When I read this book, so many of the parenting tensions and disagreements I’ve had with my partner Jake were re-framed and laid out plainly. Jake and I have two young boys, Rawiri (8) and Tamati (6).
I had a whole series of “Oh” and “Ouch” and “Hey hang on... well no... you could have something there” moments. There's parenting gold in these pages!
The authors, who have a blended family with four kids, have key roles in the boys mentoring organisation Big Buddy. They clearly know a lot about boys and have thoughtfully laid out the chapters in stages relating to age, e.g., 1. Hush Little Baby: The First Four Years, 2. Stepping Out: 4 to 7 Years, 3. The Explorer: 8 to 11 Years etc.
There are so many gems in this book, but there are two points that really stuck with me. Attachment is where it's at! Be with your boy as much as you possibly can, do stuff together, talk about that stuff then do more stuff. Watch who your little guy is, learn what he loves and get comfortable with who he is becoming. He needs your full acceptance.
The second is that it’s time for mum to step back, ouch! But I get it... now. Boys learn to be good men from watching and being with men, so surround them with good-hearted men and trust that while you might not understand the value of farting on cue or dad jokes, something mystical is at play here.
Oh and relax, you won't be on the bench forever. Maybe I'll use this “down time” for myself! #silverlining.
Tracey Sparksman, former Programme Design and Delivery Specialist, Mental Health Foundation