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Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

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In Boys Should Be Boys, one of our most trusted authorities helps parents restore the delights of boyhood and enable today’s boys to become the mature, confident, and thoughtful men of tomorrow. Boys will always be boys–rambunctious, adventurous, and curious, climbing trees, building forts, playing tackle football, and pushing their growing bodies to the limit as part of t In Boys Should Be Boys, one of our most trusted authorities helps parents restore the delights of boyhood and enable today’s boys to become the mature, confident, and thoughtful men of tomorrow. Boys will always be boys–rambunctious, adventurous, and curious, climbing trees, building forts, playing tackle football, and pushing their growing bodies to the limit as part of the rite of passage into manhood. But today our sons face an increasingly hostile world that doesn’t value the high-spirited, magical nature of boys. In a collective call to let our boys be boys, Dr. Meg Meeker explores the secrets to boyhood, including • why rules and boundaries are crucial–and why boys feel lost without them • how the outdoors is still the best playground, offering the sense of adventure that only Mother Nature can provide • the essential ways to preserve a boy’s innocence (and help him grow up) • the pitfalls moms and dads face when talking to their sons • why moody and rebellious boys are not normal–and how to address such behavior • how and when the “big” questions in life should be discussed: why he is here, what his purpose is, and why he is important Parents are blessed with intuition and heart, but raising sons is a daunting responsibility. This uplifting guide makes the job a little easier.


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In Boys Should Be Boys, one of our most trusted authorities helps parents restore the delights of boyhood and enable today’s boys to become the mature, confident, and thoughtful men of tomorrow. Boys will always be boys–rambunctious, adventurous, and curious, climbing trees, building forts, playing tackle football, and pushing their growing bodies to the limit as part of t In Boys Should Be Boys, one of our most trusted authorities helps parents restore the delights of boyhood and enable today’s boys to become the mature, confident, and thoughtful men of tomorrow. Boys will always be boys–rambunctious, adventurous, and curious, climbing trees, building forts, playing tackle football, and pushing their growing bodies to the limit as part of the rite of passage into manhood. But today our sons face an increasingly hostile world that doesn’t value the high-spirited, magical nature of boys. In a collective call to let our boys be boys, Dr. Meg Meeker explores the secrets to boyhood, including • why rules and boundaries are crucial–and why boys feel lost without them • how the outdoors is still the best playground, offering the sense of adventure that only Mother Nature can provide • the essential ways to preserve a boy’s innocence (and help him grow up) • the pitfalls moms and dads face when talking to their sons • why moody and rebellious boys are not normal–and how to address such behavior • how and when the “big” questions in life should be discussed: why he is here, what his purpose is, and why he is important Parents are blessed with intuition and heart, but raising sons is a daunting responsibility. This uplifting guide makes the job a little easier.

30 review for Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    I had high hopes, but it fell short. The things she had to say didn't resonate well with me and I got a very conservative undertone. She was very essentialist, meaning "Boys are essentially X. Mothers are essentially Y. Fathers are essentially Z." After 300 pgs, I had the prototypical image of ONE boy in my head; there wasn't much room for range or individual differences. It's ironic, actually, because I had been searching for books that would lead me a bit into the biological development of boy I had high hopes, but it fell short. The things she had to say didn't resonate well with me and I got a very conservative undertone. She was very essentialist, meaning "Boys are essentially X. Mothers are essentially Y. Fathers are essentially Z." After 300 pgs, I had the prototypical image of ONE boy in my head; there wasn't much room for range or individual differences. It's ironic, actually, because I had been searching for books that would lead me a bit into the biological development of boys so I could better understand my own. But though she's an MD, I didn't get the sense that any of her commentary was developmentally-driven, rather, reflecting of gender-typing in mainstream society. I didn't fit the mold of the "Mother" she describes in the book, and Mike certainly is not a father like she describes. It was all very Masculine/Feminine oriented but not in a way that geled with my instincts. At one point she describes a mother of twins who came to her for a wellness check and was exhausted from exclusively breastfeeding, and she describes her as "crazy" because she was sacrificing herself for a societal pressure to breastfeed when obviously she should wean them, put them on formula, and let others bottle the boys during the night. I wouldn't see her as a pediatrician, obviously, so I guess her book advice didn't speak much to me, either. The gist is that boys want and need violent play, but the media is disparaging them. Turn them loose in the woods to play cowboys and indians but don't let them play Mortal Kombat. She's very into the role of traditional religion for structure in boys' lives (not open-minded spirituality, which leaves them "lost" because it doesn't offer answers) and also the need for boys to have incredible relationships with fathers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Audra

    I feel like I have read parenting book after parenting book after parenting book this year, and usually end up 2/3 from the end, slogging away and hating myself, the author, and anyone else who crosses my path. Most of them - the Christian parenting ones included - tend to make me feel woefully inadequate, and introduce a spate of "do this" charges that I must needs implement immediately (!) if I am to have strong, godly, intelligent boys. Not so here. For the first time ever, I came out of a pare I feel like I have read parenting book after parenting book after parenting book this year, and usually end up 2/3 from the end, slogging away and hating myself, the author, and anyone else who crosses my path. Most of them - the Christian parenting ones included - tend to make me feel woefully inadequate, and introduce a spate of "do this" charges that I must needs implement immediately (!) if I am to have strong, godly, intelligent boys. Not so here. For the first time ever, I came out of a parenting book feeling as if I understood my boys better. Immediately, I felt as if I could see them as the brilliant people God created, and love and enjoy them for themselves, rather than exhaust myself trying to sculpt them into some model Christianese citizen. Dr. Meeker applies her many, many years of pediatric experience (as well as parenting experience!) to the problems today's boys face, and gives solutions that aren't surprising: turn off the TV. Send them outside. Spend time with them. Spend MORE time with them. Let them scrape their knees. Let them have adventures. Let them explore and discover the nature of God. These things sound intuitive, so maybe you're wondering why I had to read a book to make them obvious. The short answer is, because I'm not a boy. I never was a boy, and never will be. I think like a girl, and so I just don't get some of the stuff they do: the rampant destruction, the constant noise, the fighting, the wrestling, the contests, the desperate need to be dirty/wet/muddy (seriously). The real revelations that I found here were in the nuances: that why my son insists on remaking 3D paper airplanes every.single.day isn't because he can't be content (Christianese 101), but because he wants to prove to himself that he can build a better plane tomorrow, that he can grow and improve, that he can master the art of building a paper airplane. Being outdoors is special because a boy needs to feel strong, and because he needs to exert his strength, and nature doesn't have a reset button. Outdoors, he can test his strength and know how it really measures up - how HE really measures up. I've read books about knowing the minds of boys/men that sounded like they were directed toward healing wounded men. This book is about protecting our boys from being wounded in the first place, and growing them into the strong men God made them to be, and they know they can be.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam Choi

    A great book if you're a reactionary, feebleminded, conservative dolt who hasn't yet heard or intuited that you should be there for your kids, encourage them instead of criticize them, and watch out for issues of violence, porn, or destructive behavior in mass media. Holy crap, why did I think a pop psychology book would have anything interesting to say?!? This book took advantage of my neurosis about raising my son to sell me a bunch of crap about religion, the dangers of pornography, and need A great book if you're a reactionary, feebleminded, conservative dolt who hasn't yet heard or intuited that you should be there for your kids, encourage them instead of criticize them, and watch out for issues of violence, porn, or destructive behavior in mass media. Holy crap, why did I think a pop psychology book would have anything interesting to say?!? This book took advantage of my neurosis about raising my son to sell me a bunch of crap about religion, the dangers of pornography, and need to stop over protecting young boys. The author genuinely believes that everything that she grew up with in her generation was good and that everything we see now, is bad. Here are a couple of examples: 1) she complains about bad programming on tv ... particularly sex and violence ... and then comments, nostalgically, that it wouldn't be so bad if programs were like _Gunsmoke_; 2) she warns about "soft core porn" on late night television, particularly in commercials, but, then, she comments that _Playboy_ magazine, which boys in her generation hid under the beds is just legitimate curiousity -- so, soft-core pseudo porn of today = bad, but actual porn from her childhood = ok? Holy shit ... does this author have even the most microscopic capacity for self-reflection? Needless to say ... I did not really like this book. Fortunately, it was written at about a 6-grader's reading ability ... so it didn't waste that much of my time ...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A good read about raising boys to be men. Yes, for all those negative reviews that stated the book had conservative undertones, I believe Dr. Meeker was obvious about her intentions. She is looking at the "men" in our society and saying that many of the changes made in raising our boys have not been for the better. She advocates a return to a strong family unit with clearly defined rolls where boys are raised to be men unapologetically. There is very little earth shattering information in this b A good read about raising boys to be men. Yes, for all those negative reviews that stated the book had conservative undertones, I believe Dr. Meeker was obvious about her intentions. She is looking at the "men" in our society and saying that many of the changes made in raising our boys have not been for the better. She advocates a return to a strong family unit with clearly defined rolls where boys are raised to be men unapologetically. There is very little earth shattering information in this book, but it does go against a lot of the information put out today about raising boys and reiterating that boys are different than girls and are more physical and rambunctious. Raising girls and boys is different. Dr. Meeker recognizes the simple fact that there are differences between males and females and let's patents know one, that it's normal and two it's okay to treat them differently. I agree with most of her premises and want my boys to grow up into stable adults that cherish the women they choose to marry and be good fathers to any children they may bring into this world. Does that make me and Dr. Meeker conservative? I guess, but looking at most men society holds up as role models today, I'd rather try her old fashion way than have my sons grow up to be self-centered adults that chase "feeling good" rather than understanding life is about more than themselves. Okay, off my soap box. Clear and easily read book. I would recommend it as a decent read, but I guess I should add a disclaimer that it is old fashioned and might go against touchy, feely, do as you wish mainstream thinking.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pj

    Conservative and elitist. There are some valid points here but the book is coated in such a condescending tone that it was extremely frustrating to read through. It's delusional in its nostalgia of parenting in the past as if parenting challenges began only in the 21st century. Yes, parents need to spend more time with their children, parents need to model the ideal of what a man should grow up to be, and parents need to spend less time putting their children in front of a TV, iPad, etc. All imp Conservative and elitist. There are some valid points here but the book is coated in such a condescending tone that it was extremely frustrating to read through. It's delusional in its nostalgia of parenting in the past as if parenting challenges began only in the 21st century. Yes, parents need to spend more time with their children, parents need to model the ideal of what a man should grow up to be, and parents need to spend less time putting their children in front of a TV, iPad, etc. All important things. Religion is also important. But Judaism and Christianity are not the only two religions in the world. It's important for people to read books that delve into perspectives you don't currently ascribe to so for that I'm glad I read this book. But the fact that the author keeps mentioning children's time spent online in 'chat rooms and myspace" clues the reader in as to how clueless and inauthentic the author's insights into parenting boys are.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    As seems to be the case these days with the wealth of books, I thought this one would have been better served with a more fitting title, such as "Boys to Men," especially since the book did not outline "seven secrets to raising healthy sons." That nit-picking aside, the book was quite straightforward, easy to read, and extremely helpful about boys, their general disposition, and what they most need to mature into wise and compassionate men. Not surprisingly, their needs are simple, they need les As seems to be the case these days with the wealth of books, I thought this one would have been better served with a more fitting title, such as "Boys to Men," especially since the book did not outline "seven secrets to raising healthy sons." That nit-picking aside, the book was quite straightforward, easy to read, and extremely helpful about boys, their general disposition, and what they most need to mature into wise and compassionate men. Not surprisingly, their needs are simple, they need less things and more of you, the parent--more of our time, our attention, our discipline and self-discipline (ouch!). "Discipline takes energy and it's unnerving...we're frightened that if we [discipline them], we'll lose our sons. Let me assure you of one thing: half-way homes and jails aren't full of boys who have been disciplined, they are full of boys whose parents have left them alone." Especially helpful were the vignettes into the lives of individual boys helped by the author, a pediatrician who watched them grow up, as well as the final chapter with its "ten tips for making sure you get it right." My favorite tip was #4: Help him find purpose and passion, especially important in our cynicism-rich postmodern world. "When a boy begins to experience the deep satisfaction of doing what he was born to do, we will want to exercise virtue" of integrity and self-discipline. To me, this is exactly why my husband, who has had a clear passion and direction in his life, is a successful, mature, wise, and humble man--and a great role model for our boys.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    I didn't read this whole book - in fact I had the audio version. I just listened to some certain sections I was interested in. I liked the author's perspective at the end of her career of working with kids, and how it has changed with the Internet and technology. For the most part it was affirming to me that strong family ties, faith, and nature are the best things for boys, both for happiness and growth and as a shield against peer pressure. Her stories and statistics were really interesting ar I didn't read this whole book - in fact I had the audio version. I just listened to some certain sections I was interested in. I liked the author's perspective at the end of her career of working with kids, and how it has changed with the Internet and technology. For the most part it was affirming to me that strong family ties, faith, and nature are the best things for boys, both for happiness and growth and as a shield against peer pressure. Her stories and statistics were really interesting around these as well. I think if you have boys toddler through high school there is something here for you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Notes so long because I don’t own the book and want to remember some key points. Great book from the same author of another important parenting book: “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.” These are two books worth reading if you parent or plan on parenting (or grandparent, or mentor) children, boys & girls. While many of the things in these books seem like common sense, I realize that in many places this may not be so. I find the author’s honesty and willingness to call some things by their right Notes so long because I don’t own the book and want to remember some key points. Great book from the same author of another important parenting book: “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.” These are two books worth reading if you parent or plan on parenting (or grandparent, or mentor) children, boys & girls. While many of the things in these books seem like common sense, I realize that in many places this may not be so. I find the author’s honesty and willingness to call some things by their right names, i.e. “we live in a toxic culture;” “teen sex is not normal;” and “God is not only an important thing to teach your kid, but vital” refreshing and brave. She definitely does not shilly-shally around what have been turned into today’s touchy issues. This book speaks mainly to fathers (as does her other one), but that doesn’t mean mothers/women shouldn’t read it and take it seriously. Even fathers with grown sons or sons-in-law could benefit from reading this if they have adult children who haven’t totally grown up. Additionally, parents of daughters only could also benefit as their daughters will marry someday, and one can hope they will marry someone who has learned these lessons. Chp 1: Boyhood Under Siege “…I believe that the troubles hurting our boys stem from three major sources: lack of close relationships with men (particularly fathers), lack of religious education (and this isn’t necessarily what you may think it is, don’t bypass the “God” chapter. ke), and aggressive exposure to a toxic media that teaches boys that keys to a great life are sex, sex, and a bit more sex—and a whole lot of money & fame.” (9) Her statistics are pretty scary (10-12) “The foundation of any boy’s life is built on three things: his relationships with his parents, his relationship with God, and his relationships with his siblings and close friends.” (12) Chp 2: Bucking Peer Pressure (Parents are constantly asking themselves what else they should be doing to help their [children] be successful in life.) “But that is exactly the wrong way to look at it. It’s far more important for parents to be, as in be around, and far less important to do, and certainly to buy, anything. In fact, what we should usually do is schedule fewer activities for our children (and fret less as well). (20) “Take a hard look at what you want your son’s character to look like when he is 25 and focus on helping him build that character. Do you really want your son to be a pro-baseball player first and a man of integrity second?” (20) “No boy listens to a parent who lectures before he listens. No son wants his father’s advice if he is repeatedly interrupted or criticized.” (21) On indulgence because we want our sons to be “happy.” What does happy look like? Having fun and out of your hair? “…is happiness enough? Is aspiring to raise a son to be happy more important that raising a boy to be good?” (24) “Contrary to popular belief, boys are not born to rebel against their parents at any age. To a very large degree, this boy-hating-his-parents phenomenon has been contrived by popular media with the aid of some psychologists. Sadly, many of us simply hold our breath until we sense the first snarls, the back talk, and the rejection from our boys.” (26) That quote reminds me so much of the many things I’ve read of the rise/invention of the modern “teenager.” See Dr. Michael Platt, Oliver DeMille, Angela Baker, others. One interesting thing about this chapter is that it’s not about peer pressure on the boy, but on the parents to do everything for & to the boy that everyone else is doing. More cultural lessons, more sports, more, more, more. It’s US doing this to them, not the other way round. Chp 3: Bullfrogs & Race Cars -Boys thrive more on unorganized activities -Boys need nature time -Boys need to be able to play with a mixture of ages (organized sports where all the boys are of an age are not the best place for boys to learn self-mastery, skill, leadership). “When parents run the show, no one can be king; no one can be ball boy; no one can be the ghost runner between the bases.” (40) -Boys need to be able to take risks and do “dangerous” things -Boys need to be able to serve Chp 4: Electronic Matters -Boys need handwritten notes We need to compensate for the losses created by electronic media: real, personal communication. -TV/Video Game violence, sorry but true, is BAD for our boys “We need to stand up and do what is right, because if we don’t act on behalf of our sons’ best interest, no one will.” (55) Be brave enough to set limits or take it away! And under this heading is the scariest thing: “Every boy over the age of eight in the US is under sexual assault.” (61) TV, video games, music, movies, billboards, magazines, everywhere you look you find nearly nude women and inappropriateness of all sorts. I was wondering the other day if a boy/child today (who didn’t grow up in the tundra of Alaska with no electricity, no mail, etc) could even grow up pure. We don’t have TV, our children are not allowed unsupervised internet, the older ones are heavily supervised in terms of cell phones, we really try make good movie choices, and we homeschool, so they don’t get school or bus experience, (yep, no fun at our house) but I can’t control the billboards we drive by or the TV commercials at Grandpa’s house, or the talk at the grocery store, or the scantily clad females wherever we may happen to be. Can you see me shrieking “Children!! Close eyes & ears immediately?” It would almost be constant some days. I am not trying to “shelter” them per se, but I do want my children to grow up with healthy ideas about sexual relations, not the perverted/voyeuristic/anything goes and it’s natural so it’s all normal craziness. They are bombarded so early. We need to be really careful of what we LET our kids watch/do. “If a young boy watches sex or violence before he can handle either one—and we should ask ourselves why we want to handle it, that’s part of the problem, he can be traumatized. Furthermore, if he is traumatized with his parent’s approval, the boy becomes confused. He associates his parents with giving him good things, and now they have given him something that makes him feel unsettled, uneasy, depressed, or even angry.” (68) I know from personal experience how traumatic it can be to read things one shouldn’t (probably ever) at too early an age, especially if one finds it at home or is actually given it by a parent. I heartily agree 100% with Dr. Meeker here that children who are not ready for some types of information should not be given it by their own parents. This experience has also created in me a very adamant creed that if/when my children choose to read/see something totally inappropriate for their age or understanding (or at all), they will not find it in my home. Chp 5: Does Testosterone Drive Cars? (great title, eh?) “The real reason [that we have teenage boy problems] is that we have lowered our expectations about teenage boys.”(77) “…adolescence is neither a God-given stage of development, nor one that comes with our very nature—it is the consequence of recent social conditions.” (78) All of us are bombarded with the moody face of the modern “teen” everywhere we look, telling us he’s normal and here to stay, deal with him. She offers help here with this problem, which are mainly 1) our expectations, and 2) what we’ve taught him beforehand. Chp 6: Encouragement, Mastery & Competition On the games boys play: “Playing at war serves another purpose for boys. Boys have an inherent moral code; and war, with its good guys and bad guys, reinforces his sense of moral order. The bad guys need to be beaten, and in his imaginary play he teaches himself that the bad can be overcome by the good.” (89) -Boys need to be encouraged in their masculine behaviors, particularly by men (and this doesn’t mean the asinine behavior of “men” on TV) On teasing (from father to son): “…a father’s words are always huge in a boy’s eyes. …What a father says and what a boy hears can be completely different. In teasing, by its very nature, there is always an underlying bite.” (94) On self-mastery (learned from parents & mentors, as well as testing self): “Little by little a boy can learn to take charge over one aspect of his character, then another, then another. Mastery feels wonderful to boys. And it is so sad to see so many boys today who have never learned this process, who live without discipline and order, who know only internal and external chaos in their lives.” (102) Chp 7: A Mother’s Son On being watchful: “Smart mothers know that the issue (of being watchful) is not trust—mothers don’t watch because they don’t trust sons. They watch because life is tough, unfair, and cruel.” They can see farther & see that it is many things in the world they don’t trust. (114) -Mothers are keepers of their sons’ dignity. Smart ones know when to step in & when to stay out. -Mothers also need to protect & promote masculinity -Mothers are dispensers of grace, loving their sons no matter what -Mothers need to show physical affection to boys of any age—they need it Chp 8: The Difference a Dad Makes “What does every son need from a father? What can his alone give him? He needs three things. First, a boy needs his father’s blessing. Second, a son needs love from his father. Third, he needs his father to teach him self-control.” (148) 2 & 3, fairly self-explanatory. 1, the father’s blessing, means to Dr. Meeker the moment in life when the boy, always wondering if he’s good enough, finally gets that unmistakable sign that to his dad, he is. Apparently this is supposed to be a memorable moment containing a few key elements. But I don’t know that I totally agree with her reasoning here (that most sons & fathers feel that the sons have to “earn” this)—it seems ideally that children should always know this & fathers should show this from birth. Ideally, yes, I said that. “In many respects boys equate time spent with their fathers with love from their fathers, and that love brings boys all sorts of benefits.” (158) -Boys love it when fathers exert self-control, protect their women, stick with something hard “The research is absolutely clear…the one human being most capable of curbing the antisocial aggression of a boy is his biological father.” (160) “A boy can learn self-control in a matter of moments from a man he respects and who exhibits self-control.” (162) Chp 9: The Forgotten Step from Boyhood to Manhood Meeker says the biggest transition from boy to man lies in a life impulse-driven and self-control. “Sadly, many boys never receive this training. They either lack exposure to mature parents or mentors, or they have misguided ones. Even intelligent, loving parents sometimes inadvertently fail to teach a boy how to separate his feelings from his behaviors. They do this by indulging their son and making pleasure his primary goal. But this effort to make their son happy only keeps him from maturing into a man.” (166) “Let your son understand that taking responsibility for his bad behavior works better for him than pointing the finger at others. Life is happier when he is in charge—of what he does wrong and of what he does well. Not only will his brain learn to think differently , he will live with immensely greater freedom.” (169) “The best aid any parent can give a boy is to capitalize on his receptivity when he is a child. Teach him your beliefs and tell him why you believe what you do. Give him a solid moral foundation and then help him practice it. This way, when his is an adolescent he will have a clear structure with which to work. He needs something to work with and if he has nothing when he enters adolescence, he will find something.” (172) -Boys need to make & keep commitments (not forever, but shouldn’t be let to rashly “quit” but have a week or two to mull over the idea) “The biggest mistake we make with adolescent boys is forgetting that they all need help in moving out of adolescence. Millions of boys grow older, but few become men. No boy really wants to stay in the banal world of perpetual adolescence, but he needs someone to lead him out. His deepest longings pressure him toward manhood and he needs to respond. He wants to respond but he simply doesn’t know how. So help him. Be there to challenge him. Make him a little uncomfortable by stretching his intellect and demanding maturity. As in any other growth process, it will be painful for you both, but his life depends upon it.” (181) I think that maybe in years gone by it wasn’t so hard for unguided boys to become men, because hard life events just pushed them into it even if they didn’t have proper role models. But it seems today that there are so many reasons to stay in that perpetual adolescence, that not having to “grow-up” state. Parents basements, many jobs where one can a little money, but don’t take effort or education, that enable only semi-subsistence but enough to by donuts while living in parent’s basements. Entitlement. Many opportunities for a wife to work so a married man doesn’t necessarily have to, what have you. Government help galore. Where years ago, one might just have died of starvation, one now has many people willing to step in & keep the wolves at bay. Chp 10: The God Factor This was an interesting chapter. Clearly the author believes in God, and though she doesn’t promote her specific beliefs, she does have some good reasons why God is important to boys. The most interesting thing she wrote, to me, was that a parent/mentor doesn’t necessarily need to believe in God, but either way, their beliefs need to be well thought out, well-reasoned, and explainable to a child. If you don’t believe, you need to know why, just as clearly as you need to know why you do believe. Because boys want answers and they need guidance and the feeling that their world makes sense. She speaks of many of today’s parents who wish not to “brainwash” or “push” their children into any particular point of view, of wanting their children to “make up their own minds about God.” She says: “But the fatal flaw is that boys can’t choose from an empty menu. Asking a child to choose his own faith is like flying him to Prague, taking him to the center of the city, and asking him to pick out where to stay and what to do. He doesn’t have a clue because he doesn’t know what his options are. He has never been there before and the city is expansive and overwhelming.” (192) I thought that made a lot of sense. God loves without condition, and that is a good feeling. We try, as parents to provide that, but sometimes we “fail because it is hard and emotionally complicated. To extend unconditional love, one has to be emotionally sound oneself and expect nothing in return.” Chp 11: How Then Shall We Teach Them to Live? -School a boy in the virtues. Get him to think things out on his own. Get his own grounding in right and wrong. “At the outset, simplify your son’s life. Give him space to be bored, to find ways to fill his time. When he does this, he will be forced to think. If you want to spur him on, give him a copy of Aristotle’s Ethics or Politics or Plato’s Dialogues or Pascal’s Pensees--classics that will get him thinking about virtue and what it is and how to define it and to live it. To reflect on the big questions requires time to think; it requires leisure. Don’t let haste deny your son the time to discuss the good things in life.” Discuss it with him. (205) -“Train a boy’s tongue and you change his thinking.” (222) Do this by training your own first. I think her point with this is that boys/men don’t use as many words as women do and their words are more important and defining to/for them. And those are only some of the good points. The format of the book is a little strange. The title says “Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons.” These “secrets” are laid out briefly in bullet points in the introduction, but then they’re never mentioned again. I mean, they’re part of all the rest of the chapters, but not defined. Strange. When I got to the last chapter (and I know my husband did this too) called, “Ten Tips to Know You Got it Right,” I wondered when I’d seen the 7 seven secrets. I had to go back & find them. All that is merely details, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elsa K

    As a mother of all boys, I soak up any advice about raising boys I can get. Sometimes they seem so totally different from me and I know I am in over my head. I have heard Dr. Meeker speak a few times on podcasts and always enjoy her practical, Biblical based thoughts. I never like book titles that say "7 secrets to...", but the book proved good anyway. Although I can't tell you what the 7 secrets are. My big take aways are that boys need parents involvement and connectedness above anything else. As a mother of all boys, I soak up any advice about raising boys I can get. Sometimes they seem so totally different from me and I know I am in over my head. I have heard Dr. Meeker speak a few times on podcasts and always enjoy her practical, Biblical based thoughts. I never like book titles that say "7 secrets to...", but the book proved good anyway. Although I can't tell you what the 7 secrets are. My big take aways are that boys need parents involvement and connectedness above anything else. The second most important thing they need is time outside (often independently). They need to get dirty, take risks, play more, and create more than they need organized activities or playdates. One of the biggest detriments to them and their development is screen time- TV, video games, phones etc. I see in my boys at a young age the appeal screens already have and want them to have more of a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn childhood. My question is how to practically do this- we live in city environment with a small backyard, I wish Dr. Meeker would've given some practical ways to do this when we live in a society when boys can't just ride their bikes on their own or play neighborhood baseball from dawn until dusk. I also liked the chapter on developing strong character traits and the last chapter with helpful tips. Definitely recommend for those with boys.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Filled with anecdotes, this is a good book on raising boys in today’s culture and the super important role of the father.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    A great book for any dad with boys. Everyone should at least read the last chapter, Ten tips for making sure you get it right. 1. Know that you change his world. - Fathers are larger than life to your boys. Parents are the number one influence in a boys life. 2. Raise him from the inside out. - Imagine the man you want him to be (with regards to character) at 25. Then spend your energy teaching him these character traits. 3. Help his masculinity explode. - Teach a boy how to be a leader and a prote A great book for any dad with boys. Everyone should at least read the last chapter, Ten tips for making sure you get it right. 1. Know that you change his world. - Fathers are larger than life to your boys. Parents are the number one influence in a boys life. 2. Raise him from the inside out. - Imagine the man you want him to be (with regards to character) at 25. Then spend your energy teaching him these character traits. 3. Help his masculinity explode. - Teach a boy how to be a leader and a protector. 4. Help him find purpose and passion. - Every boy is born for a reason. And he needs to know this. Make sure he knows he has a purpose then help him, over the years, discover what that purpose is. 5. Teach him to serve. - Men who server are better husbands and fathers because they have experienced the satisfaction that comes only through placing another's needs before their own. 6. Insist on self-respect. If you respoect your son, then rest of the world can try to crush him, but they won't. 7. Persevere. - Loving our sons will take perseverance and a steeled will. But you must never stop loving them. 8. Be his hero. - Show him simple heroic behavior, and point to it in other adults. 9. Watch, then watch again. - Listen to what they are telling you. When a child hurts, so do his parents, there can be no resolution unless everyone is involved. 10. Give him the best of yourself. - Let your shild safely share their feelings and thoughts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book was quite good and I would like to give it 4.5 stars. The reason it lost 1 star There are a few places when I think the Author is a little heavy handed with the perils and dangers facing our sons. also I think she puts a little too much emphasis on the differences between boys and girls. There are certainly some real and siginficant differences but really I think 90% of this book is good for parents who have daughters too. And finally this book was very centered on Dads. She has a chapter This book was quite good and I would like to give it 4.5 stars. The reason it lost 1 star There are a few places when I think the Author is a little heavy handed with the perils and dangers facing our sons. also I think she puts a little too much emphasis on the differences between boys and girls. There are certainly some real and siginficant differences but really I think 90% of this book is good for parents who have daughters too. And finally this book was very centered on Dads. She has a chapter on Mom's but her focus is very much of fathers and sons. Since this is a significant problem in our american culture this makes since, but I think this will date the book to this time in American Society. I added back in .5 a star for the last chapter in which the rest of the book is concisely sumarized into a 10 point list. That alone will keep it on my book shelf. A few other reviews i read complained that it was too much "when i was your age..." and i totally disagree. I think she very clearly says that boys are the same today as they were 20, 50, 100, or 1000 years ago. For the author, the problem is that our culture is anti-boy and she supports this claim. This is a book I want my husband to read. I especially liked her suggestion that it is better for a dad and son to play with paint guns than mortal combat.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I thought the book had excellent insight into the minds of boys. Having two sons of my own and having grown up between two brothers, I see the action and adventure side as well as the tender loving side of my boys. This book does not try to categorize your boy into a certain pigeonhole of shoot everything you see to be a man, but instead, real stories from acrossed the spectrum to identify with the nature of boys. The author deals with a perspective that can be respected taking her twenty years I thought the book had excellent insight into the minds of boys. Having two sons of my own and having grown up between two brothers, I see the action and adventure side as well as the tender loving side of my boys. This book does not try to categorize your boy into a certain pigeonhole of shoot everything you see to be a man, but instead, real stories from acrossed the spectrum to identify with the nature of boys. The author deals with a perspective that can be respected taking her twenty years of pediatric care and applying this to the very essence of boyhood. I respected her angle takne from her years of experience and really delving into the philosphy of the experiences of her patients. This book does have religious references and one of the 7 secrets to raising healthy sons in her opinion and in this readers opinion is, God. If you are not religious or don't think God matters in our lives the author Dr. Meg Meeker does offer a great argument in the book as to why boys need God. Overall I learned a lot about boys even on the health level and mental level especially when boys reach the teenage years and there was an lot of insight for fathers, which makes this a great book to read for married couples raising sons.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I am buying a copy of this book to keep. It had so many practical things we should be doing with our boys, and specifically what dad's (or another male role model) should be doing to teach boys what being a boy and, eventually, a man, is all about. Things from courage, to standing up for what is right, self-respect, how to treat a girl, to serving others and showing compassion. It helped me as a mom, understand why boys act out certain roles in pretend play and why those roles ARE necessary for I am buying a copy of this book to keep. It had so many practical things we should be doing with our boys, and specifically what dad's (or another male role model) should be doing to teach boys what being a boy and, eventually, a man, is all about. Things from courage, to standing up for what is right, self-respect, how to treat a girl, to serving others and showing compassion. It helped me as a mom, understand why boys act out certain roles in pretend play and why those roles ARE necessary for their development (playing war, acting out how to rescue each other or winning over the bad guys). The author really stresses the need for turning off the computer games and tv and spending double the amount of time we are currently spending with our boys. I couldn't agree more. I loved this book and highly recommend it! I think we'll be reading it again in a few years when our boys reach the pre-teen stage. But this book addresses ALL ages of boyhood.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I highly recommend this great book. Dr. Meeker's book on daughters is just as compelling. Here are some take-aways: "In my experience, every good parent intuitively knows what is good and not good for his sons. The problem is, we ignore our intuitions and jump on the train loaded with mothers and fathers pushing their sons to outshine the others. Get off that train. Time, attention, affection and approval: they are what every boy needs in abundance from his parents. Your sons don't need more act I highly recommend this great book. Dr. Meeker's book on daughters is just as compelling. Here are some take-aways: "In my experience, every good parent intuitively knows what is good and not good for his sons. The problem is, we ignore our intuitions and jump on the train loaded with mothers and fathers pushing their sons to outshine the others. Get off that train. Time, attention, affection and approval: they are what every boy needs in abundance from his parents. Your sons don't need more activities that separate them from you. They need more time with you. What does every soon need from a father? 1. A boy needs his father's blessing. 1. A son needs love from his father. 3. A son needs his father to teach him self-control. The foundation of any boy's life is built on three things: his relationships with his parents; his relationship with God, and his relationship with his siblings and friends.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Munson

    As a new father, I'm looking for ways to make sure that my son grows up to be a well-adjusted, confident, charitable and responsible (if he's still living with me when he's in his thirties I will have failed as a parent) man. Dr. Meeker's book "Boys Should Be Boys" is a great overview of how to accomplish just that. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, stories and principles based on her decades-long career as a pediatrician, it provides a great framework for raising boys. Meeker does a great job of As a new father, I'm looking for ways to make sure that my son grows up to be a well-adjusted, confident, charitable and responsible (if he's still living with me when he's in his thirties I will have failed as a parent) man. Dr. Meeker's book "Boys Should Be Boys" is a great overview of how to accomplish just that. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, stories and principles based on her decades-long career as a pediatrician, it provides a great framework for raising boys. Meeker does a great job of addressing the unique needs of boys and how to avoid stifling their development (allowing them to embrace being a man) while establishing healthy boundaries. The primary thesis of the book seems to be that the most important requirements for raising healthy sons are just spending time with them (does not mean stressing them out with structured activities) and making sure that you are the primary influence in your son's life. A bit too preachy, but required reading if you are raising sons.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I'm of the overly-generalized opinion that if you want to be a good parent, stop reading parenting books. Generally, I find parenting books to be guilt trips that stress parents out and fill their heads with all sorts of "should-be-doings" that inhibit their natural God-given instincts about their children. I did not feel that way at all about this book. Basically, this book is void of pop psychology and full of common sense that our society has all but pushed out. Although I already knew pretty I'm of the overly-generalized opinion that if you want to be a good parent, stop reading parenting books. Generally, I find parenting books to be guilt trips that stress parents out and fill their heads with all sorts of "should-be-doings" that inhibit their natural God-given instincts about their children. I did not feel that way at all about this book. Basically, this book is void of pop psychology and full of common sense that our society has all but pushed out. Although I already knew pretty much everything in this book, it was a reminder to how vitally important parents are in their children's lives. It made me personally want to do all those things that I know I should be doing. It validated and emphasized my importance in the sons' lives and made me want to really step up to the plate in a big way. Further, it was so refreshing to read a book about letting boys be who they are. I felt like she was spot on in her description of boys and their needs and wants.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shauna

    This book was very enjoyable. Since I have 3 sons I occasionally like to read books about boys. I can gauge what the experts say against how I am raising my sons. Meg Meeker says there seven keys ro raising great sons. One is encouraging your son without spoiling him, and not being too harsh so you lose communication and destroy his self-esteem. second, is understanding what your son needs and it is not more stuff...its time with their parents. Third, boys need rules. Fourth, virtue is not just This book was very enjoyable. Since I have 3 sons I occasionally like to read books about boys. I can gauge what the experts say against how I am raising my sons. Meg Meeker says there seven keys ro raising great sons. One is encouraging your son without spoiling him, and not being too harsh so you lose communication and destroy his self-esteem. second, is understanding what your son needs and it is not more stuff...its time with their parents. Third, boys need rules. Fourth, virtue is not just for girls. Boys need values like integrity and self-control. Fifth, boys need the outdoors. We are so afraid of them hurting themselves that we don't let them be boys! Sixth, learn how to teach your son about the big questions in life. Last, but not least.. remember always that the most important person in his life is us parents!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    "Being a Mom isn't a competition. It's a state of being." (Or something like that...I listen to it as I run so it is hard to go back and re-read a certain phrase over and over.) I really liked this book. While it is directly geared to raising strong, healthy, happy, meek, great boys, it is also applicable to my daughters as well. I highly recommend it. Through this book I am learning more about boys and how they work. I don't know, however, if I could be comfortable with allowing boys just to run "Being a Mom isn't a competition. It's a state of being." (Or something like that...I listen to it as I run so it is hard to go back and re-read a certain phrase over and over.) I really liked this book. While it is directly geared to raising strong, healthy, happy, meek, great boys, it is also applicable to my daughters as well. I highly recommend it. Through this book I am learning more about boys and how they work. I don't know, however, if I could be comfortable with allowing boys just to run in the woods and play. I mean, there are snakes out there! This is one to definitely re-read in a few years when my boy is a little older. And then again when he's even older. I really like how she puts the relationship between a mother and son into perspective. I have this on cd...got it for my honey for something or other. He really likes the book as well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book is a very common-sense approach to raising a boy. Meeker has many excellent insights into the psychology of boys, even though she is a pediatrician and not a psychologist. The book is intended for both mothers and fathers, but the focus is definitely on fathers. The main message is that the best thing one can do for your son is to spend more time with him. Meeker believes that it does not matter very much what you do with him--just spend time so that he sees you, regardless of the acti This book is a very common-sense approach to raising a boy. Meeker has many excellent insights into the psychology of boys, even though she is a pediatrician and not a psychologist. The book is intended for both mothers and fathers, but the focus is definitely on fathers. The main message is that the best thing one can do for your son is to spend more time with him. Meeker believes that it does not matter very much what you do with him--just spend time so that he sees you, regardless of the activity. Outdoor activities are great, but indoor activities are good, too -- as long as it isn't watching TV or playing video games. The approach is quite conservative, perhaps a bit too conservative for my taste. For example, Meeker writes that a parent must teach a son to believe in God, in order that he can learn values. Hmmm ....

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    This book is A MUST READ for anyone who is raising boys! I think Dads should read it too! I got so much out if it that i feel like you need to read the book to really get the important points. But I was reminded that time together is the most important (and to make sure it is happy time), that boys need time to be bored and let their imagination go wild (it reinforced my views on TV and video games and reminded me not to get caught up in comparing with others and not over scheduling), and that a This book is A MUST READ for anyone who is raising boys! I think Dads should read it too! I got so much out if it that i feel like you need to read the book to really get the important points. But I was reminded that time together is the most important (and to make sure it is happy time), that boys need time to be bored and let their imagination go wild (it reinforced my views on TV and video games and reminded me not to get caught up in comparing with others and not over scheduling), and that a good male role model (hopefully their Dads) is probably the most important and influential part of a boy's life. It made me want to be better examples for my boys since that is the best way that they learn. And it made me so grateful for Skyler.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I didn't realize until I had finished the book, closed it, and looked back at the cover that I had no idea what the "7 secrets" were. I looked at the table of contents and didn't see a clear list of 7 delineated there, either. Flipped through the book, and still no clue what the 7 were. I think the publisher just added the "7 Secrets" subtitle after the book was written, frankly. That aside, the book was alright. Nothing earth-shattering, but some good principles to keep in mind when raising chil I didn't realize until I had finished the book, closed it, and looked back at the cover that I had no idea what the "7 secrets" were. I looked at the table of contents and didn't see a clear list of 7 delineated there, either. Flipped through the book, and still no clue what the 7 were. I think the publisher just added the "7 Secrets" subtitle after the book was written, frankly. That aside, the book was alright. Nothing earth-shattering, but some good principles to keep in mind when raising children, especially boys. The case studies got to be really long, though, and sometimes I skipped through them because they didn't end up having a whole lot to do with the point she was trying to make.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amberli

    loved this book. the author is just good at saying things in a down to earth, realistic way without sounding condescending or guilt tripping the reader. love her old fashion values while being realistic about today's trends, technology, etc. i'll have to reread this book occasionally over the years to keep a better perspective on what my boys need from me. i also recommend her book on motherhood and i'm planning on reading her book about strong fathers, strong daughters. loved this book. the author is just good at saying things in a down to earth, realistic way without sounding condescending or guilt tripping the reader. love her old fashion values while being realistic about today's trends, technology, etc. i'll have to reread this book occasionally over the years to keep a better perspective on what my boys need from me. i also recommend her book on motherhood and i'm planning on reading her book about strong fathers, strong daughters.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This is a must read if you have boys! But caution, it may make you want to throw away your tv and go outside to play. Would make a great Father's Day gift. PS- She has an equally wonderful book for girls, "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters." This is a must read if you have boys! But caution, it may make you want to throw away your tv and go outside to play. Would make a great Father's Day gift. PS- She has an equally wonderful book for girls, "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    The beginning and the end were awesome. If you're strapped for time just read the virtue chapter. The middle is full of statistics and makes you wish you lived in the middle of the forrest. Not her best work and the number of typos/grammar errors can be distracting. The beginning and the end were awesome. If you're strapped for time just read the virtue chapter. The middle is full of statistics and makes you wish you lived in the middle of the forrest. Not her best work and the number of typos/grammar errors can be distracting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zemmiphobe

    I would give this book zero stars if it were possible. This book presents one type of boy and one appropriate way to ensure a healthy upbringing of that one type of boy into one type of adult. It uses statistics to try and support its claims as well as strike fear into parents about the evils of the world that will cause your perfectly stereotypical boy to stray. These statistics though are woefully presented. She talks about increasing rates of alcohol and smoking in boys and then gives statisti I would give this book zero stars if it were possible. This book presents one type of boy and one appropriate way to ensure a healthy upbringing of that one type of boy into one type of adult. It uses statistics to try and support its claims as well as strike fear into parents about the evils of the world that will cause your perfectly stereotypical boy to stray. These statistics though are woefully presented. She talks about increasing rates of alcohol and smoking in boys and then gives statistics. It fails to say the age range of what a boy is, where the data was obtained, what years is this increase over (the data actually just presented one set, so it didn't even show an increase at all, though the text implies there was). Aside from all this and the fear mongering it tried to push through with the "data", this book is also only applicable to Christian families living in rural areas. It just seems really removed from reality to think the only way to successfully raise boys into men are having those two factors considering the amount of wonderful men in this world with different backgrounds (and the amount of not so good men who also come from these 'ideal' backgrounds).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Yamato

    I ended up really enjoying the book. Was not a great start, as I was feeling that there were too many assumptions being made to why boys are not being raised in a healthy way today (too many video games, too many divorces, etc....). There were many examples to highlight the points being made but it wasn't sticking with him. Around chapter 7-9 (a mother's son, the difference a dad makes, forgotten step from boyhood to manhood), things started to hit home. The significant importance that I play in my I ended up really enjoying the book. Was not a great start, as I was feeling that there were too many assumptions being made to why boys are not being raised in a healthy way today (too many video games, too many divorces, etc....). There were many examples to highlight the points being made but it wasn't sticking with him. Around chapter 7-9 (a mother's son, the difference a dad makes, forgotten step from boyhood to manhood), things started to hit home. The significant importance that I play in my sons' lives. I need to be their hero, set an example for them everyday. Do everything with them, live the values of integrity, honesty, respect, selflessness, love. Also to focus on them and their needs. Listen to them. Be firm with discipline but with love, in a way that they do not lose self-respect. This book was such a great reminder for me to watch my own actions. Doing the right things everyday, all the time, so the the boys have a hero they can learn from and ultimately exceed!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    I am a fan of Meg Meeker's podcast, so I have been wanting to read her book. Due to my enjoyment of her podcast, I had high expectations for her book... AND... I was disappointed. This book could have been condensed into a blog post without losing any major content. I felt like it had a lot of unnecessary filler. She had fantastic points, but the content explaining those points were bland. Some of the stories/examples she gave sounded unbearably cheesy and unrealistic. While I try to respect that it I am a fan of Meg Meeker's podcast, so I have been wanting to read her book. Due to my enjoyment of her podcast, I had high expectations for her book... AND... I was disappointed. This book could have been condensed into a blog post without losing any major content. I felt like it had a lot of unnecessary filler. She had fantastic points, but the content explaining those points were bland. Some of the stories/examples she gave sounded unbearably cheesy and unrealistic. While I try to respect that it was written in the 2000s, I couldn't help but cringe every time she demonized MySpace and Instant Messaging. This is just one example of the times that she definitely played into the fears of parents. Most of the filler of her book seemed to want to create or intensify fear in parents. That approach was not necessary when she had such a good foundation of the book. In summary, I think the book had great ideas, but those ideas weren't articulated well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    The last 2 chapters largely redeemed this book. It was overly simplistic at times and very repetitive, but the take home points of spending time with our boys, nurturing relationship, and building character through example, rules, and the relationship you’ve built are good ones. The overall organization is a bit annoying too. There are 7 themes that run throughout the book that are the “7 secrets to raising healthy boys” but ultimately the 10 points summarized in the last chapter are the action The last 2 chapters largely redeemed this book. It was overly simplistic at times and very repetitive, but the take home points of spending time with our boys, nurturing relationship, and building character through example, rules, and the relationship you’ve built are good ones. The overall organization is a bit annoying too. There are 7 themes that run throughout the book that are the “7 secrets to raising healthy boys” but ultimately the 10 points summarized in the last chapter are the action points to take from the book. I enjoyed the conversation and theme of gender as it’s important to my values and beliefs, but I do feel that the authors view of masculinity and gender to be a bit stereotyped and narrow at times. Lastly, this book is a bit outdated in some of the examples and statistics given it being published in 2009.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Excellent book about raising boys and letting them be boys instead of the wimpy, politically correct emasculations that many social scientists and educators advocate. Meeker balances her experience as a renowned pediatrician with her motherhood to sons of her own and debunks the notion that science is supreme – “boys are just wired that way” – as the end-all. Instead, we as parents have responsibilities to be aware of our sons and to give them what they need most – us. Meeker also advocates – wit Excellent book about raising boys and letting them be boys instead of the wimpy, politically correct emasculations that many social scientists and educators advocate. Meeker balances her experience as a renowned pediatrician with her motherhood to sons of her own and debunks the notion that science is supreme – “boys are just wired that way” – as the end-all. Instead, we as parents have responsibilities to be aware of our sons and to give them what they need most – us. Meeker also advocates – with evidence from many studies, much research, and her own experience – that boys need to have faith in God. Filled with excellent advice and counsel, if you are raising boys, this is your “how-to” book. This is one I will certainly refer back to in the future and probably read again.

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