Fear Of Boys: How Society -- And Schools -- Misunderstand & Stereotype Boys

As several of you know, I was a big fan of Raising Cain when it came out a few years ago.

At the time, the book helped me understand a lot about what was going on in the mind of my then-girlfriend's nine year-old son. The book also named many things that had taken place in my own childhood, which was like others filled mostly by mothers and sisters and female teachers (and 70's-era feminism).

Now the PBS version is being broadcast, with lots of online materials that may be especially helpful to parents of boys --and especially perhaps to female teachers who work with boys.


To be sure, the book and video can come off a lot like Dr. Phil for boys. I'm sure there are some who will take objection, or ridicule the notion that boys need or deserve special attention or understanding in school or in life.

But there's some good stuff in there as well -- including most notably the observation that many people not only tend to see boys' flaws rather than their strengths but also are
scared of boys. Think about that. I think it's true. Not just for women.

Boys can be unruly and out of control, and some are big. But our fearful, negative, and sometimes even punitive reactions are just as much the problem as boys' behavior, according to Raising Cain. We react to aggressiveness or even high activity levels as if they are something akin to -- on the verge of -- adult aggressiveness or even violence, which of course they almost always aren't .

According to Raising Cain, the positive traits of boys characteristically include the desire to help and protect, to solve problems, and to be courageous not just physically but emotionally. These positive traits can be strengthened, and some of the characteristic misunderstandings of boys can be addressed.


Post a Comment

<< Home