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Raising a Son


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About the Author

Don Elium is a marriage, family and child counselor. Jeanne Elium is a writer and communications facilitator at the East Bay Waldorf School. They live in Walnut Creek, California.


While much has been written about raising children in general, the authors, both family counselors, focus specifically on the challenge of raising sons. They trace the history of pretechnological societies where rites of passage turned boys into men, noting that no such rites exist today in our society. Indeed, by puberty many boys have no father to look up to. The Eliums single out testosterone as the powerful driving force behind the actions of boys and men. Like Robert Bly's Iron John ( LJ 11/15/90), this book explores a new masculine identity, but from the standpoint of the parents' role. Included is a guide to the psyche of sons from birth to maturity. It is recommended for collections serving parents, teachers, counselors, and big brothers.-- Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, Pa.

In this wide-ranging volume, the Eliums (he is a marriage, family and child counselor; she leads support groups) explore both sides of the nature vs. nurture argument. They believe that the male sex hormone testosterone is the root of both male development and behavior. They also emphasize the need boys have for a strong male role model. Some of their discussions may strike readers as too New Age or vague to be of use, but still, there is solid information here. What the authors do best is to illustrate how both mothers and fathers need to set limits for their sons and enforce those limits when necessary. They do this by citing examples and case studies, which will stir recognition in many families. The authors remind parents that they, too, will have to undergo some self-examination and changes of attitude in dealing with their sons. A handy index of publications, networks, and organizations that can help parents is appended. The Eliums' book may not be the final say-so in child-rearing, but it's an interesting signpost along the way. (May)

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