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Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  815 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Playing off the themes in the Caldecott Medal-winning children's book "Where the Wild Things Are, " this informative, practical, and encouraging guide will help parents guide boys down the path to healthy and authentic manhood. "Wild Things" addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of a boy, written by two therapists who are currently engaged in clinical work ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 23rd 2009 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published January 1st 2009)
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I have been reading "Wild Things" and being the mother of 3 boys myself I am very impressed by what I have read so far. The book is broken down into different age groups of boys and I have Stephen in The Lovers group (5-8 years) and Philip in The Individual group (9-12). They nailed Stephen to a tee and Philip is pretty close (he is also not your typical boy). Each age group is then broken into:
1) The Way of a Boy
2) The Mind of a Boy
3) The Heart of a Boy
And then there is a Hot Topics section tow
This is my FAVORITE book about boys. It comes at the subject from several angles including light neuroscience, social issues and the practical how-to handle issues. Since I read Wild Things the first time I have used what I learned there every day with my own two boys. For example, I know that my * year old is deep in the Lover stage of his development and is very difficult to manage AND very delicate. This book has helped me be gentle with him and we're both better off for it. It's a must-read ...more
Dalaina May
I have 4 boys, and this book has been a God-send. It's another to re-read as my kids get older. In Wild Things, counselors James and Thomas explore what exactly it is that makes boys who they are and how best to parent them. They break down boyhood into 5 stages and explore the distinguishing characteristics of each stage from many standpoints - a boy's neurology & physiology, a boy's emotions, cognitive development, and spiritual life (yes, this book is written by Christian authors from a C ...more
I only wish this could be "required reading" for all parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, friends - - - well, you get the picture. It is excellent. My other wish is that we'd had it four decades or so ago! ;-))
I loved the first two parts about boys from 2-4 and 5-8. You could tell the authors had boys in these age ranges. When they started addressing bx and issues in older kids, it stopped being personal and quickly became "studies show..." and "the majority of..." and even "the movie _____ shows the struggle of a boy going through..." YIKES! I had to keep reminding myself that all the horrible and terrifying things they reported my 12 year old son would say or do were taken from their experience with ...more
This book scared me a bit. Okay, a lot. According to the authors, I (and my boys) have so far survived the Explorer phase and they're currently in the Lover stage...but I still have the Individual, Wanderer, and Warrior to get through. Having worked with adolescent boys, I know those years can be. Luckily, this book does give a lot of good ideas for making those years tolerable.

I wasn't crazy about the religious bent of the book, but I was able to skim through most of the
This is the best parenting book I have read to date (and I've read a lot). Obviously it's focused on those that have boys and how us as parents can bring them into manhood. It made me feel normal as a mother of boys and realize how the things I think are weird are part of them growing into men. What I love about the book is its focus on the boy's heart. It's not about discipline, to-do lists or methods, it's about how to reach our boys' hearts and guide them as they go through the stages to manh ...more

You know how we always lament that becoming a parent is a challenge because our children don't come with an instruction manual? Well, I think this book comes pretty close when it comes to raising up boys to be the best version of themselves.

The authors do a great job of citing research and providing anecdotes to illustrate their key concepts and unpack all that goes into the turning of a boy into a man. I so appreciated learning about all of the stages a boy goes through as well as some specifi
Matt Willden
Where has this book been all my parenting life? Fantastic insights into boyhood and what it means to love and treasure boys' uniqueness in a world that has ceased having patience with them. It demonstrates how so much of the environment we require boys to succeed in (particularly academic) can unwittingly predispose them to fail. Indeed it illustrates in countless ways how (spoiler alert!) boys differ from girls, and should not be forced into the girl mold. Many times in reading I found myself w ...more
Feb 20, 2012 Rhoda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: education, parenting
I really enjoyed this book! It is the first book I have read about boys and there have been many. It was an easy read and very applicable to both my teaching world and my personal world. The book is divided up into three parts. The first part highlights the various stages a boy goes through. The second part discusses the way a boy's brain works, the expectations boys are subjected to in school settings, and the benefits of disappointments in a boy's life. The final part takes you through the hea ...more
I bought this book on a recommendation from a friend that had seen one of the authors speak at a conference. I LOVED this book for many reasons. It is full of practical advice on many topics in raising boys. I like the way it is arranged in sections based on age, and then again if for moms, dads, single parents and sections on discipline. I have two boys, one who is more typical and one who is more challenging and it was chock full of things to think about for both. It was encouraging and challe ...more
First book I've read specifically about boys, and it gave me relief! It sums up all of the roadblocks we've come to so far with our son. I will now employ the "I notice that you seem fidgety. Let's we how many times you can climb up and down the stairs in two minutes." approach. Gives good insight into boys minds - if you weren't ever a little boy how would you know? I'll come back to the book as the years go on because it spans the whole childhood range. Just enough advice on key topics to be a ...more
Skimmed several books on raising boys in today's world and this was the one I settled on reading through. Authors are Christians (or so it was advertised on Amazon) and children psychologists and, most importantly fathers to boys, but their sensitive, practical, easy-to-understand science, not heavy-handed with the religiosity and not unrealistically Christian fundamentalist (like Dobson's Raising Boys which I did NOT care for) approach was ideal. Will be the book I recommend to other moms searc ...more
I don't know guys. I just did not like this book. I wanted to.

I truly know there are differences between boys and girls because I have one (or more) of each. But something about this book came across as SO sexist to me. So I had a hard time really enjoying it.

There are some interesting facts and truth in this book, but overall it didn't help me feel less stressed about raising boys. It actually left me feeling more anxious.
Such an insightful and delightful read. Tons of information about boys... their needs, brain, etc. While written by a pastor but appeals to people of all religions to see why boys act as they do. I love that they separated everything out by age group and gave tips to use- admitting that they may not work. A very genuine piece written by 2 fathers of boys (between them there are 7 boys) who have been counseling or living with boys for a while. The information is anything but dry- I beleived I lau ...more
This book had so much practical advice for me as the mom of two girls and one boy. I learned that so many of my challenges with my youngest were completely normal and to do with who he is -- physically AND emotionally. I appreciated the book being broken down by age and topic. I've recommended this book sever times already!
I felt the authors painted boys with a pretty broad brush, ie all boys are impulsive, active, loud, etc and I have taught long enough to know that isn't always the case. However since I am reading this because I do have a boy who is impulsive, active, wild, and loud the information was helpful for me.
Gina Varga
Love, love, love this book. Down to earth, written from experience, funny, easy to read, immensely insightful. I recommend this book to anyone that has a son, or that works boys. I've read a lot of books about raising boys and this one is my favorite.
Catherine Gillespie
I didn’t agree with everything in Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, but overall I found it to be an incredibly helpful reference on the different developmental stages of boys and parenting boys in general. The authors offer a lot of great practical guidance for how to interpret and handle boys in various stages, things to watch out for, and ways to encourage boys and equip them for adulthood. At some points in the book I felt a little panic because the authors described some attitudes and ...more
Corissa Nelson
This book helped me understand the how and why when it comes to the behavior of my little boys. It makes me smile.
LOVED this book for many reasons. I've worked with male adolescents forever but raising a young boy has had me questioning what was "normal" re: attention span, interests, etc. This book was the answer to my questions. It breaks down the different developmental stages a boy goes through heading into becoming a man and describes what is "normal." It also gives great practical tips for how to engage with, nurture, and love boys at each age. Then it moves to discussing the neuroscience that shows g ...more
This books has taken me about 4 years to read because I bought it when my son was 4. The authors define stages of a boy's life and I just focused on those sections as my son transitioned into one and into another, btw- they were dead-on! The rest of the book is a general overview on raising boys and how not only are they affected physically, mentally, emotionally, chemically, but very importantly- spiritually. There are sections for mothers, fathers, singles, etc. There are sections addressing s ...more
Seth Shaw
Although I don't have any boys of my own I thought "Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys" by Stephen James and David Thomas sounded interesting. I am glad I read it. The book is full of wonderful stories and I was frequently chuckling or laughing while reading. I learned a great deal about myself. The book is divided into three parts: The way of the boy; the mind of the boy; and the heart of the boy. Boys proceed through five distinct stages on the way to manhood: Explorer, Lover, Individual, ...more
David Ward
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys – A Practical Guide to Understanding the Way, the Mind, and the Heart of a Boy by Stephen James and David Thomas (Tyndale House Publishers Inc. 2009) (248.845). This volume addresses the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of boys by two fathers who are therapists and who are raising five boys between them. My rating: 6.5/10, finished 2010.
I love the author's approach in this one, focusing on the development of boys through the ages. I especially appreciated the chapter on "The Lover: Ages 5-8" as it perfectly articulated the personality and needs of my 5-year-old, who seems to be more passionate and tenderhearted than ever these days. Overall I liked this book, would recommend it to parents and teachers of boys, and may even want to own it for reference sake in the future. I will say, there were places here and there where I thou ...more
Dave Thomas and Stephen James are renowned in Nashville for their "Raising Boys" class through Daystar Ministries. I could not wait to read the book (I haven't been able to attend the class) and it did not disappoint. It's full of good knowledge and and practical suggestions presented in a non-complex format. If you have read Michael Guiran's books on boys (like "The Wonder of Boys"), it's along the same lines but with slightly more of a spiritual perspective. This is a must-have for a parents' ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Bryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents of boys
Good book. It seemed a bit long. But I think they have great information. I will plan to skim the end of each chapter where they encapsulate the main points in a digest list. At times it felt a little more touchy-feely then a John Eldridge approach to nurturing boys. Overall it was a descent book.
I guess it doesn't get an easier raising boys, only gets hard as they get older. It categorizes boys according to age and what to look for (signs of trouble, need, etc). It goes all the way up until college. It gives some good suggestions. One example was so far out there for me that I laughed out loud. (1st wet dream party, really?)
Nov 24, 2010 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moms of boys
Recommended to Kim by: Geneva School
I haven't read very many books about raising a child (this is my second one, so I'm averaging one a year...), and I am glad I chose to read this one. It really provided so much insight into a boy's mind and how they learn differently from girls and how they are chemically different from girls. It broke out a boy's development into 5 different stages, starting with ages 2-4 and working up to ages 18-22 - I definitely plan to read this book as Tristan enters each stage. It is written by two Christ ...more
This book gave some great insights into what might be going on inside the hearts and minds of my sons. Because girls and boys ARE different. Anyway, I recommend this as a part of any parent education.
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“The book of Proverbs says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”17 This is not (despite what we wish) a warranty for a boy’s happiness. It does not mean, “If you do all the right things as a parent, your son will be happy when he grows up.” It does not mean that there is a simple formula for success. Because every boy is different, each one requires that we take a unique approach toward guiding him. Any great teacher will tell you that it’s foolish to instruct a quiet, reserved, or shy boy the same way you would discipline an outgoing, rambunctious, or aggressive boy. To nurture and discipline a boy effectively, we must see his unique heart and adapt our approach. Nurturing boys requires that our discipline be geared toward lovingly unveiling their strength and courage, according to how these characteristics are uniquely present. Whenever we discipline boys, we must do so in a way that addresses them as the unique, noble creatures they truly are—in ways that honor them and their masculinity. By disciplining our boys in ways that do not shame them, we honor their desire for strength, reinforce their sensitivity, and encourage them toward valor. If our boys are to stand a fair chance at life, they need to enter manhood believing that they are good men. If they don’t, they will be starting out behind the eight ball.” 0 likes
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