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boy sitting on ball

What Am I Teaching My Son If I Let Him Quit Playing Sports Just Because He’s Afraid of the Ball?

  You are teaching him… that you respect him, even if you don’t understand his choices. that you will listen closely to what he says and take it at face value. that it pays to speak up. that he doesn’t have to disguise his real feelings in order to gain or sustain your approval. that […]

barber shop red white and blue pole

“Boys Will Be Boys”: A Bad Excuse for Bad Behavior

It’s a simple phrase meant to dismiss bad boy behavior as simply boy behavior. Because of it, countless boys have been left to suffer at the hands of other boys, the latter group empowered by the implicit sanctioning of their brutality. Sure, girls and boys are different. Most girls will never take to blowing snot […]

tail lights of a car

What My Son Learned The Day My Car Was Repossessed

  Mom, there’s a guy in our driveway with a tow truck, my son reports. With miscalculated insouciance I reply, No worries, dude, I’m sure it’s Bill. Bill, our neighbor, owns a service station. He’s hooking up your car, mom. I run outside to yell at this man, who’s not Bill, and end up handing […]

Don’t Do A Victory Dance When Your Kid Says You Were Right

  Heidi was a 15 year old girl who came for therapy at the behest of her parents. “She’s been furious with us ever since we had her transfer to a charter school,” her mother told me over the phone when setting up her first appointment. “Her father and I were convinced she’d do better […]

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, […]

Teenager Not Motivated For School?

  A colleague wrote me asking for my ideas about how to work in therapy with adolescents who have turned off to school:     “… Homework is one issue that continues to be a dilemma. As you know, there is the parental expectation that their kids do well in school … get good grades, […]

Five Reasons Why Your Teenager Won’t Take Your Advice

Ever wonder why your teen takes a pass on your advice? Especially when you know “for a fact” that it’s really good? Here are five reasons why teenagers might look elsewhere for solutions or support, or nowhere at all. It can explain those times when they stick with a bad decision even though they know […]

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; […]