Childhood and adolescence just keep getting tougher, and technology is adding new wrinkles that many of us parents never saw coming. Virtually every child will wrestle with being excluded or bullied, and with the media constantly bombarding them with messages about who and what they should be, it’s harder than ever for kids to be true to themselves and the values their families have worked so hard to instill. Here are some books that offer insight and guidance to concerned parents and guardians.
The groundbreaking work that poses one of the most provocative questions of a generation: what is happening to the selves of adolescent girls?
As a therapist, Mary Pipher was becoming frustrated with the growing problems among adolescent girls. Why were so many of them turning to therapy in the first place? Why had these lovely and promising human beings fallen prey to depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and crushingly low self-esteem? The answer hit a nerve with Pipher, with parents, and with the girls themselves. Crashing and burning in a “developmental Bermuda Triangle,” they were coming of age in a media-saturated culture preoccupied with unrealistic ideals of beauty and images of dehumanized sex, a culture rife with addictions and sexually transmitted diseases. They were losing their resiliency and optimism in a “girl-poisoning” culture that propagated values at odds with those necessary to survive.
Told in the brave, fearless, and honest voices of the girls themselves who are emerging from the chaos of adolescence, Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms, offering important tactics, empathy, and strength, and urging a change where young hearts can flourish again, and rediscover and reengage their sense of self.
The stunning success of Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher’s landmark book, showed a true and pressing need to address the emotional lives of girls. Now, finally, here is the book that answers our equally timely and critical need to understand our boys.
In Raising Cain, Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., two of the country’s leading child psychologists, share what they have learned in more than thirty-five years of combined experience working with boys and their families. They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting–sad, afraid, angry, and silent. Statistics point to an alarming number of young boys at high risk for suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, violence and loneliness. Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they’re not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that “cool” equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of “mother blame,” “boy biology,” and “testosterone,” Kindlon and Thompson shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive–the emotional miseducation of boys.
Through moving case studies and cutting-edge research, Raising Cain paints a portrait of boys systematically steered away from their emotional lives by adults and the peer “culture of cruelty”–boys who receive little encouragement to develop qualities such as compassion, sensitivity, and warmth. The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen. There is much we can do to prevent it.
Kindlon and Thompson make a compelling case that emotional literacy is the most valuable gift we can offer our sons, urging parents to recognize the price boys pay when we hold them to an impossible standard of manhood. They identify the social and emotional challenges that boys encounter in school and show how parents can help boys cultivate emotional awareness and empathy–giving them the vital connections and support they need to navigate the social pressures of youth.
Powerfully written and deeply felt, Raising Cain will forever change the way we see our sons and will transform the way we help them to become happy and fulfilled young men.
Lessons in breaking the curse of the good girl-from the bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
Rachel Simmons argues that in idealizing the “good girl”—unerringly nice, polite, modest, and selfless—we teach girls to embrace a version of selfhood that curtails their power and potential.
Drawing on the exercises Simmons herself uses in her work with girls, parents, and educators, The Curse of the Good Girl provides a catalog of practical strategies to foster girls’ assertiveness, resilience, and integrity.
At the core of Simmons’s radical argument is her belief that the most critical freedom we can win for our daughters is the liberty not only to listen to their inner voice but also to act on it.
Featuring a new preface by the author on how parents can make a difference.
With author appearances on Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20 /20 and NPR’s Fresh Air, and featuring articles in Newsweek, Time, and The New York Times, Real Boys is one of the most talked-about and influential books published this year.
Based on William Pollack’s groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School over two decades, Real Boys explores why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused although they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Pollack challenges conventional expectations about manhood and masculinity that encourage parents to treat boys as little men, raising them through a toughening process that drives their true emotions underground. Only when we understand what boys are really like, says Pollack, can we help them develop more self-confidence and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.