As a culture, we are increasingly failing to respect young boyhood, pathologizing normal boy behavior and foisting burdensome and stigmatizing diagnoses of ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, and more on boys as young as three years old.
The result, as Dr. Anthony Rao passionately argues in The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys (William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, 2009), is nothing less than a crisis in American boyhood, with ever-increasing numbers of boys being treated and medicated for problems many may not have.
In this practical and accessible guide to the distinct challenges of raising young boys into happy and healthy young men, Dr. Rao urges parents, educators, pediatricians, psychologists, and other developmental experts to reevaluate and radically alter how we deal with our youngest boys. He teaches parents how to rear their sons with respect for their natural development right from the start, which gives them the best shot at growing into confident and healthy men ready to make their unique contributions to the world.
Praise for The Way of Boys
“Parents and educators all across America need to hear Anthony Rao’s urgent call to stop treating boyhood as an illness. The Way of Boys is wise and believable; it restores our faith in normal boy development (with all its ups and downs). Dr. Rao’s perspective, experience and humor will be of enormous help to any parent whose son is struggling with school or his family.”
Dr. Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
"Parents are often overwhelmed when struggling with the behavior of growing boys. Dr. Anthony Rao provides the kind of customized wisdom that comes from decades of clinical practice andmost importantlysuccess for boys at home and at school. This book is an invaluable contribution for those families in need."
Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, and author of How Doctors Think
"The Way of Boys is the ideal book for parents eager to understand what is going on in the minds and bodies of their young sons. It will allow them to fully understand normal boy development, in all its guts and glory, and show the way to the other side where a happy, healthy boy awaits."
Dr. Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction
"This book offers clear understanding of the various and varied ways boys grow and develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Many of the modern obstacles to this developmentand the parental confusion they causefall away after one reads Dr. Rao's compassionate, specific, problem-solving book."
Michael Gurian, co-founder of the Gurian Institute and author of The Purpose of Boys
Statistics and Context
- Boys are 3x more likely to be treated for ADHD than girls, and the number of diagnoses has nearly quadrupled over a recent 10-year period.
- There has been a 600% increase over the last decade in the prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs to children and teensonce again, mostly to boys.
- Despite the worrisome side effects of these drugs (many of which are untested and unapproved for use in young children), medical practices continue to diagnose young boys and prescribe medication after less than 15 minutes of evaluation.
- Preschool boys are expelled 4.5x more often than girls, and at rates exceeding any other group of American children (including high school).
What Parents Haven’t Been Told
No one is telling parents why young boys have more struggles early on, how their development is different than that of girls, and how these natural differences make early school experiences challenging.
No one is telling parents that up to 20%, maybe more, of diagnoses made by professionals for behavior problems in young boys aren’t accurate. Diagnosing very young boys with disorders is often unreliable and tells us very little about how they will turn out years down the line.
No one is explaining to parents that medications can’t cure developmental problems, and they can’t do something that a person can’t ultimately do on their own. Once medications stop, any gains a child has made are often lost. By contrast, teaching a boy self-management skills, and promoting better parent and teacher practices, fuel a child’s long-term development.
What The Way of Boys Will Do For Parents
Parents will learn how other parents have successfully used common sense and helpful behavior management to move their boys forward, from being stuck and frustrated, onto a better developmental path. They’ll learn how to know the difference between serious problems and normal developmental glitches.
In clear, simple language, parents will understand what symptoms and diagnoses mean, and when medication is absolutely necessary. They’ll learn if its time to get an evaluation, how to secure a qualified child health professional, and how to deal with concerns at school, handle parent-teacher conferences more positively, and handle problems with play dates.
Parents can also learn what their son will be like when he’s grown up. The Way of Boys provides a rare opportunity to hear the stories and experiences of struggling young boys now grown up, their views of what worked, and didn’t work, as parents, teachers, and therapists tried to help.
The Way of Boys provides insight into the lives of real moms and dads struggling to understand the unique, wonderful nature of their sons, and practical solutions for the way forward.
Hear Dr. Rao at A Recent Conference on Boys and Boyhood