Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

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9780718143718: Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

In Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., two of the country's leading child psychologists, share what they have learned in more than thirty-five years of combined experience working with boys and their families. They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting--sad, afraid, angry, and silent. Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they're not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that "cool" equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of "mother blame," "boy biology," and "testosterone," the authors shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive--the emotional miseducation of boys.

Kindlon and Thompson make a compelling case that emotional literacy is the most valuable gift we can offer our sons, urging parents to recognize the price boys pay when we hold them to an impossible standard of manhood. They identify the social and emotional challenges that boys encounter in school and show how parents can help boys cultivate emotional awareness and empathy--giving them the vital connections and support they need to navigate the social pressures of youth.

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Review:

Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher's groundbreaking book, exposed the toxic environment faced by adolescent girls in our society. Now, from the same publisher, comes Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson, which does the same for adolescent boys. Boys suffer from a too-narrow definition of masculinity, the authors assert as they expose and discuss the relationship between vulnerability and developing sexuality, the "culture of cruelty" boys live in, the "tyranny of toughness," the disadvantages of being a boy in elementary school, how boys' emotional lives are squelched, and what we, as a society, can do about all this without turning "boys into girls." "Our premise is that boys will be better off if boys are better understood--and if they are encouraged to become more emotionally literate," the authors assert. As a tool for change, Kindlon and Thompsom present the well-developed "What Boys Need," seven points that reach far beyond the ordinary psychobabble checklist and slogan list. Kindlon (researcher and psychology professor at Harvard and practicing psychotherapist specializing in boys) and Thompson (child psychologist, workshop leader, and staff psychologist of an all-boys school) have created a chilling portrait of male adolescence in America. Through personal stories and theoretical discussion, this well-needed book plumbs the well of sadness, anger, and fear in America's teenage sons. --Ericka Lutz

From the Back Cover:

"Raising Cain gives a long-needed insight into that mysterious, magical land, the psyches of boys. Every parent, teacher--or anyone who wants boys to flourish--should read this book."
--DANIEL GOLEMAN
Author of Emotional Intelligence

"If you love a boy, were a boy, or care about boys and the men they become, read this book. Perfectly balancing cutting-edge science with engaging anecdotes and arrestingly useful insights, Kindlon and Thompson have written the book on boys. It is superb."
--EDWARD M. HALLOWELL
Author of Driven to Distraction and Worry

"Raising Cain is an important book and a fascinating read. Kindlon and Thompson are persuasive in their argument that it would be good for boys to become more 'emotionally literate,' to understand their feelings and those of others more. Parents and teachers will welcome the valuable suggestions for how to stay tuned in to a boy, while respecting his autonomy. Raising Cain gives us a much-needed glimpse into the inner lives of boys. I found it quite absorbing."
--ELEANOR MACCOBY, PH.D.
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Stanford University
Author of The Psychology of Sex Differences and
The Two Sexes: Growing up Apart, Coming Together

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Dan Kindlon Ph.D, Michael Thompson, Ph.D
Published by Michael Joseph (1999)
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Michael Thompson, Ph.D. Dan Kindlon Ph.D
Published by Michael Joseph (1999)
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