Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boys Adrift: The 5 Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

Fantastic.  Really truly enjoyed reading this book.

As I've talked to people about this book, I have gotten the question, "Why did you want to read it?"  I think as a (retired) teacher, I am naturally interested in what makes boys and girls tick, or stop ticking.  I care about what is happening to our society and I feel like there has been a drastic decline in what was valued from even my parents' generation.  I have my own opinions about that, but I like reading what research and professionals have to say about it as well.  Furthermore, I have daughters.  I hope to one day have a son, but even if I don't, my daughters will one day marry a young man who I hope will have prepared himself not only spiritually and emotionally, but has prepared himself in such a way that he can provide for my daughter and their family.  Does this mean he has to be a millionaire?  No.  But I do expect my daughters to choose young men who are motivated to do what is necessary for the betterment of their family.  But what if those young men no longer exist?  I don't believe that is the case yet.  I see amazing boys who are working hard and becoming fine, strong, caring young men.  But the dynamics of family life and society are quickly changing...changing for the worse, in my opinion...and I want to make sure that I am doing all I can, as a parent and member of my community, to raise a generation that still believes in honesty, hard work, fortitude, and diligence.  If I don't have sons, I can certainly help support the parents who do.

What are the five factors that Dr. Sax discusses?

Changes at School
how our curriculum has changed over the past 30 years and the negative effects on our struggling boys

Video Games
not all games are bad, but he discusses the amount of time spent on video games, as well as they types of games

Medications for ADHD
a discussion of over-diagnosis and the different medications out there and their side effects -- including how the brain changes on these medications

Endocrine Disruptors
environmental toxins and hormonal and brain changes

Revenge of the Forsaken Gods
the lack of male role models, teaching of core values, and how our own American culture change is quite toxic to both boys and girls

Dr. Sax repeatedly says that not all boys are unmotivated and apathetic.  However, if our boys are, we need to look at these 5 factors and consider adjusting our own parenting techniques ~ stop the video games or at least limit them, look at what your son is eating and drinking, talk to his teachers and perhaps (if necessary) change schools, etc. 

I especially appreciated a section where Dr. Sax spoke about pornography and how lethal it is to our young boys.  For awhile, many people argued that it was normal, in fact...good, for boys to see pornography...that it did no harm.  I don't understand that, but I have obviously been raised differently than those who made those statements.  Now, the pornography addicted generation is growing up, and more and more research is coming out about the horrific effects of pornography.  Men can't carry on healthy relationships with women.  In fact, more and more men who are addicted to pornography don't even desire to be with women but would rather be alone with their pornography.  Dr. Sax clearly agrees with guarding our children from any kind of pornography as the results are devastating for individuals and relationships.  Though this part was small, it was thorough and very important for all parents to read and understand.

The book is not only enlightening due to the research and commentary, but he also gives suggestions for parents on what we can possibly do to combat such destructive influences.  

I really enjoyed this book and suggest everyone take time to read it whether you have sons or not.  I will most definitely keep it on my shelf as a parental resource book.  I now look forward to reading Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls, because I'm sure I will gain a lot of insights there as well.  



1 comment:

Amy said...

Jenny, my sister-in-law just recommended this book to me last week, so your review was very timely! I'm looking forward to reading it in the near future.


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