted in reality, and he offers specific suggestions for typical family dilemmas. He breaks down the stages of development into preadolescence, early, middle, and late adolescence; discusses education and the role of the media; and suggests ways to keep aggression (caused in part by the testosterone flooding the adolescent male brain) from becoming violence. In a social sense, Gurian says, adolescent boys are our most undernourished population, and A Fine Young Man encapsulates his hope that our neglected young men receive the nurturing they need. --Ericka Lutz
From Publishers Weekly
Carrying forward some of the themes first introduced in his book The Wonder of Boys (1996), Gurian focuses on male adolescence, a crucial stage of development that, he argues, is in crisis today, being both misunderstood and diminished in importance. Drawing on his own research and experience as a psychotherapist, he lays out a picture of male adolescence that is often bleak: adolescent males are four times as likely as females to commit suicide; only one out of six adolescents diagnosed with ADHD is female, and that 90% of adolescent discipline problems in schools are about males. The thrust of his approach, however, is proactive and ultimately imbued with hope. Gurian emphasizes the importance of family in the three distinct stages (transformation, determination and consolidation) of male adolescent development, which can begin as early as nine and extends through the early 20s. In the nurture/nature debate, Gurian falls somewhere in the middle, explaining and validating the importance of both male "hardwiring" (the genetic component) as well as emotional and cultural "softwiring." With persuasive eloquence, Gurian outlines thoughtful and practical steps parents and other caregivers can take to create the kind of positive role-models and nurturing support systems that will help boys successfully negotiate the passage to manhood.
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