Mastermindsby Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World (Harmony, September 2013)

Boys are so much easier than girls. There’s no drama.

Boys just punch it out and it’s over.

Eleven years ago when I published Queen Bees & Wannabes, a huge amount of attention was placed on girls and their social dynamics. But in all the years I’ve worked with boys and girls, I knew that boys struggled with many of the same challenges girls did—we were just having a really hard time seeing it. As the years passed I grew increasingly concerned, as I saw many boys adopt an appearance of detachment from their most meaningful relationships, their future academic or professional success, and any desire to make the world a better place. In the words of Will, age 20:

In my AP classes, I was always one of five guys. The same five guys in a classroom of girls. I had plenty of guy friends who could have taken those classes but they didn’t want to do it. They’d rather be the best among the mediocre. Really my friends would rather look stupid.

Two years ago, I decided to pull back the curtain on Boy World—a place I knew was much more complex than most people believe. (more…)

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Sticks and Stonesby Emily Bazelon, author of the forthcoming book Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (Random House, February 2013)

When I was in eighth grade, my friends fired me. Two and a half decades later, I can say that wryly: it happened to plenty of people, and we survived—look at us now, right? But at the time, in that moment, it was impossible to have that kind of perspective. Being rejected by the girls I loved left me crawling with insecurity and self-doubt—what had I done wrong? I disappeared from the lunchroom and hid during free periods. I dreaded the words “choose a partner” in class, especially gym, where you could either pair up and scamper away or stand there alone. At home I cried. On some level, I guess, I knew that I wasn’t the only lonely thirteen-year-old in the world, but how did that help, really? Instead of finding some inner source of comfort, I picked myself apart—was I too bossy? Irritating? Self-absorbed? What was it that had driven them away? What was wrong with me? (more…)