“Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys” by Dan Kindlon, Ph.D and Michael Thompson, Ph.D
I mean, I’m a girl, so I’m only imagining, but after reading “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys,” I feel way more in tune with the drama that comes from growing up male in America.
By now, the issues that girls face as they mature and proceed through their school years is common knowledge — the influence of the media, the rise of mean girls, the prevailing belief that you’ll only be loved if you’re skinny and “hot,” the “rape culture” of many countries in this world (Hey, Steubenville, I’m talking to you!) — It’s all downright depressing.
Yet, the fact that boys suffer a lot of similar issues hadn’t gotten as much discussion until the publishing of Kindlon and Thompson’s book, which happened to come out a mere eight days before the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999, and as such became a New York Times bestseller. Picking it up to read it not long after the recent Newtown tragedy – also a crime committed by a young man – brought home the fact that we’re a still a world with a long way to go.
Through case studies from their actual practices, Kindlan and Thompson shed some light on issues ranging from parental relationships to romantic relationships to depression and suicide. It’s clear that boys often feel the pressure to maintain a traditional and stoic masculinity, which they see in the media, and try their best to “man up” and hide their emotions. Kindlan and Thompson are trying to let them reclaim their very real and evident human emotions.
It’s a thought-provoking read, especially if you’re the parent of a boy — which I am. I don’t doubt that my son will grow up to be well-adjusted, open-minded, and feeling free to express his feelings. I just wish every parent of a boy would give this book a read — maybe we’d be raising a happier generation.