While there’s been a big push in recent decades to help girls thrive in school and in the workplace, boys in America have quietly been struggling. For example, boys are more likely to have learning and discipline issues in school and are less likely to graduate high school than girls, more women are now attending college than men and are earning more bachelors and masters degrees than men, the incarceration rate for boys has increased in the past few decades, and suicide rates have increased among teenage boys. What’s more, teachers and therapists have reported that boys seem increasingly disengaged from school and life.
If boys are having so much trouble, why don’t we hear more about it? And more importantly, what can we do as parents, teachers, and mentors to help them?
My guest today has spent his career researching childhood development and helping boys become fulfilled men. His name is Michael Gurian, and in his latest book, Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys, he provides insights on why America’s boy problem is ignored, as well as concrete steps that parents and mentors can take to help these young men grow up well.
Today on the show, Michael explains what the “Dominant Gender Paradigm” is and why it causes institutions to ignore the problems of boys and young men, what people get wrong about male violence, and what male anhedonia is. He then argues that if we want to help boys (and girls) we need to approach things from what he calls a “Nature Based Theory,” which recognizes that while boys and girls have a lot in common, there are biological differences that influence the way boys learn, socialize, and behave. Michael then provides concrete things parents and schools can do to cater to these differences in boys to help them thrive and become resilient men.
If you’re the parent of boy or if you teach or mentor young boys, you don’t want to miss this episode.
- Why do boys need saving?
- The ways in which boys are falling behind girls in academics, health, and more
- Why the unique problems of boys are often ignored
- What is the dominant gender paradigm (DGP)?
- The nature based theory of gender, and how sex and gender are different things
- The differences between the male and female brain
- Why girls and boys require different strategies in parenting
- How do males nurture differently than women?
- What is male anhedonia?
- How neurotoxins affect boys, and how they’re brought about
- How schools are failing boys, and how to know if a school is boy-friendly
- How to constructively help schools and teachers be more boy-friendly
- The benefits of competition for boys
- How college campuses have become unfriendly for males
- How screen time and video games are especially dangerous for young boys
- The ways you can turn video games into assets
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- My first podcast interview with Michael Gurian
- The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian
- All of Michael Gurian’s books
- Podcast: The Forgotten History of Autism
- Our series on overprotective parenting
- Our series on male depression
- Our series on testosterone
- Podcast: Boys Adrift
- Competition: The Fuel for Greatness
- Podcast: The Science of Competition
- Leonard Sax
Michael Gurian does a great job tackling touchy issues in a candid, yet nuanced way. But what I like more about his work is that instead of just describing the problems that boys face, he provides concrete steps that parents and teachers can take to help them. Saving Our Sons is a must read for every father of boys.
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
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Last updated: August 2, 2017