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The Wonder of Boys What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do To Shape Boys Into Exceptional Men by: Michael Gurian

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The Wonder of Boys What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do To Shape Boys Into Exceptional Men by: Michael Gurian. The Wonder of Boys is filled with information and insight on the biology, culture, and unique needs of boys.

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The Wonder of BoysWhat Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do To Shape Boys Into Exceptional Menby: Michael Gurian

The Wonder of Boys is filled with information and insight on the biology, culture, and unique needs of boys.

Michael Gurian stresses the importance of teaching boys spirituality, values, discipline, sexuality, love, and manhood.

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Boys Culture

  • Boys need to compete and perform well to feel worthy.
  • - A boy must be taught skills, shown how to compete successfully, and given praise.
  • Boys prefer to socialize in larger groups than girls.
  • - large groups create a larger circle for energy through which a boy can exercise his need for more space and more physical activity.
  • 3. Boys search for independence.
  • - to keep from feeling threatened, boys need space (a comfort zone).
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Boys are ready, at any moment, to sacrifice themselves for a principle they believe in.

  • - boys sacrifice of themselves helps them find themselves.
  • Male Role Models
  • - “Without male role models, boy culture feels lost, and human culture in general is put in danger” (p. 44)
  • - Role models help boys develop healthy boundaries.
  • 6. Male sports systems can be one of the most useful socializing forces in boys’ lives.
  • - Sports activities provide a place for emotional development and meeting friends.
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Boys Need A Tribe

  • Boys need a “tribe” consisting of three families to raise a boy to “healthy manhood.” (p.59)
  • Family one is made up of birth/adoptive parents, or grandparents who raise kids.
  • Family two is made up of extended families – blood relatives or nonblood “friends,” daycare providers, teachers, peers, and mentors.
  • 3. Family three includes culture and community – media, church groups, government,other institutions and influential community figures.
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Boys and Mothers

“Mom is most often the most influential person in a boy’s life.” (p.86)

A boy separates from dependence on mother in his early years to emotional independence during adolescence and early adulthood. A boy must separate from his mother to discover his own psychological boundaries and independence.

Boys and Fathers

“A boy needs a father who is confident as a man, feels that he belongs in the society around him, models male spiritual growth, and brings to the son’s life a lot of healthy influences.” (p.117)

A father must teach his son compassion, wisdom, and responsibility.

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Techniques for Healthy Discipline

  • Show the boy the effect of his inappropriate action. (make him pick up the broken plant, show the bruise)
  • Redirect the boy’s aggressive energy. ( give him a place and object to hit - punching bag)
  • Use a stern tone of voice to show them you are serious.
  • Give the boy a time-out when necessary.
  • Choose diversion and distraction first.
  • Ignore his refusal, and give him one minute to do the task. (avoid a power struggle)
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Negotiate and provide choices. (give and take)

  • Take away privileges.
  • Use positive expectations. (“You can do it.”)
  • Make things into games whenever possible. (this sometimes makes the boy want to do what he previously did not want to do)
  • 11. Focus boys on the specific challenge of tasks. (“task-focus”)
  • 12. Teach through mistakes and failures. (Boys must learn by experiment and be allowed to make mistakes.)
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Spirituality is an important part of moral development.

  • Teach boys what life is made of. Boys need to be engaged in activities that teach how to discover the basic elements of being alive.
  • Teach boys a sacred sense of place. When we focus our boy’s attention on the surroundings of their own space, and point out the pleasures of that place, we help them grow up with a sense of belonging.
  • 3. Teach boys to live in the now. Nothing is more important than the present moment.
  • 4. Teach boys to be creative and search for meaning. As important as it is to be creative, boys must learn to set goals and find ways to achieve them.
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Conclusion

The Wonder of Boys, by Michael Gurian, is a wonderful resource I would highly recommend to families, teachers, or mentors who are raising boys.

Gurian, Michael (1996). The Wonder of Boys.

New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

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