Someone once told me that the closer a little boy is to his mum, the more severe the separation will be when he becomes a teenager. Another experienced mum told me, don’t worry, they do disappear into their bedrooms and grunt at you for a few years, but they do come back.
Maggie Dent is a font of this kind of ‘mum’ wisdom, and backs it up in this book with the science of teenage boy development and the voices of boys and men (over 1500 men and nearly 1000 teen boys completed online surveys and their unedited responses are include throughout the book). The context is Australian but the information should largely suit other countries as well.
The book is hefty, for which the author almost apologises, however it kinds of needs to be, to explain what is happening in the minds, bodies and lives of teen boys (Part 1), and then to offer guidance on all kinds of topics ranging from mothering and fathering to technology, sexuality and high school (Part 2). The advice is not only useful for mums and dads, but also for teachers and other ‘lighthouses’ (a ‘lighthouse’ being a significant adult other than a parent who genuinely cares about and believes in a teen boy.) I really like the information about computer use and gaming, and the list of ’10 agreements’ that parents and their children can use to negotiate screen time. Another useful list is the skills that should probably be developed before boys move out of home (referred to via the author’s websitehttps://www.maggiedent.com).
Maggie Dent is a much loved Australian ‘expert’ on teen boys and her love for (and delight in) this particular group of society shines through, as it does in all her work. Throughout the chapters, one message remains constant – our boys need our love, attention, and kind guidance. Another message that shone through for me is – hang in there, get the help you need (if you need to) to be the best parent you can and to be the rock that your boy needs in the wild and unpredictable sea of adolescence.
I borrowed this one from the library but I think I will buy it as it’s a good reference that I think I’ll be going back to again and again.