International Doula Month - Book Club : Steve Biddulph, Raising Boys
"right now, the world badly needs good men. There are some awful ones needing to be put in their place. Your boy can be one of those who grow up so much better, and help to heal this sad and scary world." Oh Steve 🙌
My mum sent me Raising Boys after we spoke about the challenges of childcare. Looks like it might help us on this mission to raise a strong, gentle, happy, healthy, kind, feminist man. Also, it'll be nice to have someone to blame when we cock it up.
I mean, I haven't tested the theory out yet...so get back to me in - how long does it take to raise a child? 18 years? 21? 30?
Hit me up in 50 years to be safe, and I'll let you know how we got on.
BUT, so far, it all seems to be really helpful for us. It touches on things we have been unsure of, like how to deal with having a primary caregiver; how does that develop and change?
I feel like it's given me a tiny bit of control back in the unpredictability game of childrearing, allowing me to see into our possible future. I think all parents wonder what the next stage is going to be like, and think ahead to the milestones that that fabled to be the danger zones: "terrible twos" and teenage in particular.
A bit like if you're driving and you only look at the bumper in front of you, you can't prepare for what's coming up. You might make a decision that ultimately backfires when you get to the next stage.
I'm always a bit worried about missing the development windows (however flexible they may be): for building brain cells in pregnancy, for developing language, for cementing attachment etc. I worry that I'll get to 5, 6, 17 and have a boy who isn't confident or doesn't believe in himself, and I want to get ahead of that and do what I can to protect against it.
Everything I've written so far is kind of hilarious, like you can add certain ingredients and get a particular person out. But also, is that not a little bit true?
This book addresses all stages, looks at a broader macro view and also gives really practical advice on specific "issues" (nursery, secondary school, sex etc.)
Note: we fit a pretty conventional, white, western norm idea of a family unit - mum as primary caregiver, dad at work, baby healthy, all in the same house. So I am guilty of not always realising if a text is discriminative or focuses completely or too heavily on those norms. And I think this book probably does make those assumptions a fair bit.
It does make reference to other caregivers and different family set ups so I don't feel like it is completely exclusive. But, I do have the handicap of privilege hampering that opinion.