09 November 2009

Boys and Girls

I recently finished Why Gender Matters and Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

The first gathers the results of studies conducted in the last decade or so on sex differences between boys and girls, men and women. Dr. Sax outlines differences in the development of the eye, the ear, and the brain; responses to stress; perception of pain; and so much more. It was absolutely fascinating and has helped me understand my husband and sons better - it helped me understand my girls better, too.

Throughout the book, Dr. Sax discusses the effect this information should have on how we educate and raise boys and girls. There is much food for thought.

Caveat: Dr. Sax includes some explicit information in a few of his chapters. I'd also caution that he doesn't have a biblical worldview and really disagreed with his conclusions about discipline.

Boys Adrift focuses on boys, natch. He begins by asking what in the world is going on with so many boys and young men and their complete lack of motivation (no, not all boys and young men, but a goodly portion of them; anyone see Failure to Launch?). He presents five factors that he thinks can be linked causally to this situation: school structure, ritalin and its compatriots, endocrine disruptors, video games, and young men's lack of relationships with a community of older men. Again, there are many, many footnotes and much research has been done.

Both books have really gotten me thinking. Although I've never bought the fiction that the only differences between the sexes have to do with reproduction, these books bring much data and many particulars to the discussion and, I think, would be quite helpful to any mom of boys.


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