Synopses & Reviews
Raising thriving, emotionally healthy sons does not require a man around the house! That's the conclusion of a groundbreaking research study that will open eyes, stir debate, and reassure nearly 10 million single mothers.
As the number of single-mom and two-mom households has grown, so have concerns about the possible damage to boys caused by the lack of a male role model in the house. Peggy F. Drexler, Ph.D., listened to all the dire warnings; but her training as a research psychologist told her she had to see the evidence. So she embarked on a long-term study comparing boys raised in female-headed families with those whose fathers were present throughout their childhood. What Dr. Drexler discovered is as heartening as it is startling:
Raising Boys Without Men
- Female-headed households may be even better parents for boys than households with men
- Sons from these families are growing up emotionally stronger, more empathetic, and more well-rounded than boys from "traditional" mother-father families
- While more in touch with their feelings, these boys remain boyish and masculine in all the ways defined by our culture
offers an inclusive vision of what family can mean and a blueprint for raising happier, healthier sons.
"Single or gay mothers-whom Drexler dubs 'maverick moms'-are 'real' parents, in case anyone needed reminding. The families they create are 'as real and as legitimate as any other.' The author, an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, bases her book on an extensive research study she conducted. Though she's curiously cagey on numbers, she does reveal that she interviewed a variety of lesbian mothers, single mothers, sons of single moms and sons of two-mother families. The results of her survey serve as a refreshing antidote to critics who insist that family life today is on the verge of being atomized. In an upbeat but never preachy tone, Drexler retells anecdote after anecdote illustrating her point (namely, that female-headed households may be better for boys than households with men). The book is mostly narrative in structure, with bulleted points at the end of each chapter explaining what 'maverick moms' do that makes them successful parents (they encourage their sons to participate in a wide variety of activities; they actively recruit male figures from their families and the community to be in their sons' lives; they model the behavior they want their sons to emulate, and set examples of strength and compassion; etc.). This important work will serve as a beacon to the country's nearly 10 million single mothers. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Truly a cutting-edge book . . . important for everyone who cares about the future of the American family." --Carol Gilligan, author of The Birth of Pleasure "This important work will serve as a beacon to the country's nearly 10 million single mothers."--Publishers Weekly "As I read this book, I could almost hear the sound of the flying monkeys swooping in from out on the right. Books like this are attacked for the truths they tell. And there is no greater truth you can tell to the nation's single mothers than 'Relax. If you love him, support him, listen to him--your boy will turn out just fine.'" --Bette Midler
"This is a wonderful book--a very necessary book. We live in an age of labels: you're normal, you're not. For the so-called non-traditional families that want only to make their way in the world, labels can do incredible damage. Boys Without Men makes a convincing and empathetic case that very good things come from outside the bounds of our worn-out assumptions." --Henry Louis Gates W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University
"This is the answer to those who believe they can attach limits to the idea of family. It's part guide, part affirmation, part eye-opening proof that family is far less about composition, than it is about the power of its love and support." --Jann Wenner, editor and publisher, Rolling Stone Magazine
"Peggy Drexler is such a perfect guide to parenting in the 21st century, of what makes the most basic institution of society click, I wondered: How did she get so smart about life? Decades of research, of course, but also an uncanny knack for seeing inside the human heart. Pull up a chair and read this book. You'll be a better parent for it." --Margaret Carlson, first woman columnist, Time Magazine, political columnist, Bloomberg News, and Washington editor of The Week magazine.
"This highly readable, well researched, groundbreaking, myth shattering book should lay to rest all unfounded ideological opposition to nontraditional families. Everyone who wants to see the best interest of children served must read and act on this book's wisdom and research. " --Alan Dershowitz, Author and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University
"Once a decade, it seems, there is a book that suddenly makes it all clear that what we have been led to believe about ourselves, gender roles and expectations is nothing more than hooey. This is such a book. A well-researched and clearly written testament that people are people and families are not nuclear but functional." --Rita Henley Jensen, founder and editor in chief, Women's eNews
"I've always been in the idea business. So it's exciting when I see something blow away convention. This book creates controversy. And that's good. Controversy means people are thinking instead of assuming." --Donny Deutsch, Chairman and CEO of Deutsch, Inc, Host of CNBC's hit show "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch", author of "Often Wrong, Never In Doubt"
"Raising Boys without Men changes the terms of our fractious national conversation about how we can raise boys to become good men. Peggy Drexler's thoughtful, engaging book demonstrates that fine parenting comes in various shapes, sizes, and genders." --Judith Stacey, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Professor of Sociology, New York University
"Raising Boys Without Men
is as much a work of advocacy as objective research. As such, it's the latest entry in the ever growing field of 'You go, girl!' studies. There is nothing a woman can do that is so fundamentally self-centered that it won't be met with a cackle of 'You go, girl!' from a female somewhere on the planet. It's a way of transforming an essentially selfish act into one of liberation, and thereby protecting it from male criticism." Caitlin Flanagan, the Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
The author embarked on a long-term study comparing boys raised in female-headed families with those whose fathers were present throughout their childhood. Her finding: Female-headed households may be even better parents for boys than households with men.
Backed by peer-reviewed research, this hotly debated bestseller (San Francisco Chronicle) continues to open eyes with its finding that raising thriving, emotionally healthy sons does not require a man in the house. As the number of single-mom and two-mom households has grown, so have concerns about the possible damage caused by the lack of a stable male role model in the house. Determined to find the truth, research psychologist Peggy Drexler embarked on a long-term study comparing boys raised in nontraditional families with those whose fathers were present throughout their childhood. The results were startling. Female-headed households can provide even better parenting for boys than households with men. Sons from female-headed families can grow up emotionally stronger and more well-rounded than boys from "traditional" mother-father families--more in touch with their feelings yet masculine in all the ways defined by our culture.
Nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award in Parenting, Raising Boys Without Men has been featured on numerous television shows and in print, from Good Morning America to Good Housekeeping.
About the Author
Peggy is a research psychologist who has worked with children and their families over many years. A former Gender Scholar at Stanford University and a former member of the Board of Directors of the NYU Cchild Study Center, she is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
LINDEN GROSS, former special features editor of the Los Angeles Times, is an accomplished ghostwriter with several notable books to her credit, including Julia "Butterfly" Hill's The Legacy of Luna. She lives in Northern California.