What is my son doing behind his constantly closed door? What’s with his curt responses, impulsiveness, newfound obsession with gaming, and . . . that funky smell? As pediatrician and mother of two teenagers Cara Natterson explains, puberty starts in boys long before any visible signs appear, and that causes confusion about their changing temperaments for boys and parents alike. Often, they also grow quieter as they grow taller, which leads to less parent-child communication. But, as Natterson warns in Decoding Boys, we respect their increasing “need” for privacy, monosyllabic conversations, and alone time at their peril. Explaining how modern culture mixes badly with male adolescent biology, Natterson offers science, strategies, scripts, and tips for getting it right:
• recognizing the first signs of puberty and talking to our sons about the wide range of “normal” through the whole developmental process
• why teenagers make irrational decisions even though they look mature—and how to steer them toward better choices
• managing video game and screen time, including discussing the unrealistic and dangerous nature of pornography
• why boys need emotional and physical contact with parents—and how to give it in ways they’ll accept
• how to prepare boys to resist both old and new social pressures—drugs, alcohol, vaping, and sexting
• teaching consent and sensitivity in the #MeToo culture
Decoding Boys is a powerful and validating lifeline, a book that will help today’s parents keep their sons safe, healthy, and resilient, as well as ensure they will become emotionally secure young men.