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Bringing Up Boys Paperback – February 22, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 536 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As he has in past books (Life on the Edge, LJ 5/1/95), Dobson advises parents from his overtly conservative, Christian stance. A notable Christian activist, powerfully connected right-winger, and founder and president of Focus on the Family, he has written a work with seemingly good intentions: "If you are honest, trustworthy, caring, loving, self-disciplined, and God-fearing, your boys will be influenced by those traits as they age.... So much depends on what they observe in you." True enough. His underlying arguments, however, are peculiarly mean-spirited. Any outsider who threatens traditional family values comes under fierce attack. Most early feminists, for example, "were never married, didn't like children, and deeply resented men, yet they advised millions of women about how to raise their children and, especially, how to produce healthy boys." Dobson also avows that gays suffer from a "disorder." Clearly, the titular advice and encouragement serve Dobson's agenda. While this book is appropriate for certain religious collections, public librarians should exercise caution; there are Christian parenting titles (e.g., William Sears, M.D., & Martha Sears's The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care, Broadman & Holman, 1997) that don't polemicize and defame as does this. Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Hartford
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Dobson, a psychologist and family counselor, takes a decidedly conservative approach to the "special challenge of raising boys." Celebrating the natural differences between boys and girls, Dobson outlines biological differences, particular issues in disciplining boys, and the different roles of mothers and fathers. He scoffs at those who attribute differences to social factors. Dobson is particularly critical of feminists and their influence on American culture, for example, the advent of nonsexist toys. Dobson sees the "future of Western civilization" dependent on how we handle the "crisis" of raising the next generation of men. Much of his advice on boy-rearing issues, from discipline to attention deficit disorder to coping with divorce, is biblically based. Each chapter ends with a question-and-answer format. The most controversial chapter examines the origins of homosexuality, calling it a "disorder" that can be cured. Conservative and Christian readers may enjoy Dobson's book; other readers are likely to take issue with some of his observations. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum; First Paperback Edition edition (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414304501
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414304502
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (536 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Let me start off by saying I am no conservative Christian. My husband bought this book for me as a sort of last-minute Christmas gift and he had no idea who James Dobson was. But hey, I'll read anything so I gave it a try.
I found myself agreeing with quite a few of his points, mainly about how our culture has become frantic, overscheduled, overworked, and how our children are the losers when parents become less involved in their lives and more involved in their own. He points out how kids who eat dinner with their parents on a regular basis seem to have fewer problems with the law, drugs, etc. He also talks about how popluar culture has become ever more toxic, something we must struggle to help our children cope with or protect them from it. I agree with all of these things, even though I'm considerably more on the liberal end of the spectrum.
At the core of the book (because it is about boys) is that this lack of parental involvement is harder on boys because they naturally need more supervision and guidance than girls to make good decisions. I really enjoyed reading his descriptions of how boys are more active and physical than girls because it gave me some insight into why my three year old loves running in circles roaring, then falling to the ground waving his legs in the air. The book gave me a lot of insight into how boys "work" and I think it will make me worry a lot less that my kid has something wrong with him if he finds it hard to sit still during Mass.
I skimmed over some of the chapter on homosexuality, enough to know I was going to have to agree to disagree with him on that one. However, I was surprised that his tone in that chapter was full of sympathy for the kid who thinks he's gay, although his opinion of what to do about it differs from mine.
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Format: Paperback
Having read a dozen or more negative reviews my conclusion is that they generally just come down to a disagreement on Dobson's view of certain issues, and not the meat of the book per say. These issues could be summarized in, the breakdown of the traditional family, misunderstanding of gender roles, and the effeminizing of males in our society. The majority of people who will negatively review this book are those who already disagree with it ideologically from the get-go.

The thing about "Bringing up Boys" is that it does not hit solely on the problem of radical feminism and homosexuality as it's main premise (despite what you may be led to believe by reading 1 and/or 2 star reviews), although it does highlight them in some areas as the main instigators of a deeper societal problem. The book actually focuses more on the importance of self-esteem, protecting your children from psychological abuse (i.e. teasing), self-control, the effects of violent media, the importance of positive role models, and highlighting the positive strengths of being male.

What you will get in this book is a world-view for raising boys. Despite what you may have been told, it is not about legalism, sexism, intolerance, "papal" obeisance, or whatever else you equate to religion, but instead a greater awareness of who your son is, through a Christian understanding of love, acceptance, and self-worth.

My advice is:
1. If you detest Christian worldview, then don't buy this book - it will rankle your skin
2. If you think you might disagree with something but can be an honest ideologist then eat the meat and spit out the "bones" - there's plenty of meat.
3.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a Pediatrician, and a patient's mother left this book following a visit. I took it home and began to look through it - I see such "How to raise kids" books frequently, as you can imagine. Most of it was good, solid, practical advice. Most parenting books are reminders of what we tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of daily life. That's a compliment, not a criticism. We physicians welcome any counsel to parents to relax about their little darlings, not fret about their child being slower or faster than another in their development, wondering if each challenge is evidence of some dire malady or another.
What I really liked about the book is the refreshing reminders about the nature of boys. Their physicality, their noise-level, their energy, their love of competition, weapons made from bread or play-dough, their dirty pants and laughter at funny sounds. That "the experts" believe that these are socialized or learned behaviors, and that "boys and girls are the same" has been a terrible disservice to our nation's little guys - and their parents.
Along with this calming counsel are chapters on the responsibility that comes with being a male. Finally, I dare to hope, boys may start to be raised to be men!
Hats off to the good doctor - I returned my patient's book and bought several copies for myself and colleagues.
Enjoy your boys!
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Format: Hardcover
A fantastic book, pulls no punches. I didn't agree with everything, and most people won't, either.
That doesn't detract from the main theme: That modern society and culture, and virtually every institution that interacts our boys is failing them, as are most parents.
From TV to teachers, boys are being shaped in un-natural ways by forces with agendas and others with false ideas, and in some instances by sheer laziness. The wreckage can be seen daily as you walk through our culture.
Mr. Dobson's book will point you towards building a more traditional, stronger man as a goal. It's the same role model so disparaged by a wide range of special interest groups.
A strong, emotionally healthy, masculine, and loving man is a threat to these groups, but will be a joy to a future spouse, children, employer, community, and country.
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