This is a subject that is worthy of several posts, and I'll probably get to that later, but I stumbled across an old post on possibly my favorite blog and thought it was worth linking to:
If you have boys and girls, you already know that they are inherently different, without anybody telling them they're supposed to be. The Common Room's article talks about why. And it's good stuff.
Here are the reasons Sax (a Dr.) suggests they (boys) are having so many problems:
Yes, yes, yes. I've noticed a marked difference in my son's attitude after playing video games.
- Video games. These addictive activities disengage boys from the world....
- Teaching methods. Girls develop intellectually up to two years ahead of boys. Boys in grade school are naturally rambunctious. They need ways to express their native energy. They are being taught to read and write too early. Their mostly female teachers prefer compliant, dutiful girls.
We solve this by only bathing the boys once a week or so. :)
- Prescription drugs. Hyperactive, frustrated boys are increasingly being medicated. This we all know. What Sax claims is that these drugs shrink the motivational centres of the brain and that the effect of this lasts years, well after these kids stop taking their meds. I hadn't heard this before but if it's true, it is truly frightening.
- Endocrine disruptors. Chemicals from plastic bottles, canned food linings and some shampoos mimic natural estrogen, the female hormone. Boys' testosterone levels are half of what they were in their grandfathers' day. Also, their bones are significantly more brittle.
If you have boys or are married, I'd spend a good while clicking through the links. There is some very, very good information in there.
- The devaluation of masculinity. Boys don't know how to become men. They no longer have appropriate rights of passage. Once Father Knows Best was the paternalistic model but now he has been replaced (and mocked) by a dopey Homer Simpson. Sax likes the old virtues of courage and temperance, with a good measure of intelligence.