4 out of 5 stars
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Raelene's book begins with a portion about her childhood and what drove her to become a professional marriage and family therapist. Over the years, she has initiated and contributed to several private and corporate projects. She has also worked with kids. Raelene S. Weaver is now retired after working as a juvenile sex offender counselor for the Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Department. With her extensive experience in dealing with children, she has a deep understanding of the underlying causes that lead boys to become offenders. In 2017, she founded the Silicon Valley Men’s Center (SVMC), which is unique in its focus on the needs of boys and men. She also delivered a TEDx talk on April 8th, 2022, and the same ideas and more are embodied in this book, Let Boys Be Kids First.
The book spans 157 pages and covers aspects like positive parenting, gender equality, healthy relationships, emotional intelligence, and more. The author talks about the desire to fit in, regardless of our stage in life, and how this desire often leads young boys to engage in activities that get them into trouble. Throughout the book, she emphasizes the need for young boys to be allowed to express themselves just like girls are. By expecting them to "man up," they are deprived of the freedom of expression, which can lead to serious issues later on in life, affecting themselves, their families, relationships, and society. This creates a situation where they feel forced to behave in a way that does not reflect their true selves. The author then urges a new way of life for boys where they can express themselves freely, leading them to become kind, caring, and responsible individuals. These are just a few of the points from the book. There are more subjects that the author covers, and each one is crucial.
I appreciate and admire the author's decision to write about the mental health of males. Both males and females of all ages are capable of experiencing a whole range of emotions, and hence there should be no shame attached to boys and men expressing them and seeking help when needed. I concur with her point of view that the societal pressure of conforming to what is believed to be a standard is doing more harm to the male community with ripple effects. I also agree that men don’t need any superpowers; their capacity to display compassion, empathy, and kindness, among all the other emotions, makes them superheroes.
The author presents a plethora of resources that can assist men and boys facing issues. She also shares some examples from her practice to help readers understand how they can help themselves or the boys and men around them. "How Can I Fill Your Bucket?" is a simple yet beautiful way to incorporate empathy to combat loneliness and bullying in schools.
I found very few errors in the book, and they did not distract me at all. The most challenging part of helping someone in distress is getting them to open up. Therefore, I would have liked to see more detailed case studies and samples that could guide someone who wants to assist in the entire process. That is one aspect of the book that the author could consider enhancing. I would thus deduct a star for that and rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I watched the TEDx talk on YouTube and would like to thank the author for sharing her insights. I also visited the informative SVMC website. The exercises in this book will be helpful in encouraging parents and teachers to adopt a suitable approach while raising boys. Similarly, it will assist counselors working in prisons, where men often end up due to their emotions taking over. Overall, I highly recommend this book to all adults interested in mental health and helping others, especially boys and men.
Let Boys Be Kids First
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