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Figure Skater Johnny Weir Hits A Chord With Marginalized Youth

In the 2006 Winter Olympics, a young man by the name of Johnny Weir competed in men’s figure skating. Weir skated beautifully in his short program, but not so well in the long program. He didn’t win a medal, despite high hopes from his countrymen. But his flamboyant style and unapologetic demeanor captured the attention […]

jake and austin in florida

My Son Doesn’t Like to Play Sports and I’m OK With That

Austin (with Clifford & Monkey) and Jake (with Curious George) My son doesn’t like to play sports. And I’m okay with that. I’m not so sure about the rest of America, though. In our culture, it seems that boys who aren’t interested in sports are quickly set apart from the other boys on the block. […]

Not Every Boy Likes to Play Sports: Signs of Nonathletic Boys in Trouble and How You Can Help

Here are some of the things you’ll hear or see from boys who become anxious when they think they might have to get involved in some game, or get stuck being the only one sitting it out. They may complain of bellyaches, headaches, or general “I don’t feel well” on gym days. They might hang […]

How We Like Our Teenagers: Coltish and Unruly

Despite our communal anxiety about keeping adolescents in check, our culture still seems to like its teenagers a little coltish and unruly. You see this in parents’ bemused tolerance for their kids’ antics, and in the charity afforded them when rude or irresponsible; “typical teenage behavior” it’s called, which is unfortunate. Teenagers can do better, […]

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School Bullying in the United Arab Emirates

  The following are comments that Beth Margolis Rupp, my co-author on The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Don’t Like Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood, and I gave to Jennifer Bell, Senior National Reporter for The National, an English-language newspaper published in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Beth resides in Abu Dhabi and was contacted by Bell, […]

Closing Down the School of Hard Knocks

Sure, the kid is tough and “can take it.” But should he have to? “He’s tough, he’s a boy. He can take it,” says a father about his six-year-old son, who just got knocked flat on his face by an older brother testing out his brand-new bike. Sure he can take it. What choice does he have? […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports:  Family Game Night and the Art of Interruption

This is the last in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. I wouldn’t consider this series on good sportsmanship to be complete without saying at least a few words about family game nights—those hotbeds of rivalry disguised as interludes of filial togetherness. The problem of course isn’t in being competitive; […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Humiliation is a horrible “motivational” technique.

This is the fifth in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually played better, ran faster, or threw more accurately as a result of being humiliated by his coach. I’ve known plenty of kids who’ve tried harder when scolded, but that usually doesn’t […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Bad sportsmanship doesn’t self-correct

  This is the fourth in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports.   Here’s the bad news: Bad sportsmanship isn’t “just a phase” and it’s not something a kid is going to magically grow out of. Here’s the good news: There are things you can do to encourage better sportsmanship […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Wanting to win is okay as long as no one ends up demoralized in the process

This is the third in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. #3 Wanting to win is okay as long as no one ends up demoralized in the process.     Winning feels good. Losing—not so much. In fact, losing feels bad enough that winners don’t really need to rub it […]