Friday, July 10, 2009

Stop Treating Boyhood as an Illness

You're always getting the point of view of the middle-aged women who work in our department. Well, here's a treat: Richard Frias, our college intern, has added his voice to the mix.

The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World really got me thinking about my childhood and how different it was from the childhood of boys growing up today. Back in my day, not listening in class, running around too much, or not paying attention to parents and teachers was just something that boys did occasionally—and—within limits—it was expected. Although disorders like ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and bipolar disorder are serious issues that many adolescents and adults must struggle to overcome, today's parents, educators, pediatricians, and psychologists are too quick to diagnose an energetic boy with a disorder that requires medication.

Anthony Rao, Ph.D., and Michelle Seaton ask us to stop treating young boyhood as an illness and to understand that random bouts of disobedience and bursts of high energy are normal boyhood behavior. Throughout literature, art, and music, childhood is depicted as the most free time of one’s life—a time of play, learning, and experimentation. The Way of Boys makes a convincing argument to keep it that way. I cannot blame parents for fearing for their sons’ safety and well being but it’s hard to imagine going through life and becoming a respectable and decent man without any type of bumps and bruises along the way.
The Way of Boys will be published at the end of August. Meanwhile, you can get a preview in this video.

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