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Synopsis

The problem isn't with boys, it's with our expectations of them

In a book that's part advice and part exposé, psy­chologist and expert on boyhood development Dr. Anthony Rao challenges some of the potentially harmful assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors we've developed toward young boyhood over the last few decades. This is not an indictment of medication therapies—in some important instances, Dr. Rao argues that medication is appropriate and necessary. Rather, The Way of Boys is a celebration of natural, constructive boyhood development and an expert, definitive handbook on what to look for and expect in normal growth. Ask yourself these questions:

Is his behavior serious enough to interfere with functioning? Does it keep him from sleeping, eating, attending school, or staying safe?

Does it persist over a few weeks or more? Does it show itself more than a few isolated times per day?

Does it happen in different settings? Has it been reported by different people?

If your answer is yes to any of these, your son may have symptoms that need further assessment by a pediatrician or other qualified developmental specialist. But a yes answer doesn't mean your son has a lifelong disorder or that the first line of defense is medication.

Boys are being bombarded with a slew of diagnoses—ADHD, Asperger's, bipolar disorder—at an alarming rate and at younger ages. The Way of Boys urges parents, educators, pediatricians, psychologists, and other developmental experts to reevaluate and significantly change how we deal with our youngest boys.

It's time we stopped trying to "fix" young boys. When parents understand the wide spectrum for normal boy development, they can successfully communicate with their son—and everyone in their son's life—and help him grow into a healthy, smart, strong man.

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