Back to School: Books About Boys and Girls

Read With Me Wednesday

Mom and I just recently read three fascinating books by Dr. Leonard Sax. He is a family physician and research psychologist. He has done numerous studies on the differences between boys and girls. We heard about this author from a speaker at the homeschool conference back in April.

Leonard Sax Books

If you are a parent, teacher,grandparent, or someone that works with kids, these books will be interesting and beneficial for you to read. It has changed the way I see my own kids as well as others and how to deal with them in the best way for how they were made.

Boys Adrift

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
Boys Adrift arrived first, and I could hardly put it down because I wanted to give it to Melinda and her husband (who have been working with youth and are transitioning to families) as soon as possible. I could see that they needed this information and needed to be able to share it with other parents. Not only does Dr. Sax share information from numerous studies, but as a physician, he shares of his personal experience in dealing with children as patients for many years.

In this day of political correctness, much of what he has to say may fall on deaf ears concerning the differences between boys and girls, but it makes so much sense. Boys are falling behind academically in our country and he demonstrates many of the possible causes for that in his discussion of the ways schools are geared more toward the educational needs of girls than boys. Boys learn differently from girls and need to be taught in different ways to be most effective.

We need to realize that being different does not mean one sex is superior and one is inferior, we are just made different. More boys than girls are being put on medications than ever before. In the doctor’s experience, putting a child on medication becomes the easy way out, when there are other changes that can be made to solve the problems in many cases.

Excessive video game playing is altering the motivation of young boys to do anything with their lives even into adulthood. The exposure to chemical toxins in our environments, especially the endocrine blockers, are causing boys to mature much later physically and girls to mature at much younger ages than in generations previous. Dr. Sax also believes that young boys are lacking in good positive role models to help lead them in the passage from childhood to manhood.

I recommend this book to all parents, teachers, youth leaders, grandparents, pastors. You may not agree with all Dr. Sax has to say, but I am sure this book will make you think. If you have influence in any aspect of the lives of children, you need to understand what is going on in the lives of young people in this culture today. -Jan

Girls on the Edge

Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls–Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins
The problems Dr. Sax addresses in this book were not new to me, but much of the research and his experience as a doctor concerning the “why” of these problems was fascinating. After sharing the problems: sexual identity, the cyber bubble, obsessions, environmental toxins, he spent several chapters on ways of dealing with those problems with individual girls and helping to aid in their growth and development into healthy, confident women.

One thing I found interesting, was his discussion of sports. With the push for girls to be able to participate in all the same sports as boys, he does not say girls can’t do the same sports. However, he clearly showed how girls need to be coached with different training exercises and warmups because of the physical differences in their bodies. Girls tend to receive concussions more than boys (because girls have less fluid cushioning their brains than boys), and they also receive more knee injuries (because they are training in the same ways as boys and not in the ways that help a girl’s body to be strengthened correctly.)

Another thing that I liked about the book was how he showed the need for girls to be involved in spiritual expression and relationships (regardless of whether the parents were involved in any spiritual expression.) There is research that correlates the relationship between spirituality and a lower risk of depression in girls. Girls are growing up with many pressures that did not even exist 20 years ago and we need to understand what that current culture is like and how we can help our daughters (granddaughters, friends) navigate the pressures and become amazing women. -Jan

Why Gender Matters

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences
I’m sure we all remember when studies came out telling us that boys and girls are fundamentally the same and that it’s all nurture and society that make them they way they are. Give a boy dolls, and he will like dolls. Give a girl trucks, and she will like playing with trucks. But the more research that is done, they are learning that boys and girls are different from the start and it begins in their brain. Their brains function differently and that effects everything else.

“…girls and boys do differ from one another in systematic ways that should be understood and made use of, not covered up or ignored.”

This information is so important when dealing with children. If you know how a boy’s or a girl’s brain works, you know how to approach him or her for discipline, school, and activities. Dr. Sax talks about how girls and boys differ when it comes to how they hear, see, feel pain, etc. and also discusses the differences in how that relates to school, sex, drugs, discipline, etc. It’s enlightening and disturbing to see how our culture has misunderstood the way the gender differences affect every aspect of these kids’ lives. Celebrating the gender differences can open up a world of possibilities for our future generations.

While I don’t agree with every detail of his discipline method, I believe it has a great place to start, especially for people who just haven’t been doing it at all. He says,

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Parenting is an art, not a science. But you can’t duck this responsibility. If you don’t discipline your child, nobody will.”

I highly recommend reading this book because the information is important. I have used some of this knowledge in my approach to my children arleady and have seen the impact it made for success. -Melinda

If you are interested in buying any of these books, you can click on the title, and it will link you to amazon. Happy reading!

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