Thursday, April 8, 2010

This weeks book review is so powerful and informative! Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. was such an eye opening book. It felt like I was waking up in the morning with a fresh bucket of water thrown in my face. The information that is given to us is so important. I feel like handing this book out to all parents of boys and telling them it’s required reading.

Dr Sax, himself a father of 1 girl, has devoted his life to helping boys beat the ADHD stigma and growth and maturation difficulties that face our sons today. He touches in his book, in deep detail, his clinical experience with how culture, society, parenting, schooling and even environmental factors are weighing heavily and affecting our boys.

He discusses:

Teaching methods and how our schools today are geared towards girls who can sit and do workbooks. Our schools fail so many boys with the emphasis on testing and grades. He finds boys often need camaraderie and competition. Completely taken out of schools today, games where there is a loser or which honors the physically strong. But also even in the classroom, making scholarly competition healthy. He says some boys, who otherwise would be labelled and diagnosed ADHD and medicated, simply can thrive by being put in an all boys Elementary School. These schools can focus on boys needs and learning curves better than co-ed. He goes on to touch on the detrimental affects of prescription drugs that are often diagnosed to boys who are simply being boys.

The detriment video games and chronicles how they really do fry your brain. But more importantly they are affecting a boy or a young man’s connection to reality. The reality of working, supporting a family, what really is success, etc. This break with reality is rolling over in to generation Y. A whole chapter is devoted to talking about young men who still live at home and don’t work, living off their parents. The typical “failure to launch” story. That chapter really made me sick because I see it so much today.

Environmental toxins are discussed as a possibility to why men today are being feminized physically. While not the only factor, he points out and makes some connections to how a males genes are easier to mutate. He makes a good case for keeping plastics with bisphenol A and phthalates out of your family’s diet. Although mainstream stores now carry most bottles, pacifiers, water bottles without BHA now, it’s still important to see the reasoning behind this shift. He talks about changes in puberty levels, boys fragility, obesity, birth defects and sexual androgyny.

Although I am consolidating the information here, I say this book is required reading for all parents of boys. I think dads especially can benefit from reading this book. It teaches you to take a step back and look at how your life, society and culture are affecting your son. But it also lets you know you can do something about it. For example your schooling options or video game decisions. I only wish society would value and support masculinity in it’s traditional sense. This books makes a good case to why we need to get that back for our boys!

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