Bringing Up Boys (Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Men)

by James Dobson

"Those shaping the next generation of men." If you're in the same boat I am, with a boy at home, the realization of that task can send chills down your spine. And we have reason to not take this position lightly. Dr. Dobson provides many heart-wrenching statistics regarding our boys today, including the fact that boys younger than fifteen years of age are twice as likely as girls to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals and 90 percent of those in drug treatment programs and 95 percent of those in juvenile court are boys. We need to wake up as parents and as a nation to the fact that our boys are in trouble and they need our help.

One aspect of this problem is the fact that, due to the prevalence of two-income families and single-parent families, nationally we are now raising our children in our spare time rather than making it our first priority. To compound this, many of us have jobs so demanding we cannot take vacations as we earn them, we work through lunch, and 17 percent even say that work causes them to lose sleep at night. Dr. Dobson sums this up by saying "Parents were simply too distracted and exhausted to protect and care for their children."

While we are working and "distracted," the media have been having a field day with our children. Public television has degenerated to the point that one company has begun making a screening box to remove profanity. Video games are increasingly graphic as regards sex and violence, and the internet is swarming with predators trying to entrap our kids. Dr. Dobson quotes one columnist as saying "Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition." Our libraries offer unfiltered Internet access to our children and the courts have yet to figure out a way to make them stop. It's "freedom of speech" and "non-discrimination on the basis of age."

Pile these two problems on top of the anti-male sentiment which the feminist movement created, and you can see how we have reached this crisis. Thankfully, God sends us a fresh dose of grace each day, and the wisdom of people like Dr. Dobson to help us.

Dr. Dobson takes us deep into the minds of boys, as only he can, explaining the differences in their temperments, learning styles and even their physiological makeup. He also explains the various hormones and the effects they have on our boys. Boys are different from girls and all the attempts to deny these differences will only be in vain. God made us this way and He has a purpose for each of these men-in-the-making that requires them to be "all boys" right now.

He describes the role of the mother and the father and how each of these contribute to the boy's character. He discusses supervision and discipline specifically on the need-level of boys. There are practical "how-tos" to installing a good work ethic and other specific character traits. But the point he principally stressed was that we not only need to have time to raise our children, but we also need to use that time wisely. Use it to mold and shape boys into men of integrity. Make sure they don't leave childhood without knowing who they are in relation to God, and what God expects of them.