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There is no doubt that parenting sons is a special challenge in today's fast-paced, media-driven world. In Growing Great Boys,parenting guru Ian Grant shows how to work with the essential character of boys, using understanding and emotional support to raise, loyal, passionate, sensitive, funny, fearless and strong men.
Growing Great Boys is brimming with practical, positive and informative parenting advice for raising great sons, from the vital preschool years through to the challenges of teens. It includes chapters on the roles of mums and dads, and on the specials challenges faced by solo parents.
We have three boys and our oldest is now nearly 5. We bought the book last year and have read and re-read sections many times. Growing Great Boys is packed full of very practical advice for raising boys here in New Zealand or anywhere else for that matter. It covers preschool through to the teenage years and I know we will be re-reading each chapter as each new season of life comes up.
We loved that the advice was neither wishy washy nor out of reach. Everything is about things you can do from as soon as you read it onwards. It is also very positive and encouraging. It has helpful sections for mum, dad as well as a section for boys growing up without a dad and even advice for grandparents of boys.
Each chapter has a great summary of main points which make a quick reference place for when you have a "Growing Great Boys had something about this issue" moment.
After hearing from my esteemed associate reviewer how good this book was I had to see for myself, and boy I was not disappointed.
This is indeed a great book and full of so many good ideas I can see this is one of those books that will end up looking extremely dog-eared after a while.
I can certainly say with some authority that this is indeed a worthy book to own and I will even go so far as to say that it is an essential read for most parents of young boys.
I would say more on this subject, but I have to get back to re-reading this marvelous book.
Sometimes great things pass you by because you didn't pause long enough to appreciate them... things like your son's childhood, the right woman, or this book. If you have a son, stop. Now. Turn to your son and tell him how much you love him, and how he makes you proud in a dozen little ways every day. Then go out and buy this book.
Read it. Study it. Learn it.
After a rather disasterous ending to the relationship with my son's mother, I found myself with a hell of a lot of negative feelings, and a horrible tendancy to snap at my little lad, even when he hadn't really done anything wrong, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It took this book, and some much needed, if a bit blunt, feedback from a good friend who is a father of 2 of his own boys, to open my eyes to what was happening to my son. Plus an intervention by his school regarding his disruptive behaviour in class and at playtimes.
I started trying to read this book from start to finish, but there was so much good stuff, I found myself losing key points, so I tried a different tack... I read each chapter 4 or 5 times over and over, until I had grasped the concepts in each one firmly in my mind, before I moved on to the next. This enabled me to start applying the techniques right away, and also allowed me to narrow down the scope of behaviour-modifcation to the aspects that needed adjusting the most.
Instead of applying the techniques from *my* father's era (on-track development warranted no comment, but failure to perform caused punishment... aka Negative Reinforcement), or it's opposite whereby undesirable behaviours were downplayed and positive efforts created disproportionate amounts/types of praise (aka Positive Reinforcment), I tried a more balanced approach, whereby negative behaviours triggered time-outs and 'big boy talk time' and desirable actions triggered moderate praise full of key phrases (eg. "That was a good catch, better than last time... well done, my big boy.")
I also found that by modifying my reactions to his behaviour, not only did I create a more stress-free learning environment, but his determination to 'stick with it' when he didn't succeed within the first couple of tries... something he was notorious for avoiding, choosing instead to flip out and abort all attempts to improve out of disappointment in his lack of perfection. He became more accepting of the "mistakes are OK, so long as you learn from them and try to do better next time" mindset... as evidenced with his recent attempts to learn how to dive into a pool... he actually DEMANDED the chance to keep trying until he had made clear improvements before returning to playtime!
Overall, his moods have improved massively, his attitude towards dealing with new or unplanned experiences have stabilised, and he has changed into a much happier little man since... and it is due in great part to this book. Full of great ideas and simple-to-understand concepts, each chapter is capped off by a simple bullet-pointed summary of the concepts discussed and explained therein. If you have a son, this is an indispensible resource you should NOT overlook... so get thee to the bookshop... pronto...
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