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Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood Real Boys
Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood

Boys today are in crisis.
On the surface, many boys may appear tough, confident, and cheerful, but underneath, many of them are sad, lonely, and confused.

This groundbreaking book reveals the worlds of boys to show how society's mixed messages to boys put more of them at risk today than ever before.

Boys' voices and experiences rise up from these pages as Dr. William Pollack of the Harvard Medical School draws on almost two decades of work with boys as well as on a recent study called "Listening to Boys' Voices" to present new findings about the true nature of boys and new insights into how to raise them to become happier, more confident, more successful men.

"I get a little down," says Adam,"but I hide it very well. I'd say I wear a mask of some sort. Even when kids call me names or try to taunt me, I'd never show them how much it was crushing me inside. I'd keep it all in."

Pollack reveals how many boys today are like Adam, whose confident exterior hides painful feelings of loneliness and isolation. Other boys are in trouble overtly--depressed, suicidal, doing less well at school than they could, having trouble with drugs or with friends. Real Boys shows why, and what to do about it.

Pollack describes how outdated gender stereotypes push boys to conform to society's inhibiting Boy Code, even as boys are pressured to relate to girls in new ways. Boys conceal themselves behind a mask of independence, which not only prevents them from truly knowing themselves but makes it difficult for us to know them. Conventional expectations about masculinity still encourage people to treat boys like "little men," and to raise them through a toughening process. Illuminating the daily lives of boys of all ages, Real Boys lets us know what boys are really like, revealing new findings about the expressive nature of boys, how they are different from girls and how they are similar to them, and what they are thinking and feeling.

Pollack addresses a wide range of topics--boys and their mothers, fathers, friends; boys in school, sports, and adolescence; how boys can develop more self-confidence, and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues they may have to confront--such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, violence.


Original and insightful.
You will see every boy you know
in an entirely new way.


by William S. Pollack


Based on new research into the inner worlds and daily lives of boys today, Real Boys explores in depth the following:

  • The loneliness of "normal" boys today--what we do to cause it, and what we can do to prevent it
  • Low self-esteem--why more boys today are suffering from low self-esteem and what we can do about it
  • The power of mothers and fathers--how to help boys become more confident, loving, and able to lead happier lives as men
  • Adolescence as a "second chance"--how to use adolescence as a new opportunity to grow closer to a boy and to help him deal with such topics as smoking, drinking, and sex
  • Getting boys to talk--the timed-silence syndrome and how to encourage boys to talk and share their feelings
  • Overcoming depression--the hidden crisis of boyhood depression: how to spot it, and what to do about it
  • Violence, alcohol, drugs, and much, much more

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