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Raising Boys

Raising boys can be challenging.

I have two sons and a younger daughter and have found it fascinating to see how differently they have developed over the years, starting from the time they were babies.

Of course, all three are very different people but it was clear to me from quite early on that the boys had different needs, fears and strengths to their sister, particularly when it came to school and school work.

raising boys, parenting boys, steve biddulph



Over the past ten or fifteen years, quite a lot of research has been done into issues around parenting boys and educating boys.

A lot of this research mirrors what I've observed with my sons and other boys which is that our urban lifestyle and the way we educate our sons in Australia just doesn't seem to suit the majority of them.

The schooling system is largely failing boys, both educationally and socially and parents are increasingly looking at alternatives, such as home-schooling, to help them cater for the unique needs of their sons.

The result of all this research has been a number of books on the subject of raising boys and what boys need from the adults in their lives to help them grow into healthy, resilient, well-adjusted young men.

I've read many, many of these books over the past 16 years and have put together this list of the ones I've found the most helpful.

The reviews include chapter headings as this is the way I generally decide when flicking through a book at a bookshop or library whether it will be useful and/or interesting. I hope this approach helps you too.

Most of these books will be available in libraries and bookshops but you can also buy most of them online - with free postage - through the Book Depository. Just click on the image of the book you're interested in.

Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph

Steve Biddulph is an Australian psychologist who has written widely on issues regarding families and children. He was one of the first to address the special developmental needs of boys and men and now lectures, consults and writes extensively about boys in school and general issues around raising boys.

This book looks at what makes little boys different from their sisters in a developmental sense and what they need to grow into healthy, well-adjusted men. It explores the issues and expectations boys face and how we can help them to navigate their way through them.

If you have a son or are expecting a baby boy I highly recommend this book.

The chapter headings are:

  • What is it with boys?
  • The three stages of boyhood
  • Testosterone!
  • How boys' and girls' brains differ
  • What dads can do
  • Mothers and sons
  • Developing a healthy sexuality
  • A revolution in schooling
  • Boys and sport
  • A community challenge

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

This book is about the inner lives of boys and what it means to be a boy in our culture. It's not a book about how to bring up boys - it's more about understanding how boys feel and what makes them behave the way they do.

It's not a comforting read. The authors are psychologists and work with boys who are sometimes quite damaged and disturbed so there is a lot of talk about the things that can go wrong in boys' lives. Keep this in mind when you're reading it.

Nevertheless, it's a book which I think should be read by parents of sons, preferably before their son reaches the teen years.

Chapters include:

  • The Struggle of Young Boys in Early Education
  • The High Cost of Harsh Discipline
  • The Culture of Cruelty
  • Anger and Violence
  • What Boys Need

Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Raising Sons

This book talks a lot about adolescent boys however there is also some useful information about parenting younger boys.

Written in a question-and-answer format, there are chapters on the nature of boys, fathers and sons, siblings, divorce, friendship, mothers and sons, school and sports.

I found I recognised my sons in many of the questions and was reassured to know that many parents share the concerns I have about parenting sons and the problems boys can face.