Monday, June 7, 2010

Featured Book: What Your Son Isn't Telling You by Michael Ross & Susie Shellenberger

The title of this book, What Your Son Isn't Telling You: Unlocking the Secret World of Teen Boys, got my attention.  After all, we're raising three sons, one of whom is firmly embedded in the teen years, on his way to becoming a man and making it harder for me to know what he's thinking and feeling day to day.  I used to be able to look at him and tell him what was on his mind.  He would looked stunned, and I would reply, "I know you better than you know you."  It was true...then.  Now, not so much, although I still astonish him at times.

So of course, I'd be interested in a book that purports to help me understand my sons better.

I'm not sure whether this book does what it claims to do, as I've always made it my business to have open lines of communication with my children, and thereby, few surprises.  I didn't find a lot of "a-ha" moments or new information here.  It did, however, trigger memories of my own childhood, raising a few issues and feelings for me to be on the lookout for that I may have forgotten.  For that alone, it was worth the read.

Interestingly enough, I asked my teen to take a look at the book.  He didn't read it--not his cup of tea, of course--but he did thumb through it, stopping to read selected passages that caught his eye.  When he was done, he handed it back to me, and said, "Who are they talking about?  That's not me."  Either there's more that he's not telling me, or this book really doesn't speak to his experience.  I believe it's the latter.  If there is any place where cultural differences come to light and children struggle with them as they establish their sense of self and identity, it's during the teen years.  This book, although well-meaning and sufficient for many, doesn't address those differences at all.  That's why my child felt they were talking about kids other than himself, kids he might go to school with but who he doesn't really connect with on a deeper level.

Still, I would recommend this book particularly to those parents who feel distanced from their children and need help establishing better communication with them.  Putting cultural differences aside, there are many more similarities among teens than not, and What Your Son Isn't Telling You is a good place to start thinking about what your teens might be thinking.


Full of practical help, What Your Son Isn't Telling You gives parents behind-the-scenes footage they can miss in the day-to-day life of their son. Parents will begin to see and understand not only the world in which their teenage sons exist, but also their struggle to become their own person versus the desire to measure up as man by conforming to a false code of always being a tough guy, never showing weakness, and never expressing true feelings.

Each chapter of this must-read book is packed with real-life stories and emails from teen boys that will give parents a new understanding of what their sons aren't telling them

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes.

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