Friday, October 29, 2010

Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph

Rating: 4 out of 5
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harper Thorsons; New edition edition (8 July 2003)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0007153694
ISBN-13: 978-0007153695

This is a book about how to raise boys. Steve Biddulph is a Psychologist who has worked with children for over 27 years.

This book looks more into the psychology of boys at various stages of their lives. He divides a man's life into roughly three stages; 0-6 years, 7-14 years, and 14- adult. Then discusses each stage, what is happening, what to expect behaviour wise, and what strategies you can implement to ensure your son navigates these stages as safely as possible.

The book focuses on what influences a boy in each stage. For instance the 0-6 year stage, the mother is the strongest influence in the boys life, but by 14 and over this has shifted to someone outside of the family. Biddulph gives some tips for single mothers how to ensure these influences are met for their child, and how to select a good candidate.

Most of the book is pretty common sense. But it is helpful to see the stages and the ideas for how to navigate them laid out. The style of writing is easy and chatty, it feels like you are sitting down having a coffee with the author and you are having a nice chat with a friend about the subject. There are no big words that have you reaching for the dictionary, nor does he talk in a condescending manner.

Biddulph refers to many studies and trials that support his advice. He also uses a lot of testimonials and examples from clients he has had through the years. These are interesting and in the case of some of the trials (one in particular about a school in the UK that seperated year 8 boys and girls maths and english classes) makes you wonder why the education system has not changed.

My only gripe is he makes statements like "a boy should not be put in daycare till he is 3 years old". This is all well and good (the argument is they do not thrive as well as girls and require more one on one care) but the fact is in today's society this is just not practical. Most parents need double income to survive and need to put their children into care. I would have liked the author to perhaps give more advice on how to help your child through this period, rather then say "don't do it". Just telling the reader to not do it is not helpful, especially when there is no other choice. All it does is make the reader feel guilty.

This book is not in depth enough to deal with real meaty behaviour issues. It also does not give detailed advice on parenting or discipline. That is not the point of this book. This book is to give you an insight as to what is happening over all in a boys life, and what could be causing any bad behaviour.

A good book for any parent who has boys and wants to gain a better insight into what drives them.


  1. I'm looking into books about raising boys, but so far have been turned off by some that put an emphasis on how much harder society is for boys than girls. Not sure I can buy into that after years in school and the workplace hearing about the struggle for women to be treated fairly and working in a male-heavy business.

  2. Biddulp doesnt say things are harder for boys just that girls and boys learn and process things differently. So you need to adjust your approach.

    I would recomend this book. Lots of reviews I saw on the new said they preferred this book over a lot of raising boys books out there.

  3. Looks like agood one to check out the library. I just finished reading Baby Wise amd felt that it spent a big section telling me why it was so imprtant that parents stay together. I frly bad for all of the single moms out there raising kids.