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It's a Boy!: Understanding Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18 Hardcover – March 25, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Addressing recent troubling studies about boys in the U.S. authors Thompson and Barker (Raising Cain; Speaking of Boys) underscore the developmental differences between girls and boys that often compel boys to underachieve in school and embrace destructive behavior. The authors aim to rectify a sense of parental loss of trust in boys' development by advocating early unconditional love, strong maternal attachment, restraint of corporal punishment and sexist stereotyping, strong father participation and safe places where boys can engage in undirected, outside play. The trend toward earlier academic performance in school does not suit boys' development, as they tend to learn language and reading slower than girls, hear less well and fidget. Educators and psychologists share their opinions, all in the spirit of embracing boys' unique energy and intellect. Ages 11 to 13 bring startling changes, which the authors examine under the five tasks of adolescence, while ages 14 to 15 invite a mysterious inner life, and ages 16 to 18 present challenges regarding independence, sexuality and responsibility. In this upbeat guide, Thompson especially relies on his good-sense experience as a father and educator to remind parents not to criticize behavior that is typical for boys. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Advance praise for It’s a Boy!

“It’s a Boy! is a powerful guide to raising a son in today’s world. Filled with stories from the front lines and practical advice, it is gentle and compassionate, yet also moving and beautiful. The heart of a boy beats in every page.”
–Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys

“Michael Thompson has gradually earned his place as the Warren Buffett of child rearing, the real deal. His track record of uncanny timing, his hard-won knowledge, common sense, and humanism have resonated with parents everywhere. Now there is a desperate need to understand our boys more deeply; there is a palpable hunger to learn how to handle our sons better. It’s a Boy! does both in a way not seen before. It’s a Boy! will help your son to feel more loved, understood, and effectively guided by you–forever.”
–Ron Taffel, Ph.D., author of Parenting by Heart: How to Stay Connected to Your Child in a Disconnected World

“Spectacular . . . extraordinary insight, enriched by countless poignant and telling stories of boys and their parents and teachers. It’s a Boy! is an immensely helpful navigational chart for steering through the shoals of a boy’s developmental stages.”
–Patrick F. Bassett, president, National Association of Independent Schools

“Wise, sensible, accessible, useful–this is the must-have book every parent of a boy will want and need to turn to as their child grows from a baby to an adolescent. Illuminated by Thompson’s years of experience working with boys and their families, this book is chock-full of new insights and the latest science about the ages and stages of boys’ development. It’s a Boy! is a book that parents, educators, health professionals, and policy makers will go back to again and again and each time come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of why ‘boys will be boys.’”
–Robie H. Harris, author of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

“Bringing together the latest research and the most timeless knowledge and wisdom, this monumental book is unique, invaluable, and urgently important. Any person who cares about boys must own this book, as it addresses every relevant question and provides not only authoritative answers but also comfort, warmth, enthusiasm, and spark. What a truly amazing achievement, what a gift Dr. Thompson has given us all.”
–Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345493958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345493958
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur VINE VOICE on April 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"It's a Boy: Understanding Your Son's Development From Birth to Age 18" by Michael Thompson, Ph.D. is one of the best parenting books I've seen as far as being dedicated to understanding what is going on in a boy's brain. As a mother of two boys, I admit that sometimes I am completely befuddled by their behavior. I have (obviously) never been a little boy and because of that, I can't necessarily relate to what they are going through. Dr. Thompson describes what is going on in their heads and also helps parents to realize that their son's behavior is normal and what it should be.

Dr. Thompson also does a great job of describing why so many boys have so much trouble in school and offers some solutions as to what can be done to fix it. I wish I could photocopy whole chapters of this book to distribute to my sons' teachers. Teachers, most of whom are women, especially if they have never had any sons of their own, often just don't get little boy behavior. This book would help so much in their understanding.
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Format: Hardcover
I felt that the book was geered for parents with only "stereo-typical" boys, which I do not have. If your son is a typical high energy boy, then this is the book for you. If your son is more sensitive and laid back, there is not much in this book to answer your questions or validate your parenting tactics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to start by saying that I found this book on Amazon when I was searching for some understanding of my 7 and 10 year old sons - who are very different, and yet I still don't always "get them". As a mom who never had a brother - I've often been a bit aloof with understanding "is this normal" when it came to my son. So - not willing to spend the money on an unknown - I first went to the library and checked out this book. After one week of on-and-off reading, I was sold and purchased my very own copy of this book.

Not only does this book help understand "what is normal" for boys regarding physical, emotional, social and educational development - it also helps every mom who didn't grow up with boys understand that boys aren't anything like girls! Maybe that was a personal thing I had to realize on my own, but this book helped me understand how wonderfully different they really are. Rather than wondering why my son isn't chatty or the friend-seeker that I thought he should be because of his age, I now understand that he is a well-adjusted boy. That has brought a great peace to my mind. Also, it easy highlights where the "red-flags" should be in all forms of development while also giving suggestions for the proper response. As an added bonus, I should also mention that this book has helped me understand my husband a bit better, too!

One last thing - I'm not an avid reader, so taking on a book this big seamed really daunting. However, the book is formatted in a way that makes it an easy read due to the age separation, the breakout sections that highlight the different types of development, and the relate-able stories and lessons learned from them. You don't need to read it all at once, rather hang on to it and consult with it over the years. I will now buy this book for friends of mine who are expecting boys. The "what to expect" books are great for the first year and a half of life, but for boys, this is the must have for the remaining 17 years.
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I really needed some insight into how little boys' minds work. I have an almost 2 year old son and many of his behaviors I'm not used to since I wasn't around boys much growing up. This book is very helpful in that it focuses on what boys need and want, how and why they behave so much differently than girls, and how to better help them deal with different challenges and issues they may have as they grow up. It's very insightful and has helped me to understand my toddler so much better and my husband also. I'm almost halfway through this book and already I love it and plan on using it as a guide for many years. I like that it is broken into different age groups and that there are other parents' stories and comments throughout the book that I can relate to now and in the future. I feel that this book is a must have for parents, teachers, caretakers, and anyone who works with boys.
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Format: Paperback
This book seems breezy and OK, nothing new or unique. The many references to god and religion was odd since there was nothing mentioning this bent anywhere on the jacket. I'm not raising my son to be superstitious so this was sort of off-putting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FANTASTIC book. Seriously. If you have a son, or know any boys at all, read this book. It is enormously enlightening, --and I thought I knew boys very, very well before reading this! Dr. Thompson is the Voice of Reason for any of us trying to raise boys. He is incredibly knowledgeable, yet modest, and witty, and organized. That is exactly what comes through in the book. This book covers just about any situation you can find yourself in, when dealing with a boy. Read it!! GREAT advice, comfort, encouragement, and company!
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The format of this book kept me from getting into it.

The information is good, but in brief pieces. I couldn't really sink my teeth into it before it switched to an anecdote or a different age.

If you want a brief overview with lots of stories from parents, you should like this.

If you are looking for detailed information about a particular age of boy, I would look elsewhere.

Good for what it is, but not a style for everyone.
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