When boys don’t talk, it is a way of protecting and preserving themselves. It should not be interpreted as disinterest or a lack of need for emotional involvement. On the contrary, boys want and need emotional closeness with their parents – and in particular, with their mothers. In Why Boys Don’t Talk – and Why It Matters: A Parent’s Survival Guide to Connecting with Your Teen, teen experts Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon, LCSW-C, M.Ed. address the harsh realities and societal pressures facing teenage boys today, and provide parents with essential suggestions on how to maintain emotional connections with their sons.
As professionals in the fields of gender and adolescent issues, and both mothers of boys, Shaffer and Gordon have extensively interviewed teenage boys and girls, mothers, fathers, coaches, counselors, teachers, and psychologists to outline key issues. From these findings, they provide strategies for parents, and identify resources for increasing the ways in which boys can both stay connected and become men.
In their research, the authors have found the range of acceptable outlets for boys to be much narrower than it is for girls. Society pressures mothers into pushing away their sons for fear that their children may otherwise become dependent and enmeshed. Becoming a man is understood as becoming autonomous, self-sufficient, independent, and of course, separate. This may be achieved at the expense of learning how to stay connected with others, be intimate, participate in family responsibilities, and create a community.
Why Boys Don’t Talk – and Why It Matters provides parents with the confidence to find their own voice, trust their instincts, and maintain emotional connections with their sons. Included is invaluable advice, such as how to:
- Encourage empathy in the home.
- Help build closeness and a sense of family.
- Interrupt the cycle of racism by discussing all aspects of intolerance.
- Read boys’ subtle cues.
- Set firm, consistent limits to encourage responsibility.
- Participate in school and community activities to make sure that your child’s needs are met when you’re not present.
Why Boys Don’t Talk – and Why It Matters is a user-friendly resource for anyone interested in learning how to crack the shell surrounding adolescent boys.
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