Resources for Parents of Boys

I'm often asked by parents to provide advice and resources on how to raise and educate boys.  I've chosen a few critical areas to focus on most frequently brought up by parents to whom I speak.  This page includes books, movies and video game suggestion for boys along with descriptions describing their merit. Each piece below identifies a key issue and media choices for parents of boys, to guide the interactions you give your children and the activities in which they engage.  This page is dedicated to sharing positive influences, so we offer an opportunity to hear from you. If there's something you would like to see added to this page or wish to share a positive experience you've had, click "Ask Ali!" and send me your suggestions. Use this link below to learn more about the boys, including hyperactivity, video games and health and wellness.

What's New About Boys?

Take a look at the latest news around boy development.

 

Other Leaders in Male Studies

 

Digital Games

What are some good games for boys?

This is an excellent series for your pre schoolers. It is musical and energetic with riddles and puzzles appropriate for pre school children. It plays on the popular Peter Pan story about pirates and adventures which is sure to grab little boy's attention. Along the way your little one will learn about fair play, friendship, problem solving and teamwork.  Jake's adventures are very accessible as their is a website, mobile apps and a tv series (accessible on youtube) that goes along with the fun. 

 

Age: 3-5

 

Skills: Responsibility and ethics, collaboration and emotional development.

This game has a strong focus on narratives in the form of character development. Players unravel character stories as this is a prequal to the series of Professor Layton and his adventures. In this installment, Professor Layton meets his new assistant Emmy and the child Luke (who becomes his apprentice in the other games), and together they try to figure out the mystery behind a ghostly figure that haunts a small town. This story does involve some scenes of violence and a few references to alcohol and is recommended for your preteen and early teenage boy. There is a positive role models and positive messages throughout the unfolding plot lines. This game would be considered a puzzler as there are various challenges and riddles the player must solve.

Age: 12 and up

 

Skills: Thinking and Reasoning, self direction and communication among others. 

Fun for all ages as you can be a builder and designer of your own world. Players have the opportunity to explore various building various structures including buidlings, cars, bridges, narural environments and more. Players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things. 

 

Minecraft lends a variety of learning opportunities for your young boys, including reading, math, music, social skills and linguistics. Minecraft Edu

is dedicated to provide teachers and parents more information on how to integrate Mincraft into classroom settings. It is loaded with many resources and support systems for the variety of learning gains through Minecraft. 

Age: 6 and up

 

Skills: Creativity, collaboration, technical skils and a host of subject matter including science and math. 

Econauts immerses players in a rich environment, making difficult-to-observe ecological phenomena visible in a living landscape that players explore and examine to explain the relationships between choices that humans make and their ecological consequences.  

 

This game is particularly interesting to boys as they can build and destroy objects within the game environment. Players learn to collaborate with teammates utilizing each other's strengths to accomplish a common goal. Players can also choose to compete with each other which is a very important characteristic of boy culture.

Age: 10-13

 

Skills: Responsibility and ethics, collaboration and emotional development.

A series of apps that are excellent for pre K- 1 grade. With a host of colorful and creative games and characters, Toca Boca games focus on discovery of the social world as well as interactive relationships. The variety of apps allow your young one to explore a wide range of environments including hair salons, train stations, kitchens, cars, musical bands, tailoring and so much more. The colorful characters including monsters, trains, robots and people engage your child in ways that evoke enjoyment and productive play.  Your child will learn important social skills and about their surrounding world through interactive play.

Age: 3-5

 

Skills: Creativity, self direction, emotional development and thinking and reasoning among others.

 

Movies

What are some good movies for boys?

Up is a compelling story about an elderly man (Carl) that loses the his wife and strives to make her unrealized dream come true. This story teaches boys about how to make the best of life even when it doesn't unravel the way you've planned it.  Along the way Carl learns several lessons from a naive young boy (Russel) who is positive and at times the voice of reason. Up also teaches boys about what a healthy marriage looks like and how to be a good role model through a fun and adventurous journey. The story is heartwarming and builds on empathy as Carl and Russel go on the adventure of a lifetime. 

 

 

 

 

Age: 3-5

 

Lessons: Responsibility and ethics, emotional development, and collaboration. 

If your boys love dragons, heroes and adventures, so Dragons will be right up their ally. It is a sequal to the successful break out movie. This movie teaches about friendship, family and responsibiiity.  Drawing on the success of the first Dragons movie, Hiccup and his dragonToothless continue where they left of only years later. As the village has come to embrace dragons a new  discovery in the ice caves are home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider.  The two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.  Boys will be engaged by the enticing story as well as the cool cinematography. They will feel as though they are flying with Hiccup and Toothless as well as joining them on the adventure itself.

Age: 3-5

 

Lessons: Responsibility and ethics, collaboration and emotional development.

An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied 'Special', is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.  The movie has a deeper undertoning message that buidling with Legos should be about being yourself and using your ideas to create a world that you would want to live in. It teaches that all individuals should have a place where they are celebrated for being themselves and have the ability to join with others  and celebrate their differences. This is an exceptional movie that encourages viewers to be innovative and learn from failure. It inspires it's viewers to not be afraid to be themselves through a common activity for boys of buidling with blocks. Legos is a great movie for boys as it sparks their creativity and learn that it's ok to be exactly who they are.

 

 

Age: 3-5

 

Lessons: Creativity, Responsibility and ethics, technical skills, self direcion, collaboration and emotional development.

 

Books

Recommendations by Ali Carr-Chellman, PhD and Todd Feltman, Phd

What are some good books for boys? 

Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion offers a thought provoking and practical look at the invisible face of sexism in U.S. culture and the problems it causes for boys and young men.   This book targets boys and men ages 13 to 23, but it is a must read for any parent of a boy or for that matter, a girl.  

 

Heroes is a how-to-guide for understanding the complexities of sexism against boys and in 97 pages offers several practical and easy to understand steps for boys who must wrestle with issues created by sexism that impacts them on the playground, at school, at work, and in their relationships with girls and adult women and men.

 

The central premise of Heroes argues that the problems of boys and young men provoke little concern in U.S. society that resists changes to address boys’ needs. Issues for boys include elevated high school suspension rates, high incarceration rates, declining or stagnant college success rates, disproportionate levels of drug therapy and diagnosed cases of ADHD, and harmful risk-taking behaviors.  The unwritten societal rule? Boys have to be tough.  Boys and young men can’t cry.  In fact, society needs this to thrive, but it comes at the expense of boys’ health. 

 

Buttressing Heroes' point of view, Professor Michael Kimmel at SUNY Stony Brook has explained that in every society except the United States, boys go through organized, societal rituals guided by adult males in which their transition to manhood is affirmed; however, in the United States this supervised maturation process doesn’t happen, and boys often make the transition to manhood alone, unguided by positive male role models.  Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion begins to fill this void. 

 

In addition to its historical perspective complete with facts and references, Heroes includes advice on how to address the challenges that come with a holistic, boy- centric perspective expressed in a culture that largely ignores boys and young men except when in Kammer's view, there is money to made on them through advertising. 

 

Heroes covers verbal self-defense with teachers, relationship building with other boys, shame proofing, and how to cope with being viewed as unmanly.  This book belongs on the shelf of any parent trying to raise a boy in our fast-paced and challenging world.