Books on Raising Wild Things – I Mean, Boys

by jessicaturner on February 19, 2009

I really enjoy reading parenting books. I think this stems from a) a love of reading and b) a love of learning. I know that before long I am going to be reading a lot of books that specifically deal with raising boys (right now I am just reading a lot of baby development books).

A friend of Matthew’s and mine, Stephen James and his friend David Thomas recently wrote a book called Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. Though it is geared toward parents of boys a bit older than Elias through the teenage years, I think it shares a lot of practical wisdom, with a Christian foundation. It breaks out the different stages boys go through (The Explorer, The Lover, etc.), the mind of a boy and the heart of a boy. The book also has a Hot Topics section like dating, ADHD and pornography.

I love this from the introduction:
One of the ways this book may be different from other books about boys is that we approach the material with teachers’ hearts. We don’t offer a black-and-white list of dos and don’ts for rearing boys; instead, we create a framework that will help you engage, guide and walk with the oy you love throughout his life. Nurturing boys is far too complex to be boiled down to a bullet list of dos and don’ts. It’s much more personal, individualized and artistic.
Though I am not too far into the book yet, I can tell I am going to really like it and wanted to share it with those of you who have boys or have friends who have boys. I always thought I would be a mommy of girls (I get girls), so I am sure parenting Elias will be even more of an adventure for me. I know that since God blessed my life with Elias, He clearly knows that I was meant to be a mommy of at least one boy. :)
Do you recommend any specific books about raising boys?
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Southern Gal February 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

Your description of the book is intriguing and I may pick it up. I have a 17 year old boy and a 7 year old boy. I didn’t read any books on specifically raising boys, but I have a husband who was once a boy and he GETS it!

One of the things he had our oldest boy do was go outside and dig…and dig. Our boy had a hole so big in the backyard that once a visitor asked were we having him dig a swimming pool for us! And this wasn’t punishment. It was an outlet for all that energy. Now our boy loves snowboarding, BMX biking, running, soccer and computers. He wants to go into computer engineering. We try to encourage him in whatever it is he is pursuing at the time. The Lord has blessed us with a fine young man.

The cover of that book looks like my house most of the time with my 7year old. The Princess Bride and Robin Hood are his favorites because of the sword fighting!! Sorry I wrote a book. Raising boys is an adventure for us mamas. Strap in and enjoy the ride.


Faye February 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm



Kim February 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Bringing Up Boys… I believe it’s by Dr. Dobson, amazing!!!


Marla Taviano February 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I have 3 girls, but lots of my friends have boys. That book looks awesome–the cover and title are GREAT! I’ll share it with my friends–thanks!


Tori February 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Not specific for boys, but two boys that I really like are:
~ Shepherding a Child’s Heart
~Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham

They both really teach you about discipling our kids and how that starts at a young age.


Dawn February 19, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Sounds good! Thanks for sharing. I’ve listened to Dr. Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys on CD and thought it was pretty good.

Also, I love that you guys read to Elias so much. My daughter LOVED books from about the age of six months. She would sit on the floor, and with her little pointer finger she would TURN THE PAGES of board books. I have pictures of it and got it on film because it was just too precious. Now, our son who is just a couple weeks younger than Elias could care less about books. He puts everything in his mouth and tries to eat anything we read to him. =) It’s incredible how different they are.


Jeffry and Morgan February 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I have 3 boys!! Ages 6, almost 4, and 3 mos. I really enjoyed Dr. Dobson’s “Bringing Up Boys”. Another must-read for moms of boys is “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. It’s not about parenting…it’s actually a book for men. But as a mother, it will give you invaluable insight into a man’s life starting from his childhood. It will definitely challenge your mindset about things like babying your boy too much. (Which I love to do!! Haha)


Gail February 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

No book is going to prepare you for raising a boy! hahahaha Just had to put my two cents in on this subject.
Love you,
Aunt Gail


gitz February 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I like that they are encourage the individuality of each boy. One of my best friends has two little boys, and parenting them has been night and day for her. Her first son never really snuggled or needed that as a baby, has ADHD and tantrums, but is the most tender hearted kid and feels so bad when it happens. Her other son is the cuddliest, calmest little dude, but he can look at you and be ornery and sassy and just not care.

I have learned so much about parenting just watching them… there really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to boys; they just need what’s best for their personalities.

Really sounds like a good book!


Amy February 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Bringing up boys and
Raising A Modern Day Knight
AWESOME and thanks for the recommended read..Im gonna check it out NOW


Julia February 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Thanks for sharing!! I just may ask for this for mother’s day!! I have a 1 month old boy (and a 21 month old girl), so i can use all the help I can get!!

thanks so much!


Anonymous February 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Thank you so much for posting about this book. I have 3 boys, ages 2-6, and possibly one more on the way. Only 6 more months will tell:) I have already ordered the book and cannot wait for it to arrive. It sounds like such a real book about boys. One that understands them. One I have been looking for.



Jenna February 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm

These are books I like on parenting boys: “The Courage to Raise Good Men” and “Raising Cain.” I have a 17 yr old and a 7 (almost 8) yr old who are both compassionate, verbal, active, and scholarly, so maybe these books were part of that!

Also, I really like anything by Dr. Sears, as well as books about Positive Discipline (by Jane Nelson, etc.)

Your Elias sure looks like a sweetie. I’m glad to know he’s being appropriately cherished! :-)


Rebecca Louise. February 19, 2009 at 9:31 pm

It sounds like a good book :) x.


Kaylee February 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I didn’t read through the comments, so I don’t know if this has been said already….
I have 2 boys (5 and 3). I recently bought the book “Raising a Modern Day Knight” by Robert Lewis for my husband and b-i-l for Christmas. It is specifically for fathers and both guys said the book was excellent. I know my husband cried several times reading the book and was so inspired to train up our “knights” to be nobel men of the faith. The book includes lots of great ideas for “ceremonies” and “rights of passage” for our boys on their journey to manhood.
It’s really good!


Stephen James February 20, 2009 at 4:48 am

Jessica, Thanks for mentioning the book. I really appreciate you support. Hope you and Matthew are doing well and that his tour was a big success. For more information on Wild Things people can visit our webiste


Nanette R. February 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I haven’t read the book yet, but have attended a seminar that David Thomas does on this topic. He is an incredible counselor and teacher and has his finger on the stuff boys are made of. This book will be a valuable tool for parents of boys of every age, and will be a good resource to go back to at every age of your son.


Brooke February 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I really like Dr. Dobson's stuff about boys, but that's definitely from a religious standpoint, so if that's not your thing, it wouldn't be good.

One of my favorites is "Preparing Him for the Other Woman." Now this one appeals to me because I'm a single mother, and I think that it's so important that boys learn to be men – but if he has a fabulous father that will model that for him, it might not be a favorite of yours.

You can read more here:

I love how it's laid out based on age, and talks a lot about respect and love.

The Power of a Praying Parent is also a phenomenal book, but again, religious. Most of the books that I like in the parenting genre are religious because He is the perfect parent, and a great model for us!


Lisa-Jo Baker February 27, 2009 at 2:53 am

I have two boisterous boys (3and1/2 and 14 months) and this is by far the best book I have read on the art of understanding their need for physical activity – whether it be for play, affection or comfort. Moms tend to want to tame their wild ones, but if you don’t build in space for their inner wild thing to live out loud you are only asking for trouble.

Thanks for the recommendation!

In return, my all time fav book about the inner emotional life of boys (and girls) is definitely “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk” Have you heard of it? It’s outstanding. Number one book on my list by far for engaging the emotional intelligence of your kids!



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