While there’s been a big push in recent decades to help girls thrive in school and in the workplace, boys in America have quietly been struggling. For example, boys are more likely to have learning and discipline issues in school and are less likely to graduate high school than girls, more women are now attending college than men and are earning more bachelors and masters degrees than men, the incarceration rate for boys has increased in the past few decades, and suicide rates have increased among teenage boys. What’s more, teachers and therapists have reported that boys seem increasingly disengaged from school and life.
If boys are having so much trouble, why don’t we hear more about it? And more importantly, what can we do as parents, teachers, and mentors to help them?
My guest today has spent his career researching childhood development and helping boys become fulfilled men. His name is Michael Gurian, and in his latest book, "Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys," he provides insights on why America’s boy problem is ignored, as well as concrete steps that parents and mentors can take to help these young men grow up well.
Today on the show, Michael explains what the "Dominant Gender Paradigm" is and why it causes institutions to ignore the problems of boys and young men, what people get wrong about male violence, and what male anhedonia is. He then argues that if we want to help boys (and girls) we need to approach things from what he calls a "Nature Based Theory," which recognizes that while boys and girls have a lot in common, there are biological differences that influence the way boys learn, socialize, and behave. Michael then provides concrete things parents and schools can do to cater to these differences in boys to help them thrive and become resilient men.
If you’re the parent of boy or if you teach or mentor young boys, you don’t want to miss this episode.