Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Snips, snails and puppy dog tails

In the nature vs. nurture argument of parenting, I used to be a nurture girl. I refused to believe in inherent behavioral differences; boys behaved the way they did because of how adults treated them. Then I had a little destructive, noisy, wall-climbing, rule-breaking male imp of my own and I have become a firm adherent of the 'boys will be boys' defense. Thus, I find the information in our new book It's A Boy! understanding your son's development from birth to age 18, by Michael Thompson, Ph.D. particularly interesting. Thompson is a clinical psychologist who co-authored the bestselling book Raising Cain: protecting the emotional life of boys. In this new book, he goes through the stages of a boy's life, explaining the various social, cognitive, emotional and physical developments that they boy is undergoing. He also includes real-life examples of parents' thoughts and reactions during these stages. This book aims not only to help parents understand why their boys are behaving the way they do, but to reassure parents that this behavior is normal and healthy. He also offers some advice about how to cope with some of the more difficult stages in their child's life and the major changes to expect. To be perfectly honest, I didn't read any further than the toddler chapter (I like to fool myself into believing that things are just going to get easier from here), but the early sections in this book are very informative and flow along nicely. I even found myself chuckling as I recognized my son in the pages of this book. This is a nice, reassuring book that doesn't try to guilt parents, make them adopt radical parenting methods, or cause them to doubt their ability to raise happy, healthy boys.

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