i wrote a review for this book:
what i am interested in, and why i am posting this, is a recommendation like this, about the emotional life of boys from a Christian viewpoint. I am simply not aware of what is out there.book review- Raising Cain
Raising Cain protecting the emotional life of boys
dan kindlon and michael thompson
I obtained the book as a result of watching the PBS special with the same name.
Frankly the documentary bothered and worried me, are things really that bad out in the world with boys growing up?
The book is, gratefully, not nearly as dark and foreboding at the TV. But it is worrysome, has this culture made it nearly impossible for a boy to grow into a mature responsible man?
The book doesn't answer this question for me, but has a level of hopefulness and optimism that i can respect and even grasp onto.
About 1/2 the book, paragraph wise, are interviews with people, partly boys in therapy, partly men looking back on their childhood/boyhood/young adult years and seeing how the current man is a product of those years and how understanding what happened to him can heal and grow his personality. The book is mostly descriptive with the last chapter prescriptive, although there are lots of good "how-to-do" ideas spread throughout. However it does not strive to tell people what to do, but is cautiously trying to lead the reader into the authors' understandings without being preaching or pushy. Much like the way they handle their interviews.
KIds don't come with instruction manuals, unfortunately. I joke that the first kid is a throw away, we messed up so many times with him that it is a wonder that he turned out so well. I suspect most parents would appreciate reading this book BEFORE they raise sons, not long afterwards as i am doing. Sadly, i could have used both his insights and his gentle attitude of respect for boys' emotional growth as we raised our sons. Maybe giving this to a friend of yours who just had a first son is the best recommendation i can make.
Now i am not trained in this, nor related fields of psychology. I do not have the reference points to tell you that this is the best book, just an idea that it is a good book. I can't tell you that he is right on everything, but he is on the right track. The emotional problems with boys are serious, our culture both in the schools, small young male groups, and the general society is pushing boys and men towards holding their emotions inside and not expressing them and using the experiences to mature and grow. But the book doesn't offer big solutions to these problems, but pretty much sticks to one boy at a time, one small victory after another approach. The amazing thing is that these two men are still so positive, so energetic after seeing these things up close for more than 15 years a piece. Little burnout detected here, a challenge to continue and to justify their optimism to us as well as a kudos to each, puts them into the best of their field, i'm sure.
It's an easy, fun, quick read, i usually read pretty dense difficult stuff and appreciate the opportunity to practice my speed reading. I don't see that any chapter is better example than any other, although the last chapter is a must read for recommendations for how to approach raising your own kids. So my recommendation is just to open the book and read 10 pages or so for flavor then turn to the last chapter "Raising Cain" and read it entirely, then decide whether or not the book is worth your time.