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Why Boys Don't Talk - and Why it Matters Paperback – December 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071417877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071417877
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This book explores the reticence of boys: what it signifies and how to decipher the meanings behind the silence. The book emphasizes the importance of staying connected to children as they grow into adolescence. Shaffer, an educator, and Gordon, a clinical social worker, explain the cultural and social constraints behind boys' unwillingness to talk. Fearful of the appearance of vulnerability, boys aren't willing to risk exposure of their feelings by talking and instead use competitiveness as an acceptable model for expressing emotions. The authors provide strategies for enhancing opportunities to connect more deeply and emotionally with boys and explore the cultural conventions regarding ideals of masculinity, encouraging parents to help teens develop more independent and individual self-images. Particular issues facing boys of color are addressed in separate chapters. The authors also offer specific strategies: for instance, boys need to be taught empathy; and parents need to value attachment in their sons as well as their daughters. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Back Cover

"This wise and warm book encourages mothers not to let their sons become unemotional robots but instead to stay connected."
--Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology, SUNY Stony Brook

"Shaffer and Gordon shed light on the cultural reasons boys frequently don't talk and then show how to encourage conversation and when to respect the necessary silences."
--Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence

Whatever happened to that chatty little boy brimming with quirky facts and interminable accounts of his adventures? When did your son grow into the sullen stranger in your house who communicates through shrugs and one-word answers? Is this just part of growing up or is it a sign that something is wrong?

In Why Boys Don't Talk--and Why It Matters, Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon draw on their professional and personal experiences to provide answers to those common questions. You'll discover why adolescent boys often feel the need to protect themselves behind a wall of silence and why it's important to your son's emotional health to break through that wall. Most important, you'll gain the knowledge and tools you need to:

  • Recognize and understand the subtle ways boys communicate connection
  • Reopen the lines of communication with your adolescent son
  • Help him learn to express his feelings and experience a range of normal emotions
  • Maintain strong emotional bonds with your son in order to support his positive growth and development

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Bartlett on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
We heard the authors on a radio talk show and immediately bought the book. We needed help in communicating with our teenage son and the strategies and insights in this book profoundly altered our perspective. We have since bought the book for friends who also have teenage sons and everyone has had the same positive experience. This is a terrific book and it can really make a difference.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killion on July 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the authors is "a nationally acclaimed gender equity specialist" and the other has a masters degree from an ed school. Yikes! Those credentials are enough to raise doubts as to whether the book will actually celebrate boys, or join in the popular boy-bashing trend. Indeed, goodly chunks of the book suggest how to get boys to "connect" emotionally, in other words, to be more like girls. But a major clue is the book's treatment of school. A handful of pages are devoted to reciting the now well-known litany of the facts concerning awful performance of boys in schools: poor reading records, grades below those of girls in every subject but math and science, worse graduate rates, the vanishing occurrence of boys on college campuses, and the massive amount of Ritalin dispensed to boys. The authors respond to this list with the usual groundless claims, things like boys are more active and therefore need more activity in schools. But as when delivered by many other authors as well, such "explanations" fail to note that the performance of boys has collapsed over time -- it did not used to be this bad! The clear implication is that we cannot simply suffice with explanations blaming supposed inherent defects in boys (as feminist die-hards would prefer). Instead, we must look for exogenous causes for what has happened to our boys -- in other words, what has changed in the environment that is hurting boys? The obvious nexis of the problem is schools, where in the last few decades progressivist/constructivist theories have devasted traditional instructional approaches. Instead of immersing children in a basis of a solid, fact-based understanding of the world, we now ask them for touchie-feelie essays on how they feel about obscure topics they've been taught nothing about.Read more ›
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