Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood Paperback – May 10 1999
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- ASIN : 0805061835
- Publisher : Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (May 10 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780805061833
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805061833
- Item Weight : 426 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.05 x 20.96 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #249,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
“Anyone who lives or works with boys and men should read Real Boys.” ―Gail Sheehy
“A thoughtful and sensitive discussion of contemporary American boyhood.” ―Dr. Robert Coles, author of The Moral Intelligence of Children
“Just as Reviving Ophelia opened our eyes to the challenges faced by adolescent girls, Real Boys helps us hear and respond to the needs of growing boys.” ―Judith Jordan, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
From the Back Cover
Top reviews from Canada
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Pollack's topics range from promoting "action love," a preference for side-by-side connection during shared activity, to enhancing self-esteem, to battling a failing school system. Readers learn that boys often battle depression and cry out for reconnection in subtle ways; we also gain valuable tips on how to uncover hurt beneath a boy's brave facade.
The book is long, at times tedious and lacking in social context. Ultimately, however, it teaches a simple truth: listening without judgment and providing boundless love can make a critical difference in raising sensitive, confident and independent men.
During the 70's, I sometimes found it difficult to listen to the angry cries of my feminist sisters (and yes, I think women's minds are of equal value to men's) who too often seem to be accusing men of just being born 'bad,' rather than being formed and influenced by the actions and reactions of people, culture, environment.
We women expect our men (sons, husbands, friends and lovers) to be strong, yet sensitive. Their peers often expect them to be 'a man' - strong, not 'a wuss.' Trapped in a double-bind, most men respond to the heavy peer pressure, and turn off most of their emotions.
When a son hits adolescence, with the body and voice of a grown man, we often think that means he is a man, and should act like one. Without defining clearly what that is (for there are often contradictions), just when they need us most, we set them free in a world that is confusing, demanding, and frightening. (And if you find your self thinking there's nothing wrong with that, since that's what being a man means, I beg you to read this book!)
Little boys are expected to move away from their mother by five or six (to not do so means they'll have 'problems' later in life). When a young boy smacks a friend, we might just throw up our hands and say "boys will be boys." Worse, when an elementary school boy kisses a girl he likes, he may be accused of sexual harrassment.
What is a parent to do? Pollack encourages parents to recognize and support the value in the different styles of parenting found in fathers and mothers - complementary, instead of competitive, styles gives more to the children.
Instead of pushing young boys out early to 'be a man,' Pollack supports parents who allow their children to stay connected - to them, and to their own emotions. He encourages parents to find out what is going on behind those 'it doesn't hurt' looks on faces.
Although written before the Columbine horror, one of the most important parts of this book is the last third, dealing with issues of violence and young men. Suicide, homicide, bullying are rampant (stats are in the book.) Anger is one of the few emotions boys are allowed to express openly - fear and hurt are no-no's for a boy who wants to be a "real man."
This book has been extremely helpful to me, supporting things I've seen my former mother-in-law do - nurture her sons. Too often the idea of a mother nurturing her sons is thought to be emasculating - evidently, the opposite is true. Many fathers, too, will find encouragement in this book - and I suspect since they know more than I ever will about growing up male in America, much of this will ring true to them.
The book isn't perfectly honed - there are portions that have logic that isn't fully explained - but this is a thick, enjoyable read that only hits the tip of the iceberg (he doesn't spend a lot of time on growing up male in different cultures within America - that would be another book in and of itself).
A must read for teachers, social workers, youth leaders, therapists, this book is also a good source of information and consulation for young men and those who love them.
Some excellent ideas are presented. There are two chapters which, I feel, contain particularly valuable information. The first is how schools can assist boys who are "acting out" in an effort to assuage their emotional pain. The second is how others can help boys who are feeling the pain of their parents' divorce. Those chapters and others describe causes of emotional pain, symptoms, and measures that can be taken to deal with problems specific to boys. All of the text is inextricably bound up with the idea of "gender straight-jacketing". A more heavy-handed editor could have made this book much easier to read. I feel much of the information is repetitive and long-winded. Nevertheless, the important information contained in the book makes it worthwhile reading despite this unfortunate drawback.
Dr. Pollackï¿½s book brings tremendously valuable insight for parents who have sons, and how to spare them from guilt, shame, and to embrace their authentic selves in order to thrive, as opposed to devalue themselves.
If you are raising a son, I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It also addresses teen suicide, and the signs of depression to look out for in order to prevent this from happening to your son.
Highly recommended for the tremendous insight it brings in order for boys to be REAL, and thrive.
From my heart, Barbara Rose, author of ï¿½If God Was Like Manï¿½ and ï¿½Individual Power: Reclaiming Your Core, Your Truth, and Your Life.ï¿½
Top reviews from other countries
I feel that it is confirming my belief that all children are different, no matter what their gender, and that each one should be nurtured accordingly. I have battled with family views that boys need to be tough. We have also moved schools as my son was expected to be independent at the age of 4 and was shouted at for crying when I left him each morning. This book has reiterated my own thoughts and has given me the confidence to continue with my battle against stereotypical views on how boys should be.
This book gives great insight on how wrong we have been dealing with boys and men for generations and generations.