Sunday, October 12, 2008

Boys Adrift

I just read the most fascinating book by the author of Why Gender Matters, a book I raved about to everybody I talked to for weeks after reading. And this one--I can't stop talking about it either. Whether you parent boys, teach boys or have any interaction with boys in any way, you gotta read Boys Adrift. It's an intriguing exploration of the five factors Dr. Leonard Sax identifies as causing the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys. You know, the whole "failure to launch" phenomenon beginning in childhood and clearly evident in young men.

The following is a brief summary taken from the book's website:

The Five Factors Driving the Decline of Boys

  • Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.
  • Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.
  • Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.
  • Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.
  • Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.

For those who have daughters only, this is still something I would put on the required reading list. Afterall, those girls interact with boys and I would suspect you'd want her to be involved with young men living up to their full potential. I think it's quite telling that Dr. Sax dedicates this book to his own young daughter.

Such a interesting book. I'd love to hear anybody's comments on this.

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