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Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys

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Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys Cover

ISBN13: 9780345434852
ISBN10: 0345434854
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. With what preconceptions of boys did you open Raising Cain? To what extent were your assumptions shaped by firsthand experience, media depictions, cultural stereotypes, or what the authors call archetypes? Which of your views were most challenged, if not changed, by the book? Why?

2. Kindlon and Thompson state that all boys are born with emotional potential. What obstacles prevent them from giving expression to the range and complexity of their emotional lives? How does our culture construct such barriers? Do the trials that boys face today differ considerably from those confronted by boys a generation or two ago?

3. The authors express real reservations about reducing the development of boys to a "nature versus nurture" conflict. Wherein lies their disregard for this approach?

4. Class and race do not emerge as primary issues in the authors' examination of the challenges facing boys. What weight would you give to these issues vis-à-vis a boy's development? Which challenges cut across lines of race and class, and which are exacerbated by them?

5. Some critics have seen Raising Cain as part of the so-called boys movement that arose in response to the girls movement engendered by the popularity of Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia. Do you credit such a view? What cultural shifts help to create such a situation? What are the pros and cons of such movements?

6. In "A Paper Trail of Trouble to Come," Dan Kindlon concludes that helping male students to maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem is of primary importance. Why does he invest so much in self-esteem? What threats to self-esteem do boys often encounter, and how do they usually deal with them? What can parents and educators do to assist them in these trials?

7. Michael Thompson writes that "ease with verbal expression improves impulse control." What relation exists between a facility with language and "emotional literacy"? What activities inhibit or develop a boy's ability to express himself? What forms of expression other than language do boys often employ in the name of expression? Discuss the shortcomings and benefits of each.

8. Which of the difficult issues facing boys today mirror those of the adult culture? What connection do you perceive between the two worlds? For example, does the pharmaceutical-as-panacea view held by many adults color the way we approach boys and their problems?

9. What lies behind the authors' unequivocal disapproval of harsh discipline? How does corporal punishment compare to its verbal counterpart? Do the repercussions of each differ? How? Does gender often determine the sort of discipline a child receives? Should it? What characterizes constructive discipline?

10. Explicate the "culture of cruelty" that Kindlon and Thompson acknowledge as present and virulent. What contributes to and perpetuates such a culture? Why are boys implicated and entangled in this culture more often than girls? Is the "culture of cruelty" a distinctly American phenomenon?

11. How does the role of "emotional literacy" differ in a father-son relationship and a mother-son relationship? What distinctions seem fixed, or open to redefinition? Is there value in preserving that which distinguishes one relationship from the other?

12. Why does isolation, particularly that of a desperate and threatening sort, appear to ensnare more boys than girls? What leaves boys lost in the labyrinth of the self, and what helps them to move through that maze toward others? What can a parent do to distinguish a meaningful retreat to solitude from a harmful, helpless fall into depression?

13. Kindlon and Thompson argue that emotional illiteracy and the desire to flee from emotional isolation begin to explain the lure of alcohol and drugs for adolescent males. Discuss their argument. What other problems arise when a young man's emotional life is fractured, darkened, or silenced? Do you accept the extent to which the authors invest meaning in the emotions of a boy's life?

14. How does a boy's relationship to his mother set the stage for his interactions with girls as an adolescent? What other factors contribute to the expectations and nascent understanding with which he begins an intimate relationship?

15. How do violence, aggression, and anger function as a means of expression for some adolescent males? What leads them from a language of words to a language of action? How does our society's reluctance to acknowledge the complexity of causes behind violence perpetuate the problem? What significance should one assign to the sort of violence found in the entertainments--movies, video games, music, sport--popular among boys today?

16. In their closing chapter, Kindlon and Thompson write, "What boys need, first and foremost, is to be seen through a different lens than tradition prescribes." Describe the conventional lens. In what ways does Raising Cain redefine such a lens? What myths about boys were undone or unsettled by your reading? Which were preserved?

17. Acknowledging the shortcomings of the bulleted point, Kindlon and Thompson conclude nonetheless with seven suggestions for raising boys. Acknowledging the arbitrariness of lists of ten, add three more points and explain your amendments.

The interview and questions were prepared by Ron Fletcher. Ron Fletcher teaches English at Boston College High School. He is at work on his first novel.

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holli19019, January 23, 2008 (view all comments by holli19019)
Have been looking and looking for a book that will offer insights on how to help my son grow up to be a mature well rounded young man without all the he-man attitudes and no male role model for him to look up too. Am hoping this book will enable me to assist him on his journey from pre-teen to teen to manhood.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345434852
With:
Barker, Teresa
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
With:
Barker, Teresa
Author:
Dan Kindlon, Ph.D.
Author:
Kindlon, Daniel J.
Author:
Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Author:
Thompson, Michael
Author:
Thompson, Michael Phd
Author:
Kindlon, Dan Phd
Author:
Dan Kindlon, Ph.D. and Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Boys
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Child Development
Subject:
Child Psychology
Subject:
Adolescent Psychology
Subject:
Emotions
Subject:
Emotions in children
Subject:
Masculinity
Subject:
Sex role in children.
Subject:
Emotions in adolescence.
Subject:
Developmental - Child
Subject:
Developmental - Adolescent
Subject:
Psychotherapy - Child & Adolescent
Subject:
Parenting
Subject:
Psychology-Child Psychology
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st trade pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 2000
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.24x5.48x.70 in. .55 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mood Disorders and Depression

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345434852 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A genuine enthusiasm for their subject shines through the pages of this enormously compelling book....This thoughtful book is recommended for parents, teachers or anyone with a vested interest in raising happy, healthy, emotionally whole young men."
"Review" by , "Brilliant....This affectionate, encouraging book should be require reading for anyone raising — or educating — a boy."
"Review" by , "Raising Cain helps us understand the inner lives of boys much as Mary Pipher's Raising Ophelia shed light on the struggle of the adolescent girl."
"Review" by , "Raising Cain gives a long-needed insight into that mysterious, magical land, the psyches of boys. Every parent, teacher — or anyone who wants boys to flourish — should read this book."
"Review" by , "Valuable advice to parents who want to help their sons develop emotional awareness and empathy as tools to navigate the social pressures of youth."
"Review" by , "[The authors] make a passionate and compelling case that emotional literacy is the most valuable gift that we can offer our sons. Highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by , An expert in child development from Harvard and a preeminent child psychologist offer groundbreaking guidance for parents and educators of boys in crisis. They shine a light on the physical and emotional well-being of teenage boys and the unique risks and dangers they face during the most pivotal time of their lives.
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