The Social and Emotional Health of Boys

Dr. Anthony Rao is a pediatric psychologist and an expert on the development of boys. His book, The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys, is an insightful primer for parents on how to handle the unique—and at times exasperating—challenges of raising sons. A blend of scientific information and practical advice, the book highlights the many ways that today’s society often puts a range of normal boy behaviors in the problem category.

You can download an expanded version of this blog post here.

  “Boys receive the vast majority of special education services, in part because teachers report their behaviors as problematic. While this has been true for older boys for quite a while, what we are seeing now are IEPs for three- and four-year-olds, most of whom are boys.”   —    The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys, by Dr. Anthony Rao

“Boys receive the vast majority of special education services, in part because teachers report their behaviors as problematic. While this has been true for older boys for quite a while, what we are seeing now are IEPs for three- and four-year-olds, most of whom are boys.”The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys, by Dr. Anthony Rao

It’s Nurture and Nature

  Time outdoors exploring the natural world is a healthy beginning for both boys and girls—and something that is increasingly hard to find as even preschool programs become academically oriented.    

Time outdoors exploring the natural world is a healthy beginning for both boys and girls—and something that is increasingly hard to find as even preschool programs become academically oriented.

 

For example, how many parents know that girls seem to be wired from birth to look at faces far more often than boys? This neurological difference translates to behavioral differences that can get boys in trouble once they reach preschool, where making eye contact is expected and becomes a litmus test for normal social development.

Along with differences in genetics and socialization, boys must also contend with the demands and biases of today’s fast-paced, highly competitive, digitally overloaded world—forces which often work against boys’ learning styles and natural development.

Dr. Rao will explore these themes and more in his talk, "Raising Boys to Be Their Best in a Rapidly Changing World," at the Waldorf School of Lexington next Tuesday, March 20. Details here.

Dr. Rao holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Vanderbilt University. For more than 20 years, Dr. Rao worked in the Department of Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and served as an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He currently consults with families all over the country, and is the founder of Behavioral Solutions, a therapy practice here in Lexington, MA.

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