Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Raising Boys to Men - 12 Insightful Guidebooks For Parents

The second I read that little plus sign on the very first pregnancy test I ever took, I knew that two things had to happen.  First, I had to call my husband and shake up his lunch hour with the crazy wonderful news. Second, I had to drive to the nearest bookstore and scour the shelves for the very best books that would help me figure out how to navigate everything from nausea to nursing.

As you might have guessed, all of those highlighted and tabbed pages did not make for a textbook labor and delivery, nor did it birth a textbook baby (haha, surrrrprise!!), but there's a few of those books that I have returned to for guidance with each and every baby we've had since the first one arrived fourteen years ago.

Outnumbering the baby books on our shelves is a growing stack of guidebooks that I have returned to time and time again for wisdom and advice.  With six wonderfully different personalities, interests, talents, strengths and temperaments to nurture, I have found each and every one of these books to be incredibly helpful and encouraging when it comes to raising our sons.

I refer to these texts as guidebooks, because, while much of them contain great wisdom and advice, sinking all of your time and effort into a bunch of books and hoping that the right formula will result in a perfect child is simply a waste of time.  That being said, it doesn't hurt to set aside our parenting pride and seek out the knowledge of a few trusted resources (including scripture and prayer!) to guide us along the parenting pathway.

Please note that some of these references are not exclusive to raising boys, and can be excellent resources for families with both boys and girls.  Several of these texts taught me not only about my children, but also about myself, giving me insights into the ways that I love, discipline and respond to tough situations based on my own personality and the way that I was raised.  All of those factors combined have a tremendous influence on the decisions I make as a parent.  To have those sources of knowledge as a parent is incredibly valuable!

Do you have a favorite parenting resource? I'd love to hear about it!

1.  Boys Should Be Boys by Meg Meeker is tops on this list for me.  She dives right into the nature of boys and affirms who they are despite what the world is telling them (and everyone else) who and what they should be. 

2.  Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker is one worth investing in, particularly if you are questioning or struggling to understand the role you play in your sons life. I'm reading this one for the second time, and am gathering new bits of wisdom that I missed the first time through!

3.  Compass: A Handbook on Parent Leadership by James B. Stenson - With a strong emphasis on character formation and how to deal with cultural influences, Stenson's book is one of our go-to handbooks that we reach for time and time again. This is a great one for dads to read.

4.  How We Love Our Kids by Milan and Kay Yerkovich came by recommendation of a wonderful friend of mine.  The authors dive in to five different love styles of parenting, and I have to say that discovering and understanding my love style has really changed the way I communicate with my sons!

5.  Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime by Dr. Ray Guarendi - just read this book, or any of his books for that matter.  Dr. Ray is hilarious. Your house can be burning down with frustration and he can still make you laugh despite all of the parenting struggles you may be dealing with. 

6.  The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman was one of the first books I read as a new parent. I'll admit the whole birth order thing gets a little confusing if you have four or more but, for the most part, his points on oldest, middle and youngest children are really interesting and spot on!

7.  Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax - If you have sons, I highly encourage you to take the time to read this one.  It's an eye-opener to say the least. (This title of his is also a worthy read.)

8.  Wild at Heart by John Elderedge was one of the first, and most influential, books Steve and I read together as a couple.  For me, it opened my eyes and heart up to the remarkable and wonderful nature God has given to men and shown me, through that understanding, how to relate to our sons (and to my husband as well) in the most positive ways.

9.  The Temperament God Gave You by Art and Loraine Bennett is a wonderful resource for better understanding the varying personalities in your home (even your own!) and how to encourage those personalities to thrive together despite their differences.

10.  Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson is probably one of the most popular books written on the topic of raising boys.  It's popular because it's THAT good. There is one particular topic that Dr. Dobson addresses that I very clearly disagree with, but it does not detract from the quality advice and insights in the rest of the book.

11.  Character Building: A Guide For Parents and Teachers by Dr. David Isaacs is not one that you will sit down and devour in one sitting.  It's a lot of information, but a tremendous resource to have on hand in your are striving to teach your children about virtue.

12.  Love and Logic: When Kids Leave You Speachless by Jim and Charles Fay is just one of this duos fantastic resources for parents.  Love and Logic is a simple every action has a consequence philosophy. If you're a Love and Logic parent you know how helpful their tips for discipline and communication are! 

*Bonus* Okay, so this one is kind of a bonus book, and has not made the "Tried and True" list yet but The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay came highly recommended by another homeschool family, and I knew I had to give it a go. It just arrived a few days ago, so I'm only a few pages into it, and so far it's as entertaining as it is interesting!  Now that we have a high schooler under our roof, I have a feeling that this one will be fun to share with our boys as they get older!


  1. have been wanting the Meeker books for my almost 7 year old - well for his MOM, to be more exact!!! Thanks for the list - just a bigger amazon bill, nbd!!!

    1. The Meeker books are WELL worth the $....and maybe you can even find a few of these titles at the library?? Good luck!

  2. When I found out I was having a boy during my first pregnancy, my parents were so excited about having a grandchild they went and bought a few of those books! You inspired me to pull one off of the shelf today and reread some.

  3. The Merker books just made my latest Amazon order. 😎


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