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The Good Son

Shaping the Moral Development of Our Boys and Young Men

by Michael Gurian
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Michael Gurian, The Good Son: Shaping the Moral Development of Our Boys and Young Men (New York, NY: Putnam, 1999). Order on-line Order audio book on-line

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The Good Son: Shaping the Moral Development of Our Boys and Young Men ,
by Michael Gurian
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Good Sons
MenWeb Men's Community
photo essay
inspired by discussion of Michael Gurian's book The Good Son
Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1999
Gurian (A Fine Young Man), one of today's premier writers on the subject of male development, moves beyond the realm of sociological and psychological analysis to provide a timely and practical parenting guide. Focusing specifically on the subject of moral development - a matter of hot debate in the wake of such tragedies as the Columbine High School shooting - Gurian writes from his own experience as a family therapist. Citing an "increase in ethical numbness, moral distraction, and spiritual emptiness among boys and young men," he examines the roots of potential problems - such as the abandonment of our children's moral development to potentially toxic" visual media - and then lays out a well-organized blueprint for ushering boys into adulthood. Gurian discusses such topics as biological and neurological development as well as building spiritual life and dealing with media influence (for example, he notes that a boy of nine or 10 should not "see images he cannot or should not experience with his own body and soul t this time in his life"). Gurian concludes with a list of age-appropriate books and movies that "stimulate moral growth in boys."

Parents and caregivers will welcome the direction and reassurance of this outstanding book in their efforts to guide boys "toward loving, wise, and responsible manhood - compassionate life."

From Kirkus Reviews
A practical guide for parents in raising sons to become compassionate and responsible men. In calling for a ``moral and ethical revival in the raising of boys,'' therapist Gurian, the author of two prior books about raising boys, speaks to the concern of many that our culture is failing to develop character in its young males. After examining the gender differences in male brains, hormones, and social acculturation that place them at greater risk than females, he argues that boys need more structure, discipline, guidance, and training than is commonly provided. He then spells out the details in a ``Good Son Parenting Plan.'' The plan addresses the values of decency, fairness, empathy, self-sacrifice, respect, loyalty, service, responsibility, honesty, and honor. Each chapter tackles a stage of life: the age of obedience, comprising infancy, the toddler years, ages five and six; the age of convention: ages seven and eight, preadolescence, and prepuberty; and the age of moral intuition: puberty, the middle teens, and preadulthood. Instructive stories from a variety of sources open and close each chapterfables and myths from India, Hawaii, and East Africa, as well as personal experiences of parents and teachers. In each chapter the author traces the intellectual, emotional, and moral development occurring in that stage, and considers issues most likely to arise. He includes practical advice on dozens of issues from bedtime, television, and bullying to peer pressures, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Two features especially helpful to parents are ``The Range of Normal'' and ``Rules to Live By,'' in which Gurian sums up what is to be expected in a boys life at each stage. Appendices provide not only reading lists for parents but a selection of age-appropriate books and movies for stimulating moral growth in boys. A well-planned program whose nonsectarian, nonpreachy approach makes it an appropriate guide for all parents concerned about the moral development of their sons. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal
Here are two solid books with practical advice on how to raise well-adjusted, ethical young boys. The Good Son is the culminating third volume of Gurian's best-selling series (The Wonder of Boys, A Fine Young Man) about raising young males to become responsible men. Like many recent scholars, such as Gad Cudner (Small Criminal Among Us), Gurian offers ethical explanations of youth violence: his "good son parenting plan" revolves around morality and discipline. Astutely synthesizing Jean Piaget's cognitive and Lawrence Kohlberg's moral stages of development, he gives detailed guidelines for instilling "good virtues" during each of three stages of moral development: obedience (birth to six), convention (seven to 12), and moral intuition (13 to 18). On the other hand--and in contrast to Donald Black (Bad Boys, Mad Men: Confronting Antisocial Personality Disorder, LJ 3/1/99), who emphasizes genetic attribution--Newberger (pediatrics, Harvard Medical Sch.) thinks that the best explanation for boys' misbehavior is the interplay of biological drives and "character" development. He claims that boys are born with malleable "innate temperaments" that can be transformed into positive "male characteristics" such as self-control, courage, honesty, and sportsmanship. In short, boys can become leaders without resorting to violence. Both Gurian and Newberger use anecdotes to show that raising good sons need not be difficult, and their books are timely, insightful additions to the current debate on youth violence and school shootings. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Chogollah Maroufi, California State Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Book Description
The author of two groundbreaking bestsellers introduces a comprehensive cradle-to-college parenting program for raising ethical sons.

In his eagerly awaited new book, therapist and educator Michael Gurian presents the definitive guide to the moral development of our boys and young men. He takes readers through a complete parenting program, showing them how to instill virtues in boys at each of the three stages of life: The Age of Obedience (birth to six); The Age of Convention (seven to twelve); and The Age of Moral Intuition (thirteen to eighteen).

The Good Son also addresses "moral emergency" questions on how to cope with stealing, violence, and other forms of severe misbehavior. In addition, Gurian furnishes a list of the fifty top books and films that will help stimulate moral growth in boys and young men.

For parents and teachers who fear that our society has lost much of its moral and ethical underpinnings, The Good Son serves as a welcome guidepost. It is destined to become one of the premier books on parenting and moral life. Index. Appendix.

"A provocative book that may electrify the debate over how this nation raises its sons."--USA Today on The Wonder of Boys

"Convincingly illustrates . . . the peculiar pain and potential loneliness of being a boy in America today."--Time magazine on A Fine Young Man

About the Author
Michael Gurian has worked extensively with families, school districts, churches, and criminal justice agencies. Big Brothers and Big Sisters use his training videos for parents and volunteers, and thousands have attended his seminars and workshops. Gurian lives in Spokane, Washington.

Customer Comments
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars Number of Reviews: 2

A reader from Hixson, Tennessee , September 20, 1999 5 out of 5 stars
An outstanding eye opener to raising boys in todays society
This book needs to be given to all new parents with boys as they leave the hospital along with "What To Expect The First Year". Well written and not just facts about boys, but examples and roadmaps for each stage of their life. With two sons, I am sure that I will continue to use this book over and over. from USA , September 16, 1999 5 out of 5 stars
A must read for all parents of Boys!!!!!!!
The Author really explains the make up of a young boy threw man hood. The male in general is very different from Females. It was very refreshing to read a book that gives insight to the differences between boys and girls and how to reach our boys and help them become men of excellence and honor. America has lost its values in raising whole some young men. This book brings back the bassics in so many areas and helps parents remember the all important point, boys are different!! Boys are special, and need space to be boys, do boy things.


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