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328 of 339 people found the following review helpful
As the father of three daughters, I really admired Meg Meeker's "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters". Since I also have three sons, I was happy to read her new book "Boys Should Be Boys". Note that her first book had 10 secrets every father should know. This book has 7 secrets to raising healthy sons. I guess boys are simpler creatures.

The main thrust of the book is that boys need to explore, test their limits, and this can often lead to scrapes, bruises, dirty clothes, and even a broken bone or two. However, in our obsession to protect boys from their natural tendencies, we cosset them in a toxic environment of video games, online pseudo relationships, sexual influences from TV, movies, and the Web, and give them everything but our personal time and attention. Then we wonder why they have ADHD, stunted emotional growth, and difficulty in transitioning to manhood. The point of the book is not to blame parents, but to alert them to the dangers, to what it is that boys need, and to help them realize the extra effort that must be applied to raising their sons in order to counter the awful societal influences that are drowning our boys.

The book has twelve chapters and the first is an overview of this problem. The next seven go over the seven areas we need to pay attention to in raising our sons and grandsons. The second chapter discusses that we need to help our boys through the difficulties of peer pressure. While this is true in every generation, since our time is particularly toxic towards boys we need to be very careful about the influences and values being taught to them. The third discusses the natural tendency of boys to explore the woods, climb trees, play rough sports, and other `dangerous' activities. This is what boys SHOULD be doing. Meeker points out the health neighborhood games when teams are formed with boys of different ages and they have to work out leadership and test their limits versus the packaged formal team sports where every boy is the same age and the parents run everything including protecting the boys from winning and losing.

The fourth chapter explores the dangers of boys getting lost in the world of electronics. While there is nothing wrong with computers, iPods, or other electronic devices in and of themselves, there are very bad influences there that they need to be kept from. They also must not be allowed to become addicted to them and the influences they can find there. Spending vast numbers of hours on video games, online `relationships', and who knows what else, is a very bad thing for growing boys. They need real world friends, experiences, and skill development - especially social skills.

The fifth deals with societal animosity towards teenage boys. I know some will scream that this is not true because they are thinking of the kind of moody, depressed, and angry boy they have created and then want to fix. This kind of moody teenager is much more a media creation and now a societal reality than it should be in the real world. Yes, depression is very serious and should be treated by competent medical doctors, but if you raise healthy boys that experience healthy activities and friends, they will be much less likely to develop these problems.

The sixth tells you the true way to build self-confidence and mental health. You encourage them at all times (praise should dominate criticism ten statements to one). You should also help them, train them, and show them activities they can master. The feeling of accomplishment is a powerful emotional resource builder. And you help them get into competitive experiences and especially those where they can taste winning more than losing. Viewing themselves as winners and knowing that feeling is also a powerful force as they move through life.

The seventh chapter examines the role of mothers in a son's life and the necessity of the unconditional love a mother provides. She is his defender, will praise him when no one else will, and comforts him when he does feel defeated. The eighth is the strength a dad provides when he participates in a son's life in a real and present way. Providing an example of the virtues you want your boy to have is essential. Setting high standards for him that you model and support him developing (through encouragement, not criticism) is essential.

Chapter nine shows us why so many men are just older boys. They never made that difficult step of transitioning from being boys to men. This is a stage they must be helped through and having a role model of a good man (the father) to emulate along with providing a loving expectation that they must make the transition is critical to supporting them taking that difficult step.

Personally, I think chapter ten is one our society should pay very close attention to. Too many families stay away from Church. Oh, they may say they are of this or that faith, but they don't get involved as a family that makes their faith a part of their everyday lives. By helping your boy develop a strong faith in God you will help him build reserves of hope, an understanding of love beyond the erotic, the importance of truth, an understanding of repentance and forgiveness, and a security in the unfolding of his life. No, you can't just send them to church and think you have done your job.

Chapter eleven examines the some other core virtues we want our men to have so they must develop them as boys. These virtues are integrity, courage, humility, meekness, and kindness. Just because we want the boys to be strong and confident does not mean we want them to be blustering bullies.

Meeker ends the book with a chapter listing ten tips.
1) Know that you change his world
2) Raise him from the inside out (worry about his inner life and the outer life will follow)
3) Help his masculinity to explode
4) Help him find purpose and passion (other than being a video game master)
5) Teach him to serve (this is where Church can come in handy)
6) Insist on self-respect
7) Persevere
8) Be his hero
9) Watch, then watch again (pay close attention to what is going on in his life)
10) Give him the best of yourself (not just the leftovers)

An excellent book that I highly recommend.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI

Here is her book on Fathers and Daughters:
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
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90 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
As an elementary school principal, I see boys who are being "smothered" and whose well meaning "helicopter mom" is crushing them. Our educational system is primarily female at the elementary level and these incredible educators need to know what boys are like. Boys are not disfunctional girls.

This is a great book that brings together some of the most sound advice on helping boys become men.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
I'm a parent of 3 and the oldest being a boy.I'm encouraged when she talks about parents being the #1 influence in a boy's life and not peer pressure.
I agree that boys are over scheduled with organized sports and spend too much time playing violent video games. I feel empowered to encourage my son to spend time in the great outdoors pretending he's hunting wild animals and building tree forts. I especially love when she talks about it's not "all about me" but putting others 1st and teaching him to serve those in need.
Let's teach them honesty,humility,kindness and self respect. That "raising him from the inside out" Thank you, Dr. Meeker for all your words of wisdom.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2008
I am a mother of two boys 9 and 12 and this book is helping me have adifferent attitude. yes, we are different. Both males and females think differently, act differently, and have different needs. It does not mean one of us is better. Very informative and easy to read. I read another book by this author and I think she explains concepts in a plain and understandable way. Great book for both mothers and fathers.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2008
I have two boys that are 21 and 18. They are being raised right in the midst of this modern day sexual revolution that is media enticed. Dr. Meeker's book is filled with factual proof and evidence that boys and their parents need a wake up call! Dr. Meeker does not point any fingers. She simply states the facts and provides the tools to help lead our boys in the right direction. Its never too late!!!! Get informed..stop turning your back. You won't regret it.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2008
This is a must read book. Dr. Meeker has highlighted the wonderful differences between males and females and the importance in maintaining those differences. This book is educational and inspiring! She praises male adolescence and gives great guidence for the parents of those adolescence.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2008
'Boys Should Be Boys' by Dr. Meeker has given me new insight on how to raise moral and respectable boys. It is very relevant to today's culture and provides solutions and suggestions for almost any parenting situation. Her personal professional and life experiences give such convicting evidence in how well thought out and helpful this book is and will be for any parent with boys.
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40 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2008
I read this book because I have 2 boys. I read as many parenting books about boys as I can get my hands on. I found some useful nuggets of information in this book. However, I found much of it to be common sense stuff. Although I will keep it in my library of books for future reference as my little boys grow older. So far, Raising Cain is my favorite book on raising boys.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Dr. Meg Meeker's BOYS SHOULD BE BOYS delivers a load of common sense, supported by research and experience, invaluable in a world in which "Common sense is not so common" (Voltaire). This refreshing read took me back to the carefree days of my youth, lived out in a small Midwestern town, when and where boys could be boys, and were encouraged to be boys, and usually succeeded pretty well at it.

Meeker's book is a call to fight the good fight, to continually recommit to saving our boys from a culture that would corrupt or nullify them and sweep them away. In the process, we cannot help but change that culture into one that would bring out the best in boys, and in girls, and in us adults, as well. Meeker pulls no punches about the primary place of parents grounded in faith in effecting this transformation. Nor does she allow for the contemporary cop-out of replacing "quantity time" with "quality time." The family meal, essential to our Judeo-Christian tradition, is a good place to start--tonight, and tomorrow night, and for every night thereafter.

For additional reading on this subject, I would strongly recommend Christina Hoff Sommers' THE WAR AGAINST BOYS.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2009
As a mother of three sons, I have read many books on raising healthy and emotionally mature boys over the years. Although my boys are older now (two recent college grads and one college sophomore), I was intrigued with this book after reading several book reviews. I can honestly say that this author is "spot on" in her assessment of the physical and emotional needs of our young men today. As I mentioned, I have read many books on boys and this is by far, one of the very best. Looking back at the lives of our three sons, I find that each of the 7 secrets, listed by the author, are critical in raising a male to maturity. Our boys need gentle, calm, and available mothers and fathers in their lives. They need unconditional love from parents that are fully vested in their lives and their specific journey. If you have a son, this book will only enhance your parenting and make you keenly aware of the needs of your male child. Great book!
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