Parenting books on how to raise and teach children are a dime a dozen—and it can be difficult to determine which are truly the most helpful and relevant. With so many different, complicated aspects of a young boy’s life, parents often find they need additional resources to help them along.
The 10 books below explore more than just teaching techniques. With a focus on boys, these reads explain why boys behave the way they do—and how parents can understand them better, and, by extension, raise them better, promoting healthy development in their youth and beyond.
1. Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults From Ruining Your Child’s Fun and Success in Youth Sports
By Bob Bigelow, Tom Moroney, and Linda Hall
As the title suggests, Just Let the Kids Play addresses the pressure adults place on young athletes. It is the first book of its kind to identify the broken youth sports system and what needs to be fixed in order to improve sportsmanship and decrease violence. Bob Bigelow, Tom Moroney, and Linda Hall challenge common views with harsh criticism, and, in turn, offer practical ways to rebuild youth sports so they better serve the physical and emotional needs of children.
2. Season of Life: a Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood
By Jeffrey Marx
This best-selling inspirational book tells the story of the author’s reunion with a childhood football hero, who is now a minister and coach. The author witnesses a passionate demonstration of the true meaning of manhood. Season of Life illustrates what it means to be a man of substance and impact. This moving story will resonate with athletes, coaches, parents, and just about anyone else struggling to make the right choices in life.
3. The Way of Boys
By Dr. Anthony Rao
Boys will be boys, so it’s time we stopped trying to “fix” them. In this day and age, boys are commonly being subjected to medical and emotional diagnoses at much younger ages than ever before. The Way of Boys urges parents, professionals, and other developmental experts to reconsider and drastically change how we deal with the behavior of our youngest boys. This book not only celebrates the development of boyhood, but is also an expert guide on what to look for and expect in the normal growth of your son. Dr. Rao spoke at Fessenden in March and October 2015. Read details both events here.
4. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
By Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
There is a nation of boys who are hurting—sad, afraid, angry, and silent. Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: what do boys need that they’re not getting? By disproving myths and old ideals, the authors shed light on the emotionally damaging training our boys receive. They show how parents can help boys engage in emotional awareness, which can give them the vital connections and support they need to grow up in the pressures of the modern world.
5. Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons
By Meg Meeker
Boys will always be rambunctious, adventurous, and curious. They will push their growing bodies to the limit as part of the rite of passage into manhood. Dr. Meg Meeker explores the secrets surrounding rules, adventure, innocence, emotions, and big life questions. Raising sons is a daunting responsibility; the world often doesn’t appreciate the value of the high-spirited, magical nature of boys. This uplifting guide aims to helps make the parenting job a little easier.
6. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
By Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
In this book, author Siegel and parenting expert Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child-rearing with 12 key strategies that foster healthy brain development. The science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures is explained, and illustrates how the “upstairs brain” is under construction until a boy’s mid-20s. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to encourage healthy emotional and intellectual development.
Raising Boys is an international best-seller that has been published in 14 countries. This complete guide for parents, educators, and relatives includes chapters on testosterone, sports, and the differences between boys’ and girls’ brains. With gentle humor and proven wisdom, Raising Boys focuses on boys’ unique developmental needs to help them be happy and healthy at every stage of life.
8. Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood
By William Pollack
Based on William Pollack’s groundbreaking research of over two decades at Harvard Medical School, Real Boys explores why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused, even though they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Only when we understand what boys are really like can we help them develop the self-confidence and emotional savvy they need to deal with real-life issues like depression, love, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.
9. The Wonder of Boys
By Michael Gurian
This book describes what boys need to become strong, responsible, and sensitive men. Gurian shows how boys can get involved with the wrong crowds and how this rebellion becomes a necessary outlet when positive role models and adult support are not available. He offers advice on how to channel aggression and rebellion instead of stifling them. Most important, he explains what a boy really needs and how we can provide this support for the boys we love.
10. The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life
By Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens
Also written by Gurian, The Minds of Boys is the go-to resource for parents and educators on how to raise boys. It has sold more than 400,000 copies, been translated into 17 languages, and sells over 25,000 copies every year. Gurian and Stevens teach parents and educators how to help boys overcome their current classroom obstacles; how to work, nurture, and expand their potential; and how to enable them to succeed in life.