Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Raising Cain

In Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, authors and child psychologists Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson focus on the emotional needs of boys. While society tends to paint boys and men as being macho strong, males have just as many emotional needs as girls do and sometimes these needs are overlooked because they are expected to behave as "strong men."

The authors argue that emotional literacy is one of the most important things we can bestow upon our sons. The beginning of the book emphasized the strong desire men have for connection, especially with their fathers. When that connection is absent, it affects the man in all parts of his life. Teachers are encouraged to deal with typical needs for more physical movement during the school day. Parents are urged to assist sons in developing empathy by showing empathy themselves and revealing some of their deepest struggles and difficulties.

I think the aspects of this book which I found the most disturbing were the statistics given for general use of alcohol, drugs, and sexual involvement by high school boys. The book opened the door for me to have an open talk with my own teenage son about these temptations. He felt that the statistics were fairly accurate, even if he isn't involved in any of those things (thank the Lord).

While the book did provide a thorough glimpse into the inner lives of boys, I don't believe it is as seminal a work in the field of "parenting sons" literature as touted on the front cover. It did seem to have a liberal bent to it. Still, it was a worthwhile read and certainly could only benefit any parent wishing to connect more fully with their sons.

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