Why Boys Don’t Talk & Why Girls Do
February 12th, 2013 posted by Susan Morris Shaffer
Two great books to help parents understand their preteens and teens by Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon, LCSW-C, M.Ed.
When boys don’t talk, it is a way of protecting and preserving themselves. It should not be interpreted as disinterest or a lack of need for emotional involvement. On the contrary, boys want and need emotional closeness with their parents – and in particular, with their mothers. In WHY BOYS DON’T TALK AND WHY IT MATTERS: A Parent’s Survival Guide to Connecting with Your Teen (January 2005; Paperback; McGraw Hill; $14.95), teen experts Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon, LCSW-C, M.Ed. address the harsh realities and societal pressures facing teenage boys today, and provide parents with essential suggestions on how to maintain emotional connections with their sons.
As professionals in the fields of gender and adolescent issues, and both mothers of boys, Shaffer and Gordon have extensively interviewed teenage boys and girls, mothers, fathers, coaches, counselors, teachers, and psychologists to outline key issues. From these findings, they provide strategies for parents, and identify resources for increasing the ways in which boys can both stay connected and become men.
In their research, the authors have found the range of acceptable outlets for boys to be much narrower than it is for girls. Society pressures mothers into pushing away their sons for fear that their children may otherwise become dependent and enmeshed. Becoming a man is understood as becoming autonomous, self-sufficient, independent, and of course, separate. This may be achieved at the expense of learning how to stay connected with others, be intimate, participate in family responsibilities, and create a community.
WHY BOYS DON’T TALK AND WHY IT MATTERS provides parents with the confidence to find their own voice, trust their instincts, and maintain emotional connections with their sons. Included is invaluable advice, such as how to:
- Encourage empathy in the home.
- Help build closeness and a sense of family.
- Interrupt the cycle of racism by discussing all aspects of intolerance.
- Read boys’ subtle cues.
- Set firm, consistent limits to encourage responsibility.
- Participate in school and community activities to make sure that your child’s needs are met when you’re not present.
- And much more…
WHY BOYS DON’T TALK AND WHY IT MATTERS is a user-friendly resource for anyone interested in learning how to crack the shell surrounding adolescent boys.
Teenage girls often worry about how others view them, and as a result, they resist expressing their honest feelings for fear of not being accepted. They may continue to talk a lot, but often they express what they think they ought to say. Teen experts Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon, LCSW-C, M.Ed. offer parents valuable suggestions to help develop a girl’s sense of self. This allows girls to thrive despite the normal setbacks of teenage life-e.g., not being invited to a party, having less than stellar athletic skills, breaking up with a boyfriend, or not doing well on exams. In WHY GIRLS TALK-AND WHAT THEY’RE REALLY SAYING: A Parent’s Survival Guide to Connecting with Your Teen (January 2005; McGraw Hill; Paperback; $14.95), Shaffer and Gordon offer parents essential tips for helping daughters find their passions and supporting them in these pursuits.
Shaffer and Gordon address the incredible challenges facing teenage girls today; from peer pressure to unrealistic expectations about beauty, lifestyle, early or unwanted sexual experiences, the importance of popularity, and fitting in. The symptoms of these constant pressures are manifold and take on such characteristics as eating disorders, self-mutilation (“cutting”), substance abuse, bullying, and depression. In this unique sourcebook, Shaffer and Gordon provide parents with invaluable tools in directing daughters away from distorted messages and negative self-image, and toward resilience, self-confidence, and high expectations.
Their companion book, Why Boys Don’t Talk and Why It Matters, introduces the importance of staying connected with boys. For girls, the authors’ message is different. They believe it is especially important to help daughters learn the value of staying connected with others without losing their own voices. Shaffer and Gordon encourage parents to assist daughters in developing authenticity, a sense of well-being and self-sufficiency. In addition, they teach parents how to accurately interpret what their daughters are really saying – what she wants to do versus what she thinks she should do, and what she really feels about herself, school, family, and friends. WHY GIRLS TALK-AND WHAT THEY’RE REALLY SAYING explains how to:
- identify effective strategies for interpreting necessary information from the drama of girls’ daily lives.
- assist parents in developing skills to help their daughters establish a strong sense of self, while sustaining the parent-child bond.
- strike a balance between the stereotypes of the “mean girl” and the “nice girl” so daughters can create a sense of authentic self.
- explore parents’ boundaries to avoid overidentification with, and investment in, the social successes and failures of their girls.
Shaffer and Gordon share a wealth of experience – personally as mothers of girls, and professionally as experts in the fields of gender and adolescent issues. In addition, they have extensively interviewed teenage girls, mothers, fathers, teachers, psychologists, and other teen experts to provide a comprehensive approach for effectively communicating with girls.