Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood is a book of male child psychology by William Pollack, first published on 1999-05-10. Its message is that boys are pushed too often and too early to become stoic and independent according to an out-dated sexist "boy-code" which can cause mental health problems that will result in emotional instability and bad behavior. The book gives several ideas for how to correct these problems.
I picked this book up at a library book sale. I was interested in it from the title, because my boyhood childhood wasn't anything like the storybook version. I also read it in preparation of becoming a parent, and, naturally, I ended up having two girls, however, the general message--don't raise children to be stereotypes--is useful for everyone.
I own a first edition hardcover and have read it.
- I found myself nodding in agreement to nearly everything the author wrote about boys becoming emotionally scarred from always being told to man-up and tough it out, not to display emotions (especially sadness and fear), and from mothers being told to distance themselves from their boys and not to coddle them.
- While I found a lot of what the author said to be common sense, there were plenty of interesting pieces of advice that I hadn't considered.
- The book covers a wide range of topics including divorce, puberty, drugs, sexuality, bullying, abuse, and provides constructive methods for educating and mentoring young men about them.
- Although the book provides a long list of sources, it doesn't cite them as you read along, which makes it very difficult to look anything up for yourself.
- The author uses the phrase "I believe..." too often for my taste. While I appreciate his honesty, and I'm okay with a person giving me their interpretation of data, I prefer the sentences which read, "double-blind scientific studies show..." However, it's probably safe to say that a lot of professional research still needs to be conducted in the field of child psychology before much can be said with a high degree of confidence.