From depression to dropping grades, from incidents of violence to teen suicide, today's adolescent boys are one of the largest at-risk groups in America today. In this bracing and insightful book, the bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys directs our attention to the unknown problems and marvels of this age group, helping parents and mentors shepherd boys through the challenging ages of ten to twenty.
Puberty encourages guilty alienation and fear. The result is that other boys often have a good deal of influence in the lives of younger adolescent friends, for better or for worse. A number of medical conditions have become almost common among adolescent boys, at least in part because of a lack of support. These range from simple depression, to trauma, to the elaborately named attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Experimentation with drugs and alcohol has become almost common, and these contribute to delinquency and sometimes even to suicide.
In A FINE YOUNG MAN Gurian establishes three major stages in a boy’s progress to manhood: transformation (the metabolic changes from ages nine to thirteen), determination (characterized by alternate aggression and withdrawal), and consolidation (indicated by determining and testing definitions of adult male behavior). He concludes by offering what he considers indications that the process of individuation has begun. He returns often to the worthwhile observation that what boys need at every stage of the process of maturing is consistent support from a variety of sources both within and outside of the family. It is this support that is too often lacking.
“Filled with stories and practical advice for parents and teachers of adolescent boys… I recommend it to those who want to raise fine young men.”
—Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia
“Convincingly illustrates . . . the peculiar pain and potential loneliness of being a boy in America today.”
“Provocative… His Wonder of Boys became the impetus for a growing ‘boys movement.’ “
“Proactive and ultimately imbued with hope. With persuasive eloquence, Gurian outlines thoughtful and practical steps.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Any parent will find this an intriguing, immensely readable book.”
Michael Gurian is a psychotherapist and bestselling author whose books include The Wonder of Boys and The Good Son. His work reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and American) in which he lived, worked, and studied. He has taught psychology, religion, mythology, and literature at three American universities and at Ankara University in Turkey. He lives with his wife and two children in Spokane, Washington.