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Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys Paperback – January 23, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


James, Stephen & David Thomas. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. Tyndale House. Feb. 2009. c.351p. ISBN 978-1-4143-2227-8. pap. $14.99. CHILD REARING

This worthy, engaging owner's manual on boys aged two to 22 is written from a reserved, supportive Christian perspective. With five sons between them, the authors (both therapists) view testosterone-fueled shenanigans with droll humor and encourage parents to remain calm when upsetting things inevitably occur. The authors aptly demonstrate their view that "[t]he older a boy gets, the more he needs from his caregivers." With real-life examples both mundane and dramatic, they discuss characteristics frequently shared among boys of similar ages and provide guidance on what boys need most during those stages. Practical direction (e.g., give young "Explorers" "space to roam"), along with encouragement to be open and honest when parenting, is constant. While some suggestions (e.g., monitoring MySpace accounts or backpack inspections) may alarm some at first, they are tempered by the authors' admonition to "keep a watchful eye" and inform sons you'll be doing so. The work effectively straddles William Sears's attachment parenting and the more openly authoritative style of John Rosemond. In a crowded field, this work is highly recommended for all public libraries and for collections supporting teachers and the helping professions.--Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Hartford --Library Journal, February 2009


"As a pediatrician I see parents everyday wrestling with how to understand and guide their sons. If you're looking for practical parenting skills these pages are filled with sound advice. The authors break down each stage of a boy's journey and it is filled with effective, simple tips that you can implement now. This book is one of the best parenting resources I've seen. " -- Dr Linda Brady, Pediatrician, Nashville "I loved this book! As a single mom for the past seven years, I couldn't wait to dive into David and Stephen's timely work. This mom of two wild things and two softer things needed their roadmap and driving instructions for the dangerous journey we are traveling. Bless you both for the wisdom you have given to me. May all our boys be nurtured and loved until they are the honorable men God intended for them to become." --Angela Thomas, Speaker and Best-selling author of My Single Mom Life. "David and Stephen have once again demonstrated the beauty and power of fraternal collaboration in their newest book, Mentoring Boys. If I didn't know otherwise, I would assume these two guys were grand-dads, not young dads, when I consider the depth of wisdom and breadth of practical applications captured between the covers of this volume. How I wish I had this book when my son was younger, yet the same principles of loving well are applicable from generation to generation. If you want hope and not hype, but this book. It is a joy to unequivocally endorse it, and I look forward to putting it in the hands of many dads, and moms as well. " -- Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor Christ Community Church "God has entrusted a unique and powerful gift to Dave Thomas to understand the complex language of a boy's heart and help interpret it for us who love them. This is an important book about a very important subject."

--Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414322275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414322278
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Lori Kasbeer on February 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a mother to all boys, you can imagine I have read my share of books on raising boys. If there was ever a manual in raising boys, this is it! Stephen James and David Thomas understand what it takes to develop a boy into manhood.

In Wild Things they guide readers through the five stages of a boy's development, detailing each stage, along with new principles to put into action. They also cover topics in how parents should discuss sex, homosexuality, and pornography with their boys. Stephen James and David Thomas lay out the three most important factors in keeping a boy from experimenting with drugs, along with the role of a father and the role of a mother in raising them to become a man.

If you are raising a boy or know someone that is, I highly recommend his book. Even though my boys are high school age, I still use it for reference.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Janna R. Ryan on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have been reading "Wild Things" and being the mother of 3 boys myself I am very impressed by what I have read so far. The book is broken down into different age groups of boys and I have Stephen in The Lovers group (5-8 years) and Philip in The Individual group (9-12). They nailed Stephen to a tee and Philip is pretty close (he is also not your typical boy). Each age group is then broken into:
1) The Way of a Boy
2) The Mind of a Boy
3) The Heart of a Boy
And then there is a Hot Topics section toward the back and I don't agree with everything in the Hot Topics section, but that would be why they are Hot Topics, right? The only thing I have personally disagreed with so far is that "Love and Logic" is recommended by the authors and I don't agree with Love and Logic methods. So like most parenting stuff out there, you have to take some of it with a grain of salt. But overall these guys got it right, especially when it comes to helping you understand your sons by breaking them down into age groups and heart, mind and behavior. I would recommend this book - I'm actually considering putting together a mom's book study on it because I think it is so beneficial.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jesse on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've read a bunch of parenting books - but, I must say that this one is one of my faves. When I read it, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time with a bunch of fluff. There are great sections on practical areas such as developmental stages, learning, relationships, discipline and more. The book is big - 340 pages - but it is well worth reading all the way through.

Section One: The Way of a Boy
In this section, James and Thomas describe the different developmental stages that a boy goes through. And they give helpful tips for parents at the end of each description.

Section Two: The Mind of a Boy
The first part of this section reviews what a boy's mind is like physiologically, and the theoretical implications of that. It basically puts forth that boys are typically spatial, problem-solving, and may struggle in the schoolroom environment for various reasons.

Section Three: The Heart of a Boy
This final section of the book is divided up into 4 chapters: Nurturing a Boy's Heart, A Boy and his Mother, A Boy and his Father, and Rituals, Ceremonies, and Rites of Passage. The book then ends with a few pages on hot-button topics such as: sex, drugs, porno, ADD, etc..
Near the beginning of this section, they say,
"No guy makes it past seventeen or eighteen without receiving his fair share of dings to his manhood - and that's if he's lucky. By the time most guys get their driver's license, they have already experienced enough emotional and spiritual fender benders that their hearts are dented for years to come...When a guy's heart has been wounded, the results are significant: Self-protection, distrust of others, suspicion of God, and fervent reliance on the four horsemen of self-sufficiency: training, talent, intellect, and willpower.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kaeli Vandertulip on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
In the classic children's story Where the Wild Things Are, little Max goes through the life journey of a boy in one night. In this book, authors Steven James and David Thomas describe the steps a parent must take to help nurture a son into the best man his nature allows him to be. They follow the general path all boys take from Wanderer toddler to Warrior man, giving mothers, fathers, and caregivers suggestions on what will probably happen, good ways to respond, and lots of "This too shall pass" assurances.
These family therapists draw heavily on the "Love and Logic" parenting camp and rely heavily on anecdotal evidence for their work. Though they are Christian therapists, anyone who has some kind of religious belief can draw good suggestions from their writings (atheists, you'll just have to skip over any mentions of God-the book is helpful enough to do so). They are somewhat understanding in discussing homosexuality, but for the most part, eschew the topic. With that, their discussions of masturbation and pornography, I'm sure there are plenty of people who will dislike this book, either because they are too conservative or too liberal. I think for a general parenting book, they struck a good balance. But, they also make so many points throughout the book to take what works for your son and ignore what doesn't, it doesn't feel like any of their suggestions on these topics need to be followed like dictates anyways.
Their descriptions of how boys act are general enough for me to see both my 5 year old autistic son in their descriptions, and my boyfriend's normal 7 year old. But these general descriptions are also specific enough for me to find good suggestions for interacting with both boys.
I was appreciative of their chapter on boys and their mothers.
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