By James, Stephen & David Thomas.
As a mother to all boys, you can imagine I have read my share of books on raising boys. If there was ever a manual in raising boys, this is it! Stephen James and David Thomas understand what it takes to develop a boy into manhood.
In Wild Things they guide readers through the five stages of a boy’s development, detailing each stage, along with new principles to put into action. They also cover topics in how parents should discuss sex, homosexuality, and pornography with their boys. Stephen James and David Thomas lay out the three most important factors in keeping a boy from experimenting with drugs, along with the role of a father and the role of a mother in raising them to become a man.
This worthy, engaging owner’s manual on boys aged two to 22 is written from a reserved, supportive Christian perspective. With five sons between them, the authors (both therapists) view testosterone-fueled shenanigans with droll humor and encourage parents to remain calm when upsetting things inevitably occur. The authors aptly demonstrate their view that “[t]he older a boy gets, the more he needs from his caregivers.” With real-life examples both mundane and dramatic, they discuss characteristics frequently shared among boys of similar ages and provide guidance on what boys need most during those stages. Practical direction (e.g., give young “Explorers” “space to roam”), along with encouragement to be open and honest when parenting, is constant. While some suggestions (e.g., monitoring MySpace accounts or backpack inspections) may alarm some at first, they are tempered by the authors’ admonition to “keep a watchful eye” and inform sons you’ll be doing so. The work effectively straddles William Sears’s attachment parenting and the more openly authoritative style of John Rosemond. In a crowded field, this work is highly recommended for all public libraries and for collections supporting teachers and the helping professions.–Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Hartford –Library Journal, February 2009