Building Boys in a World That Misunderstands Males

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Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males is Jen’s second book. Janet says it contains “wise words from a mom who has successfully raised four boys,” “wise words from an author who knows how to weave personal stories with scientific research,” and “wise words from the many experts she’s interviewed” — including many here ON BOYS!

The book has been years in the making — years of parenting, learning, pitching, and writing. And it’s applicable to all kinds of families: those raising little boys as well as those raising teens; those raising neurodiverse boys; two-parent families, single-parent families, and more. It’s built around 10 broad guidelines that parents can use to guide their parenting choices & daily interactions:

  1. Learn the terrain
  2. Emphasize emotional intelligence
  3. Discuss & demonstrated healthy relationships
  4. Let him struggle
  5. Help him find & develop his talents
  6. Give him time
  7. Challenge him with chores & caregiving
  8. Keep him close
  9. Connect him to the real world
  10. Accept him as he is

“I can’t tell you the specific of what to do when your 7-year-old is poking his 4-year-old brother, but I can give you some really good guidelines that you can use to figure out what you want to do next,” Jen says. “What I tried to do in this book is share some of the things that I learned the hard way.”

In this episode, Jen & Janet discuss:
  • How parenting boys influenced Building Boys
  • What Jen’s boys think about the book
  • Which chapter Jen wrote first
  • Janet’s favorite “rule”
  • The pace of male development
  • Sibling relationships
  • Male friendship
  • Facilitating boys’ interests
  • The power of connection
  • How bias & racism affect boys
  • How self-doubt hurts parents of boys (& their sons)
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, by Jennifer L.W. Fink

Building Boys Bulletin — Jen’s newsletter

The First-Time Mom’s Guide to Raising Boys — Jen’s first book

Why You Need to Stop Focusing on Your Boys’ Bickering – Building Boys blog post

How to Raise a Boy with Michael C. Reichert — ON BOYS episode mentioned during this one

More Wisdom from Teacher Tom — ON BOYS episode mentioned during this one

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson

How to Build Your Village – ON BOYS episode mentioned during this one

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