Parenting Book Review: Wild Things

Parenting Book Review

“Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy.” – G. K. Chesterton

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, by Stephen James and David Thomas, is perhaps the best parenting book I’ve read in awhile.  I had “borrowed” it on my Kindle through Amazon Prime’s Lending Library, but after reading it, I decided to permanently add it to my collection. I want to have it on-hand as I parent David and whatever other children God gives us.

General observations:

  • This book is readable and well-organized- not too technical
  • The authors write graciously. They don’t place unreasonable expectations on parents
  • I’ve read plenty of parenting books and I was pleased that this book doesn’t just re-hash things I’ve read elsewhere

Reasons I found this book to be helpful:

  • Stage-by-stage sections on boys’ development – what to generally expect and some parenting strategies. I particularly found this helpful as a mother, since I am sometimes at a loss for understanding the male world!
  • Practical suggestions or ideas of what other parents have done. Here are several examples:
    • “Race time” – Encourage young boys to run laps around the house when they seem rambunctious, sometimes backwards or sometimes with obstacles
    • Invite a son do a chore with you instead of a time-out: help channel their energy instead of confining them (but time-outs can sometimes be effective!)
    • Post a picture chart for daily routines to help keep young boys focused
    • Join with other families who have boys the same age to do things such as service projects
  • The authors addressed difficult issues – such as the use of pornography – and gave suggestions for how to parent well in those situations
  • Recommended resources I can turn to for more suggestions. Parenting with Love and Logic, What Stories Does My Son Need?, and The Best Old Movies for Families are just a few of the resources mentioned

Something I would change about this book:

  • Include more on the faith development of boys

What about you? Have you read this book? Have you read other books specifically for parents of boys?

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