Michael Gurian on Raising Boys



When Michael Gurian published The Wonder of Boys in 1996, there “wasn’t any national consciousness about boys’ issues,” he says.

A quarter century later, there are dozens of books about boys, and parents, educators, and politicians alike are realizing that we must address boys’ issues if we are to address the current epidemic of violence. Yet despite this progress, “we are still talking about ancillary concepts as to why these boys kill people rather than getting to the root causes of what’s going on,” Gurian says. We also “still don’t systemically understand boys or how to raise them.”

What Parents Need to Know About Male Depression

Male depression, for instance, is often unrecognized (and untreated) because it is covert. A boy who immerses himself in video games, does just enough school work to get by, or uses drugs or alcohol may actually be depressed. As many as 10-20% of males may be experiencing unrecognized depression, and these males are having an outsized impact on our culture and lives, Gurian says.

Parents, healthcare providers, and counselors need to learn about male development — and they need to learn how to recognize and respond to the signs of male depression, which may include anger, irritability, withdrawal, and substance use. Parents and educators must also partner together to figure out how to help boys succeed in school.

How Parents Can Partner with Schools to Help Boys Succeed

“Parents and schools need to get really well connected around a specific question: How do we make sure the boys can succeed as well as the girls?” Gurian says.

He suggests parents of boys connect with other parents of boys (from at least 3 other families) to create teams to share info, gather data, and approach school administration, expressing their concern and willingness to help address gender disparities in academics and discipline referrals.

In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Michael discuss:
  • Progress we’ve made — and not made — regarding boys’ issues over the last 2+ decades
  • What the Left and Right get wrong about boys & men
  • Why you may want to consider going organic
  • Male depression
  • The need to train healthcare providers & counselors in male development
  • Importance of fathers and male mentoring
  • Advocating for boys at school
  • How tech affects boys’ brains
  • Boys & violence
  • Male bonding
  • “Toxic masculinity”
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Gurian Institute — online home for all things Gurian (includes links to his books, classes, & upcoming events)

What We Must Do to Stop the Killing — blog post by Michael Gurian

Helping Boys Thrive virtual summit, sponsored by The Boys Initiative and Gurian Institute — online event happening October 8, 2022 (register HERE)

The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Educators, and Mentors Can Do to Help Boys Become Exceptional Men, by Michael Gurian

The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens

Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy & Resilient Boys, by Michael Gurian

Anxiety and Depression in Boys — ON BOYS episode

Kellen CARES Foundation — non-profit that helps young men & their families navigate mental health issues

My Family Tested 20 Kid-Safe Phones & Devices — and These Were the Best — article mentioned at 23:10

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