Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dr. Michael Thompson: Experiences in Boyhood

With the help of Thomas Matlack of The Good Men Project and Michael Hall of Strong Fathers, Strong Families, we have been talking a lot about raising boys in the 21st century.  Today we turn to psychologist, school consultant and author Dr. Michael Thompson for his insightful look into how we can do our best to raise sensitive, masculine, well balanced boys.  Is education serving our them? How is it suppressing their masculinity? Do we take gender differences into consideration when we structure academics?Please share your thoughts.
You may know Dr. Thompson from his New York Times best selling book and documentary "Raising Cain". He is also author of "It's A Boy!" and "Homesick and Happy", as well as five other books. You can read more about his work here.

What innate tendencies are being lost as we suppress masculinity in education and in parenting that would naturally allow boys to become healthy, happy fathers and providers for their families? 
All over the world, boys play hunt-and-chase games and they wrestle.  Many people call this “aggressive” or “violent play,” but I disagree.  It isn’t meant to hurt or do harm.  Boys are wired for “rough-and-tumble play” and for certain kinds of dominance behaviors; other boys understand that most of that is not bullying.

How would a boy develop a sense of confidence  if their education were less structured by the academic community?
A majority of boys seem to learn through experience, not through being told or trying to follow rules.  They develop both skills and confidence by recovering from their own mistakes.  The question is:  do their parents have enough trust in boy development to let them take some risks and make some mistakes?

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