“‘Boys Adrift’ The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men” by Leonard Sax, MD., PhD

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-1-48-21-pmMy friend recommended three of Leonard Sax’ books, the other two being “Girls on the Edge,” and “The Collapse of Parenting”. I will review those books in the next few months.

I have three sons and it has been a huge concern of mine. That’s one of the reasons I have chanted “I’m a Fierce Mormon Mother!” in my brain to get them to step up and learn to work, curb the video games and be self-sufficient. YOU HAVE TO BE COMMITTED! And, you also have to be aware of what societal forces are working against you.

Here are some excerpts from the beginning of “Boys Adrift”. Dr. Leonard Sax wrote,

“I’m a family physician. For 18 years I lived and worked in the same suburb of Washington DC, where we had more than 7000 patients in our practice. I saw hundreds of families where the girls are the smart, driven ones, while their brothers are laid back and unmotivated. The opposite pattern—with the boy becoming the intense, successful child while his sister is relaxed and unconcerned with the future— is rare.”

“The end result of this spreading malaise is becoming increasingly familiar. Emily (or Maria or Destiny) goes to college, she earns her degree, she gets a job. She has a life. Justin (or Carlos or Damian) may go to college for a year, or two, or six, and he may or may not get a degree, but he doesn’t get as far. If he goes to college he’s likely to have a great time there, in part because there are now roughly three girls at college for every two boys…but the young women at college are more likely to be studying while the young men are  goofing off.”

“I know one family where the daughter graduated in four years with a double major, in Chinese language and in international business. Immediately upon graduation she had multiple offers in the 100,000 range. Her brother attended the same university and graduated in six years with a degree in anthropology. He’s working at Starbucks and living home with his parents.”

“But here’s what is really strange, and new about this picture: that young man isn’t bothered by his situation. His parents are. His girlfriend , if she hasn’t left him yet, is at least having second thoughts about him. But he seems to be oblivious to their concerns as he surfs the Net on the computer his parents have provided, or plays video games on the flat-screen television his parents bought for him.”

Here are some other excerpts from Dr. Leonard Sax:

“A growing number of boys are disengaging from school.”

“Here are the numbers for the male proportion of students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in the United States from 1970 to 2014. In 1970 57.7 percent of undergraduates were male…in 2014 43.1 percent were male.”

“Gray matter develops earlier and faster in girls, with the result that the gray matter in the brain of an adolescent girl is about two years more mature than that of the same age boy.”

Critics of American Education often point out, quite accurately, that the United States spends more money per pupil than most other developed countries and yet accomplishes less. On the international test most widely administered around the world, the United States ranks at #24 in reading, well below those countries whose per pupil spending on education is much lower, such as Estonia, (#11), Poland (#10), and Finland (#6). Finland, incidentally, consistently scores very well on international ratings. Children in Finland don’t begin any formal school until they are 7 years old. Nevertheless, by the time they are teenagers, Finnish children are beating American children by large margins on the same test.”

Betsy Newell, director of another prestigious private elementary school in Manhattan, said, “The gift of a year is the best gift you can give your child.”

“In view of the research demonstration large and robust difference in the development of girls’ brains compared with the boys’ brains, you might expect to find that teachers and school administrators are trying hard to accommodate girl/boy differences in learning…Most teachers and most school administrators are not familiar with this research. Instead, many have been taught that gender is nothing more than a “social construct,” no different from race or social class.

“This book is about boys, and the 5 factors driving their growing apathy and lack of motivation.”

On my next post I will highlight the first factors that Dr. Sax is concerned about: The First Factor:Changes at School.

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