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Boys Adrift

Author: Leonard Sax
• 2009 • 288 pages

The facts are disturbing, to say the least: Fully one-third of men ages 22-34 are still living at home with their parents — about a 100 percent increase in the past twenty years. For the first time in history, American men in their 30s earn about 12% less than their fathers did at the same age. Meanwhile, boys nationwide are conspicuously absent from the top 10% of graduating high-school classes; fewer are going to college; and women are already outnumbering men at undergraduate institutions three to two. What is happening to our young men?

Now, in “Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men,” family physician and research psychologist Dr. Leonard Sax reveals the truth about what’s driving the decline of American boys — and what parents can do about it.

In Boys Adrift, Dr. Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on his own vast clinical experience to propose an entirely original view of why boys and young men are failing in school and at home. He identifies five major factors that disable the motivational engine for a growing number of American boys — and explains what parents can do to turn things around.

  • How misguided education policies which fail to take account of the differences between boys and girls are are making boys restless, inattentive,and depressed
  • How teachers unintentionally create the impression for small boys that doing well in school is not masculine
  • Research findings: how certain video games affect the same part of the brain as cocaine — and lead to consequences similar to those of cocaine users, including a loss of drive and disengagement from the real world
  • New evidence suggesting that medications for attention deficit disorder— which boys are given at four times the rate of girls— may cause irreversible damage to the region of the brain responsible for translating motivation into action
  • Sequences of events in school that lead to many boys being medicated when they really just need to be allowed to express themselves in more physical ways
  • How the traditional masculine attributes such as drive, motivation, and responsibility have been devalued over the past few decades, leaving many of today’s young men with no positive male role models — and many negative ones — in popular culture
  • The ominous cultural consequences as young women become better educated and higher wage earners than men. Are young women becoming frustrated by boyfriends who are living with their parents into their late 20s and 30s?
  • Supported by more than 300 references demonstrating the linkage between the combined social and biological factors and the decline of America’s boys and young men, Boys Adrift also provides concrete and practical strategies which parents and teachers can use to get these boys back on track.

“Essential reading for parents of girls and boys, and for those who expect to become parents. I have passed my copy of the book to my daughter. The epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving men is real and demands action; this book provides a carefully researched analysis of the problem and offers useful advice on how to deal with it.”— Professor Craig Anderson, Iowa State University

“Leonard Sax brings good science and gifted writing to his analysis of our biggest social problem in Boys Adrift. I know something of the literature on unmotivated boys and was surprised by how much I learned. Expect to be newly interested in plastic bottles and much else besides.— Professor Steven E. Rhoads, University of Virginia, author of Taking Sex Differences Seriously

“A compelling and thought-provoking examination of the male crisis in contemporary American society. ? A must read for all of us!”— Doug MacIsaac, Department of Teacher Education, Stetson University

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