Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys

I haven't read many parenting books. I'm not sure what that says about me except maybe I like to fly by the seat of my pants. Recently, though, my four-year-old son has had some issues at school. Especially when it comes to controlling his emotions and general boisterous behavior. 

I heard about this one from Literary Lindsey, and I knew immediately it was something I should check out. The authors are counselors, and at least part of this book is broken down by age group and takes a close look at typical behaviors during those periods and how to cope with various challenges. 

Maybe more than anything this book confirmed what I'd been grappling with. My son is a normal, active, aggressive young man who can be overtaken by his emotions. Check! The book also discusses how to institute natural consequences that are neither loosey-goosey or soul-crushing. 

This book introduced the idea that sometimes boys just take direction better from the men in their lives. While that's not always realistic for our household--I do a lot of the driving of discipline because David is still settling into his stepdad role and Chuck lives an hour away--it did help me sort of mentally prepare for some of the challenges that will intensify down the road. 

I guess my only real struggle with this book was in its scope. The authors were quick to provide examples from their own lives and raising their own boys, but I wanted more examples. From their practices, their congregations, case studies, whatever. I understand that they're experts, but I supposed I wanted a wider reach. 

I also wanted more specifics. There's a section at the end of each chapter with tips and tricks for coping with the issues presented. So for instance, if a four-year-old struggles with aggression, do x, y, and z. In my opinion, those sections weren't long enough or in-depth enough, though I do understand that by tackling boyhood all the way from childhood to graduation day, space is a bit limited. 

Overall, this book helped set my mind at ease that we're moving in the right direction, it gave me some basic ideas to institute in our household to make sure we stay in that right direction, and it gave me some things to contemplate in regards to the future. Winner, winner. 

Note: the authors are both Christians, so if the inclusion of some faith-based opinions bugs, this might be problematic for you. Personally, I did not find it overwhelming or overblown. 

Pub. Date: January 2009
Publisher: Tyndale House
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781414322278
Source: Bought it! 

14 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you gleaned some good stuff from this book too!

    Like you, I felt sort of validated that I wasn't going crazy. Small boys can be strange creatures!

    I wonder if part of the reason that some things are vague is that putting things into practice is going to vary from family to family. While we may all be trying to teach responsibility, for example, it might look different in different homes.

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    1. Absolutely! Validation might've been what I needed more than anything else.

      And I think you're probably right. They're leaving wiggle room for people to adapt this stuff to their own personal styles/households. But I'm not very creative. lol

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  2. I'll have to look for this one. I"m still trying to find my way with a strong willed, energetic and insanely active 4 year old little boy. While it doesn't sound like a perfect fit it does sound like it'd still be a good reference.

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    1. Ohhhh yes! Age 4 is something, isn't it?? Definitely a good reference.

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  3. Things will work out fine. I think sometimes schools have unrealistic expectations for little boys.

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    1. Oh yeah, I think you're right. Luckily, we've moved into a pre-school class with a teacher who does GET little boys, and she's realized many of Greyson's issues come about when he's bored. Huzzah!

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  4. Wow - I feel like you were speaking to me with this one! I have a very "energetic" 3 1/2 year old son and maybe I should read this!! Am going to check it out...

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    1. Right???! It's a good one. Definitely will set your mind at ease.

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  5. I don't read a bunch of parenting books either because they vary so widely on their "teachings" but this one sounds good. I don't have the issue of the overwhelmingly energetic boys but I can always learn something to help with their growth. Excellent review, Andi!

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  6. Guuuuurl, I neeed this one. Like, so bad. That boy of mine! He's 6. Six is scarier than 4. At least HIS 6 is scarier than 4.

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    1. Heather, wait until he turns 9. 9 seems to be the new 2. Smh. My 11 year old seems to have grown out of most of the boyness. I plan on reading this one too.

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  7. I didn't do parenting books, either - until I couldn't figure out what the heck to do with my daughter's willfullness. And then the one I read actually had some really good ideas that have worked really well. Huh, fancy that. Maybe there's something to this type of book after all. =)

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  8. I prefer to fly by the seat of pants too, but that hasn't seem to work the best for Gage :) I'm not sure how aggressive he is yet, but I can see it being an issue later. He is 100% boisterous, on-the-move, busy boy. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  9. I have a friend with two boys, so I'm going to link her to this! Thanks for sharing!

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