"This wise and warm book encourages mothers not to let their sons become unemotional robots but instead to stay connected."
--Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology, SUNY Stony Brook
"Shaffer and Gordon shed light on the cultural reasons boys frequently don't talk and then show how to encourage conversation and when to respect the necessary silences."
--Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence
Helps parents reopen the lines of communication with "silent" teenage sons and stay emotionally connected with them.
Adolescent boys are notoriously uncommunicative. Unfortunately, too many parents equate not talking with not feeling, and, as authors Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon explain in this groundbreaking guide, parents who make that assumption end up validating only the most superficial aspects of their sons. Recent bestsellers such as Real Boys and The Wonder of Boys have done a good job of sensitizing parents to the inner lives of boys and opening their eyes to how society shortchanges boys emotionally.
Now, Why Boys Don't Talk--and Why It Matters goes a step further. Coauthored by a nationally acclaimed expert on gender equity and a social worker--both of whom successfully raised teenagers of both sexes--it:
1.Arms parents with proven techniques for communicating with their adolescent sons and reestablishing strong emotional bonds with them
2.Draws upon focus groups as well as the authors' considerable experience in gender equity research and counseling, to analyze the subtle ways boys communicate connection
This book explores the reticence of boys: what it signifies and how to decipher the meanings behind the silence. The book emphasizes the importance of staying connected to children as they grow into adolescence. Shaffer, an educator, and Gordon, a clinical social worker, explain the cultural and social constraints behind boys' unwillingness to talk. Fearful of the appearance of vulnerability, boys aren't willing to risk exposure of their feelings by talking and instead use competitiveness as an acceptable model for expressing emotions. The authors provide strategies for enhancing opportunities to connect more deeply and emotionally with boys and explore the cultural conventions regarding ideals of masculinity, encouraging parents to help teens develop more independent and individual self-images. Particular issues facing boys of color are addressed in separate chapters. The authors also offer specific strategies: for instance, boys need to be taught empathy; and parents need to value attachment in their sons as well as their daughters.