From the New York Times bestselling co-author of Raising Cain, It’s a Boy! is the first major parenting book to chart every stage of a boy’s life. This upbeat, authoritative, and reassuring guide–written by psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a leading international expert on boys’ development, and journalist Teresa H. Barker–shows how a boy’s inner life progresses through infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
What do boys actually need? How exactly does a healthy boy look and act? It’s a Boy! has the answers, providing expert advice on the developmental, psychological, social, and academic life of boys from infancy through the teen years. Exploring the many ways in which boys strive for masculinity and attempt to define themselves, Dr. Thompson identifies the key developmental transitions that mark a boy’s psychological growth and emotional health, and the challenges both boys and parents face at each age.
• Expecting a Boy: how our deeply held hopes, fears, and family histories shape our expectations of boys and our parenting techniques
• Baby Boys (birth to 18 months): falling in love with your son, healthy attachment, trust, and temperament
• Toddler Years (18 months to 3 years): boys on the go, bold steps, blankies, budding language, and rambunctious physicality
• Powerful Little Boys (ages 3 and 4): superhero ambitions, penis play and potty talk, learning to manage the force of his anger, and celebrating the power of the boy group
• Starting School (ages 5 through 7): developmental cues for school readiness, transitional challenges, girl cooties and boys-only play, tough talk, tender hearts, and first friends
• Boys on a Mission (ages 8 through 10): striving for mastery in sports, screen games, and boy society, organizing the boy brain for school success, and glaring academic gender gaps
• The Preteen (ages 11 through 13): puberty, posturing and popularity, the culture of cruelty, hidden sensitivity, and stoic silence in the middle school years
• Early High School (ages 14 and 15): the secret life of boys, powerful peer groups, sexuality, school strategies, the shift away from Mom (she knows too much), and yearning for Dad’s respect and attention
• On the Brink of Manhood (ages 16 through 18): the quest for independence, sex, love, driving, drinking, and other choices and challenges of life
Practical, insightful, wonderfully engaging, and filled with instructive true stories any parent of a son will recognize, It’s a Boy! is the definitive guide to raising boys in today’s world, revealing with humor, compassion, and joy all the infinite varieties of boys and the deep and profound ways in which we love them.
About the Author
Michael Thompson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, lecturer, consultant, and former seventh-grade teacher. He conducts workshops across the United States and internationally on social cruelty, children’s friendships, and boys’ development. With Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., he co-authored the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, which was adapted into an acclaimed documentary shown on PBS. With Teresa H. Barker he co-authored The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life and Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Raising Sons. With Catherine O’Neill Grace and Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., he co-authored Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems. Dr. Thompson is married and the father of two. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and can be reached at www.michaelthompson-phd.com.
Teresa Barker, who collaborated with Michael Thompson on Raising Cain, Speaking of Boys, and The Pressured Child, is a journalist whose other book collaborations include Girls Will Be Girls, The Soul of Money, and In the Moment. Barker is married and the mother of a son and two daughters. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Advance praise for It’s a Boy!
“It’s a Boy! is a powerful guide to raising a son in today’s world. Filled with stories from the front lines and practical advice, it is gentle and compassionate, yet also moving and beautiful. The heart of a boy beats in every page.”
–Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys
“Michael Thompson has gradually earned his place as the Warren Buffett of child rearing, the real deal. His track record of uncanny timing, his hard-won knowledge, common sense, and humanism have resonated with parents everywhere. Now there is a desperate need to understand our boys more deeply; there is a palpable hunger to learn how to handle our sons better. It’s a Boy! does both in a way not seen before. It’s a Boy! will help your son to feel more loved, understood, and effectively guided by you–forever.”
–Ron Taffel, Ph.D., author of Parenting by Heart: How to Stay Connected to Your Child in a Disconnected World
“Spectacular . . . extraordinary insight, enriched by countless poignant and telling stories of boys and their parents and teachers. It’s a Boy! is an immensely helpful navigational chart for steering through the shoals of a boy’s developmental stages.”
–Patrick F. Bassett, president, National Association of Independent Schools
“Wise, sensible, accessible, useful–this is the must-have book every parent of a boy will want and need to turn to as their child grows from a baby to an adolescent. Illuminated by Thompson’s years of experience working with boys and their families, this book is chock-full of new insights and the latest science about the ages and stages of boys’ development. It’s a Boy! is a book that parents, educators, health professionals, and policy makers will go back to again and again and each time come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of why ‘boys will be boys.’”
–Robie H. Harris, author of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
“Bringing together the latest research and the most timeless knowledge and wisdom, this monumental book is unique, invaluable, and urgently important. Any person who cares about boys must own this book, as it addresses every relevant question and provides not only authoritative answers but also comfort, warmth, enthusiasm, and spark. What a truly amazing achievement, what a gift Dr. Thompson has given us all.”
–Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder