Ep 131: Emotionally Resilient Boys

Episode Summary

Dr. Michael Gurian, author of Saving Our Sons, The Stone Boys, and 20+ books, joins us for a riveting discussion on the hidden ways in which our institutions and communication hurts boys. Not all is lost: there are plenty of ways we can help boys grow into emotionally resilient, thriving men!

Show NotesInterview TranscriptGuest Bio

Full Show Notes

In today’s culture, it may seem like the conversation around emotional wellbeing has moved on from solely focusing on women and girls. Yet, we rarely address the emotional wellbeing of boys and men in our cultural institutions like school, work, the family structure, or in our government’s policies. Whether it’s responding to a failed math exam, dealing with a breakup, managing an avalanche of responsibilities while entering adulthood, or dealing with trauma, we need to develop a system that helps boys process their emotions. Luckily, that’s exactly what I talk about in this week’s Talking to Teens podcast episode with psychologist and family counselor, Dr. Michael Gurian. 

Dr. Gurian has authored well over 20 books on adolescents, young adult males and females, and all kinds of topics relating to growing up and becoming an adult in the world we’re living in today. For more than 20 years Dr. Gurian has been helping young adults deal with trauma. In 1996, he founded the Gurian Institute, a program committed to helping boys and girls by providing counseling, professional development, and parent-teacher involvement for young students’ growth in education, making him the perfect person to talk to about helping young boys process their emotions and trauma. 

In the episode, our conversation centers around the tactics that parents can use to help teen boys process their emotions and trauma through two of Dr. Gurian’s books about this subject: Saving Our Sons: A New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys and The Stone Boys. The first is a myth-busting book for the whole family that can help parents and teens understand the latest research in male emotional intelligence, male motivation development, and the effects of neurotoxicity on the brain. The second is a novel that illustrates much of the information covered in the former.

Dr. Gurian’s informed approach in both of these books can help parents use them as a conduit for opening their teen to tough conversations about their emotional and mental wellbeing. In the podcast, Dr. Gurian lets us in on his approach and sheds some light on some common questions that parents might have about helping their boys process emotions.   

So, what are the consequences of ignoring boys’ emotional wellbeing? Well, according to Dr. Gurian, the misconception that boys don’t need to worry about mental health and emotion because many of them take up positions of power in the workplace–occupying roles such as business owners, CEOs, or even the President of the United States–has led to a mental health epidemic. This crisis can be seen in some surprising statistics about gender differences in mental health: 

  • For every hundred girls to repeat kindergarten, 194 boys repeat kindergarten. 
  • For every 100 girls suspended from public elementary and secondary schools, 215 boys are suspended. 
  • For every hundred girls expelled from school, 297 boys are expelled. 
  • For every 100 girls aged 15-19-years-old who pass away, there are 242 boys who don’t live past the same age range. 

It’s no coincidence that these statistics reflect a clear gendered problem when it comes to mental health and performance in our society’s institutions. Dr. Gurian says that we’re creating a system of nurturing in schools, family structures, government policy, and the workplace that doesn’t account for how the male brain processes emotion. If we don’t respond to this crisis, boys will grow up without the skills to effectively process their emotions and cope with trauma as they develop through school, the workforce, and their relationships. Luckily, Dr. Gurian walks me through some actionable steps that parents can take to help their boys work through these problems. 

While you’ll have to listen to the entire podcast to hear about Dr. Gurian’s extensive approach to communicating with boys, here are three primary actions parents can take:  

  • Teach boys how to listen first and process their emotions before attempting to problem-solve
  • Manage your expectations as a parent around how boys express their emotions
  • Keep an eye out for common signs of trauma and learn how to approach your teen about them

Following through on these steps can help you communicate with your teen boy(s) about their feelings and help them work through trauma. During the podcast, Michael walked me through these steps and how parents can better understand boys’ emotions and mentality.

Meet Boys At Problem-Solving

According to Dr. Gurian, one of the main differences between the male and female brain structure that is responsible for why it may be more difficult for boys to process their emotions is what we call the “sensory register.” The sensory register is processer in the brain that filters all our sensory experiences—like sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell—into emotional responses. It’s basically responsible for how we process the world through our emotions, and apparently, the sensory register impacts how females and males respond differently: 

For females, there are seven to nine centers in the brain that are engaged when filtering senses. This means that when the world is giving them emotional cues through the sensory register, they’re engaging more parts of their brain that help them calculate and reflect for an informed response. 

For males, however, there are only two centers in the brain that contribute to this process. This means that less of their brains are engaged when boys convert what happens in the world through their emotive responses. This can make it more difficult for boys to process their emotions and make a calculated response. 

More importantly, the parts of the brain that are engaged when males process their emotions aren’t as connected to verbal centers as in females. This means two things for how boys respond to emotional trauma: 1. Their first instinct won’t be to communicate or vocalize their wellbeing, and 2. Their first instinct will move more directly toward problem solving. At first, this might seem like a positive response. Trying to problem solve is proactive so it must be a good thing, right? 

Upon closer inspection, trying to problem solve without carefully acknowledging and reflecting on our emotional status can lead to confusing or even destructive results. If boys try to deal with difficulties by muting their emotional response, they won’t know how to adequately differentiate what’s going on in the world outside themselves from what’s going on inside. For example, if your child fails a homework assignment or underperforms at a sporting event, they might blame themselves or look for a quick response to quiet feelings of disappointment or sadness. This can result in hasty decision-making that doesn’t produce the best result and they won’t be able to adequately address two distinctly different problems. 

To curb this behavior, Dr. Gurian suggests talking with boys about noticing these tendencies and making them aware of this phenomenon. That way, when their sensory register isn’t able to help them process their emotions, they can give themselves reminders and formally alter their approach to problem-solving. You can say to your teen, “You don’t have to problem-solve right away. Take five minutes every time you feel frustrated, or if something doesn’t go as planned. Think about how you feel during that time and we can workshop ideas for how to solve these problems together.” One of the leading causes for boys worsening their emotional wellbeing is not acknowledging what’s going on, so having this dialogue can help them take note of their emotional responses early on and develop a habit for checking in with themselves. 

In the Episode

Of course, talking about teen trauma and emotions is complex, and there are many more practices that Dr. Gurian has to share with us about collaborating with teen boys and helping them work through it all, including:  

  • Breaking down discursive barriers around emotion
  • How neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors are silently making us sick
  • The link between testosterone levels and depression
  • The true statistics around sexual assault on college campuses 

I’m thankful that Dr. Gurian shared insight from his research and personal experiences with me this week about the boys’ emotions and dealing with trauma. He has so much wisdom for parents to learn from, and comprehensible tactics to help parents successfully communicate with their teens about all the difficult stuff. I found Michael’s words to be insightful and eye-opening, and I know you will, too! 

Complete Interview Transcript

Andy: So I read a couple of your books, Saving our Sons and The Stone Boys. You write a lot about boys and men and masculinity, and I’m curious why that is. Don’t we have a girl problem? Shouldn’t we be focusing on girls and women? And why do you write so much about men?

Dr. Gurian: Well, of course we should focus on both and all and I have written a number of books on girls and I have two daughters. So sometimes people joke with me when I’m giving talks or speeches, they’ll make a joking introduction which is, “Okay, this is a talk on boys, but Michael Gurian has no boys, what does he know?” It’s a worthy joke. I have two wonderful daughters, they’re 30 and 27. So I’m completely aware of the fact that everyone needs help, girls need help. There are specific areas that I’ve dealt with in my books and in our work that specifically target helping girls. In terms of boys though, definitely the tenor of your question is why? And I would respond, it’s urgent. It’s not just, well, there’s some boys struggling, but it’s become urgent worldwide.

Dr. Gurian: In the first chapter of Saving our Sons, I lay out statistics. And people who read that some will write me or say to me, “I did not realize it was that bad.” It is getting so bad for males, so we have to be able to do both. And in fact, if we don’t look at males and females both, we’re not going to do much more to help girls. we’re getting to the edge of what we can do to help girls and women if we don’t start helping boys and men. We’ve got equality for girls and women, there are always areas and we’re going to work on.

Dr. Gurian: But in terms of basic statistics, there’s really no statistical array in the world, and this is including the Global Health Survey from the WHO, there is no area where males are not doing worse than females. If we look at physiologic health, mental health, emotional health. So yeah, there are guys at the very top, no doubt the president is male, a lot of those people are male, no doubt about it, a lot of the CEOs are male. But those are just a few thousand males. The rest of the world, we got to see how much males are struggling and give them some help.

Andy: It masks a problem because then it makes it like we can’t talk about all the males that are struggling because it’s like, “Well, look, males run the world, they’re in all the positions of power.” But there’s this double-edged thing going on where also they’re really struggling on a lot of these measures. Yeah, some of these statistics that you had in your book were really surprising to me, like for every 100 girls who repeat kindergarten 194 boys repeat kindergarten, for every 100 girls suspended from public elementary and secondary schools 215 boys are, for every 100 girls expelled 297 boys are expelled, death rates, for every 100 girls age 15 to 19 years old who died 242 boys die. It goes on and on, learning disabilities and all these different areas, the rates are higher among boys. So what’s going on? Why is that?

Dr. Gurian: Well, I think there are a number of reasons. I think one primary reason is that we’re creating systems, nurturing systems, family systems, school systems, governmental institutions that are in child development, we’re creating these systems without realizing that a number of elements in the systems are a mismatch with the male brain. So you could see in less scientific terms you could say a mismatch with boys, I’m a gender neuroscience person so I look at it as a mismatch with the male brain. And the male and the female brain are significantly different animals at a molecular level, at a neurochemical level, in terms of the structure of the brain, et cetera, our brains operate differently. There’s a lot of overlap of course, but they operate differently. So we have systems like school systems, you mentioned a number of things from school systems. We are creating school systems and these wonderful teachers and administrators are not being trained in college and grad school, they’re not being trained in male female brain.

Dr. Gurian: So they don’t realize for instance that males automatically on average use less words than females, they write less words, the male brain doesn’t connect words to feelings and words to senses as quickly as the female brain, male behavior at it’s baseline is different than female behavior, males are more testosterone driven so they’re more physically aggressive and that’s how they build resilience, it’s actually an asset it’s not a liability, it’s an asset for nurturing. Violence obviously is a bad thing but I want to remind people that aggression that’s a scientific term for something that is not violent. And aggression nurturance is nurturing others through aggression, by jumping on other people with your body, by throwing things with them, what I call aggression nurturance.

Dr. Gurian: But we’ve created systems in which our wonderful teachers are not trained in any of this. So when they get in the classroom or set up the school, they set it up much more for female brain, much better for girls, much better for the way girls behave, the way girls sit still, et cetera. So of course, more girls succeed and more boys fail. And when you start adding the numbers of that and you go throughout the industrialized world and post-industrial world, you see that boys are behind girls in school in all of the countries that the WHO, for instance, would study. And why? Well, it’s just, my gosh, you look at the systems and the systems are not set up for these guys. So some guys can adapt fine, but you’ve got every…

Dr. Gurian: Our pilot research at University of Missouri, Kansas City, we found in classrooms at 25 that you would have one to two girls who were having difficulties, but you had five to seven boys. So that’s three times the amount and then you start adding that up into the millions and you look at prison and you look at suicide, male imprisonment, male suicide, and all those things in Saving our Sons. That’s part of why we’re there because our systems don’t understand what boys need.

Dr. Gurian: And it’s not just schools, our family systems, the father has been pushed out or he’s pulled out however you want to look at that politically. These boys need dads and they need male role models, their bodies and brains need them. If they don’t get those male role models, they will not succeed as well. We create a family systems in which the dad is displaced. So we’re creating systems that don’t understand what males need and every generation that we do that we’ll lose millions and millions of more males.

Andy: You talk about the differences between the male and female brain. And one thing in your book that I found really interesting was you write that there are connections between the part of the brain that deals with emotional pain and problem solving in the male brain and that those areas are more connected to verbal areas in the female brain. Which may be explains why women like to talk about their feelings more and men like to try and do something about it or start going into planning mode to figure out what they can do next or something. Reading this was eye opening to me, it got me thinking about how there can be disconnect a lot of times between fathers and daughters or mothers and sons when their brains are coming at emotions from a different way.

Dr. Gurian: Yeah. And for parents of teens, this is such a great thing to get into to because when your child is three, four, five, six in those early years, we’re all crying, we’re all, emotional, and we’re however anyone wants to find that. The difference you’re talking about here, that doesn’t show up as much for a five, six year old, but when you’re a parent of a teen and then you start, especially the teens are 15, 16, 17, you can really start seeing it. Then, of course, if you’re in a male female coupleship, you can see it for adults. That what happens in the brain is that the what’s called the sensory register, which is all the stuff that comes in by via sensors, which is everything including these emotions that into the brain. And in the female brain, the way that brain is set up between seven and nine centers in her brain will light up, these are emotive centers.

Dr. Gurian: For males, when they have these sensory emotional experience, only two centers of the brain light up with these emotions. So already much more of the female brain is devoted to converting what happened in the world that comes in via the senses to emotive responses. Then in the female brain, those nine areas are connected to those, as you said, the word centers that are in the frontal and temporal lobe. So now the words are connected to the feelings and to the senses. And she is almost automatically or very quickly able to start processing things in words should she choose to. For males, only a couple centers lit up. And yes, there’s some connectivity to verbal centers, but remember, he’s only doing verbals on the left, females are doing verbals on both sides of the brain. That’s how that brain’s set up, males are doing verbals on the left. So you have to get connectivity to the left to get words from males.

Dr. Gurian: And then also in the male brain, it’s much more automatic for the signaling to go to that center of the brain you just described, we call it a problem-solving center of the brain, the temporal parietal junction, which is, people maybe can’t see me but I pointing to the top of my brain, that junction is a problem solving. So males will tend to move the signaling much more quickly to that problem solving. So you have right there two or three reasons that the male and the female brain experience their emotions somewhat differently.

Dr. Gurian: Now, that doesn’t mean there is an overlap, there always is. Females problem-solve, males can become very emotional, so absolutely. But we’re studying baselines, when we’re doing science, we’re looking at a million or 2 million or 5 million or 10 million people, and that’s a different baseline. So we have to always be teaching our young males, okay, don’t problem solve yet, you got to listen to her, listen now, listen, listen for five minutes, don’t problem solve yet. But then on the other hand, it’s actually not a bad thing that he problem solves as long as the timing is right.

Dr. Gurian: So moms of teen males are always having to try to train these teen males, “Okay, you just got to talk to me for two minutes, I just need two minutes on what your emotions are and then we can go to problem-solving.” But the way my brain is set up as a mom, I got to get some emotions from you. So we’re trying to train the team guys. But then we’re training the moms to have the expectation. Yes, there are some teen males who are going to be very talkative about their feelings, sure. But our expectations of a teen male should be that maybe a minute or two. If we can get that, we’re happy.

Dr. Gurian: Moms worry, the problem is that moms worry. Not realizing the brains are set up so differently, they feel like, “If my son does not talk to me about these things a number of times per day that he’s unhealthy.” And that we have to shift because he could very well be healthy, he’s just not talking to her about these things. So then we start to say, “Well, let’s look at signs of health for him or ill health. If he’s depressed and isolating, that’s something else. But it could be he’s not processing his feelings anymore with his mom at 17 the way he did, but he’s still fine, he’s healthy and so that’s okay.

Andy: Because I feel like that’s difficult if you’re a mom and you really feel this urge to want to talk about what your kid is going through and hear what they’re feeling and they’re shutting down or just saying, “No, I’m fine whatever.” It feels like there’s a disconnect there or you’re not being able to see into their world a little bit. So I wonder what do you think moms need to bring down their expectations for how much your teenage son is going to be talking about what they’re feeling and going through or how should moms approach that?

Dr. Gurian: Well, a number of strategies. Well, yes you know every mom will know her son. And as she hears this and then processes it, she may need to, as you say, have more reasonable expectations. So expectations that aren’t based on her projecting her emotive structure onto the boy, but expectations of that boy’s emotive structure. Like, what is it he needs? What is it he’s able to do to satisfy her emotional needs? And how is he actually satisfying his emotional needs elsewhere? That should be part of her expectation. Does he have some best friends? Well, he probably talks to them. Is dad in the picture? Does he talk to dad? Does he have a girlfriend? If he’s in later teens maybe he’s doing a lot of his emotive work with the girlfriend. So mom looks at his emotive structure as it is built and then looks at his other relationships and then goes, “Oh, okay, okay, here are my reasonable expectations now.”

Dr. Gurian: If he’s isolating or depressed, this is a different category, we need to immediately get help for him. But if he’s, in her mind, normal emotive structure for him, then she can approach it this other way and see that maybe he’s getting the help he needs. And then she can use certain strategies with him too. Like, don’t have him sit down, come sit at the table, look me in the eye and tell me what you’re feeling, so that’s not a good one, we don’t want to be using that one. Maybe it’ll work once in a while and she knows her son best. But still it might be better and generally is better to walk and talk. So be shoulder to shoulder with him not forcing eye contact.

Dr. Gurian: Because remember, with a male, when we force the eye contact, it triggers a number of things in the brain, testosterone, facet precedent, it does some triggering that we don’t want it, it puts his brain under more stress. What we actually want is for his brain to open up. So sit down and look at me in the eye could be completely wrong, it better to be shoulder and shoulder, better to go do something with him, that’s another wonderful strategy. You get more out of guys if you’re doing something with them. And then while you’re doing the thing with them, things come up. And since you’re doing something with them, more of their brain is activated because they’re doing rather than just sitting there staring and then there’s rapport that’s being built and then some things can come out of that. So once we study… Any you’re rights Saving our Sons has a lot of this in there for moms, for everyone. Once we study guys and really understand how they’re set up emotionally, then a lot of these strategies emerge almost instinctively from moms, but we have to train ourselves.

Andy: So I noticed in your novel, The Stone Boys, there were some of these themes going on. For instance, the characters, the two main characters in this book, both have some emotional trauma from their past and they really struggle to open up about it with the adults in their lives and this is one of the main struggles of the book. Then also once they share these things with each other, they immediately go into planning mode of trying to figure out how can we get revenge or make this right. And that actually ends up going a little astray, creating problems of its own. So it seems to me like there’s a lot of research and psychological truth that goes into this book even though it’s a fictional story.

Dr. Gurian: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. The Stone Boys is my fourth published work of fiction, third novel and I also published a book of short stories. I do publish, I really love writing novels, I published a number of books, a poem. So I definitely write and it comes out in different ways. At the same time, most of my books are non-fiction and it is all one brain doing it, so the Michael Gurian brain coalesces in each work. In The Stone Boys, it’s two teen boys, as you’ve said, one is 16 one to 17, and it’s a thriller plot, it’s a suspense plot so it’s a it’s a page Turner. But at the same time, my understanding of male emotive structure, let’s say, does come through and I’ve been writing this novel for decades. As I say in the afterward, one of the characters, Ben, is my foil. Most of what happened to Ben happened to me, there was sexual abuse trauma. For six months when I was 10, I was molested by the psychiatrist.

Dr. Gurian: So by the time I disclosed it to, I first disclosed it to my parents, but it took me eight years, I was 18. And it was very hard obviously. It’s getting easier now for males to disclose what happened to them. But I’m 62, I was born in 1958, so it was actually 1976 when I disclosed to my parents. So I’ve set that novel in 1975 when Ben is 17 and then Dave is 16. There’s probably no way that my understanding of male emotional structure can’t come through the book, it had to come through.

Dr. Gurian: I hope ultimately, even though this is a thriller plot, ultimately, I hope that when people read it, they’ll also understand boys better even though my intention was just to tell a story. But that they’ll also understand boys better and the way boys do emotions because especially this traumatized boys. Males do trauma somewhat differently than females. Yes, we’re all human, we all experienced trauma. But males, we do, as you’ve hinted at, we go more toward planning, we go more toward problem-solving if we even unrepress it. What we’ll tend to do is just completely repress it, we’ll completely compartmentalize it.

Andy: You don’t want to think about it.

Dr. Gurian: Yeah, we just compartmentalize it, we’re not going to deal with it, it didn’t happen. And then of course it leaks out and it leaks out in our becoming perhaps violent or are becoming unable to attach, unable to have a family, it’ll leak out. So these are two boys who are trying actually to work with their trauma. But it’s 1975, they don’t have the language for that, they just disclose it to each other finally after they become best friends. Then as you said, once they disclose it to each other, they start doing some things that create even more of a thriller plot.

Dr. Gurian: Then, as you hinted at, there’s the whole subplot, which has massive, of them trying to talk to adults about it. Ben, with both his mother and father Dave with his mother and father and the parents having different thresholds for their ability to understand or read their kid’s signals, and every parent does have a different threshold for that. So I hope it’s authentically written and I think it is a page turner, so I hope people will read it. And especially if you have teen boys, I think you’ll get a lot out of it. Even though there are a couple of scenes in it obviously that are violent, but I think parents would get a lot out of it.

Andy: So what about teenagers? Do you think this is something that we should get for teen boys to read?

Dr. Gurian: Yeah. I think teen boys or girls, any teens can read it, but I think they have to be 14 and older. So I suggest it as a high school read. I actually do know of two middle schools where they had their eighth graders read it. And so far no problems, but I see it as 14 and up because there are a couple of those scenes in it that are sexually violent. And course it is about sexual abuse so it’s not like you can’t, you have to do something there. I don’t think it’s overdone, but there are these two scenes one of bullying, which is completely realistic.

Dr. Gurian: I’m a therapist and I’ve had clients who went through pretty much that exact same thing. So it is realistic, but it is bullying, it is violence. Then when they recreate back to the sexual abuse that they experienced, there’s a couple of scenes of that that are powerful. So that’s why I think people are safe if it’s 14 up because you can really talk to a 14 year old about this stuff. If you had 10 or 11 year old, I think the sexual stuff is too confusing.

Andy: So as a parent, how would you know if your child might have been the victim of sexual abuse?

Dr. Gurian: Well, with any trauma, there’s first the trauma markers maybe the child is isolating, the child has become depressed, and this could be for all both sexes, all genders. Isolation and depression could be genetic or congenital or something, could be adolescent onset, but also could be connected to trauma. And not even just sexually abuse trauma, but it could be significant bullying trauma. So that’s one of the first things parents ought to look at, isolation from others, hiding in a room, has no friends, only relating through video games, et cetera, and the computer. Then we can pretty much assume that therefore if it’s a boy who is mid-teens or later he’s probably doing a lot of porn, everything is through the computer. So that’s still a form of isolation, I would watch for that. In terms of sexual abuse trauma… And then to finish that thought, all the signs of trauma, and anyone can Google anywhere or you can find them in my books, they’re more than depression, you can see other things.

Dr. Gurian: But then getting to sexual abuse trauma, a child who has been sexually abused might sexualize early. You might notice that this child is walking around naked at 10 or 11 and calling attention wanting people to look, you know what I mean? Anything like that that seems… There’s nothing wrong with nudity, nudity is just your body. But we’re talking about where it gets a bit sexualized. Also early use of porn over use of porn could be related. Maybe not because porn is now available and we have a lot of porn addiction, but could be related to sexual abuse trauma so watching that.

Dr. Gurian: And very parent, until their child leaves the home or becomes independent, every parent should know the kids’ passwords. We have this myth that the child’s 13, we gave them a smartphone, they have privacy. Yeah, privacy when you go to the bathroom okay. There are certain things you have privacy for. But your computer and your smartphone, they’re still part of this family. And parents need to not give that up because they need to find a way in to figure out where this child is going, what sites, et cetera, especially if they’re seeing depression or isolation or early sexualization or any of these things because this teen now who was probably traumatized earlier through sexual abuse is now probably searching out ways to reflect, to mirror and even in a way to process his sexual abuse trauma, but he’s going to be doing it in areas that can be dangerous. So that’s another piece of advice that I constantly give parents, always know what sites your child is visiting.

Andy: So then what would you do if you notice some of these signs or think maybe my kid went through something traumatic?

Dr. Gurian: I would bring it up to the child and it’s especially helpful to have whoever right now in the child’s life has the most rapport. Like I’ll just pick, let’s say a 15 year old. Sometimes that 15 year old has more rapport with mom right now than with dad or more rapport with dad than mom or two moms or two dads, more rapport with someone however that constellation is set up, that person may need to bring it up. Then it can help if someone in the system, and this may not be the parent, this may be a grandparent, this may be certainly could be a counselor, could be a coach, if someone in the system, this multifamily system that wraps around this child has experienced sexual abuse. Okay then that person bringing it up can help because sometimes boys need to hear the story. They’re not accessing as much verbally as we think quite often and they need someone to tell them their story. Then they can identify with that story and go, “Oh, okay, okay, well…”

Dr. Gurian: And as the people are bringing it up, whoever has rapport, whoever can do, and obviously going to get counseling fast. If we identify, we want to get help from professionals fast. So there are certain ways in which males experience sexual abuse that this person who’s experienced it will know how to talk that language. Or the professional and even the parents, I hope parents when they read the book, obviously I hope they won’t just read it because they have a son who may have been sexually abused, I think it’s just a good novel about boys. But if they suspect something, I hope it can help them have language. And if that boy has 14 or older, I would give that to the boy and then set up a time to talk with understanding by saying, “I experienced this.” Or, “I didn’t experience it but I get how confusing it is.” So that that rapport is built where the male is, where that boy is.

About Dr. Michael Gurian

Dr. Michael Gurian is a marriage and family counselor in private practice and the New York Times bestselling author of thirty two books published in twenty three languages. Notable titles include: Saving Our Sons, The Stone Boys, The Wonder of Boys and The Wonder of Girls, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!

As a social philosopher, Dr. Gurian has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy.  The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs, and trains professionals.  

One of the world’s foremost gender experts, Michael travels extensively to provide keynotes and consulting. His engaging and dynamic presentation style, along with the use of case studies, visual aids such as PET and SPECT scans, and interactive demonstrations will help you better understand and assess the needs of both sexes and all genders, and most effectively intervene and work with children and adults from birth through adulthood.

Michael has spoken for the United Nations on violence against women; provided information on boys’ and girls’ educational needs to the White House; and briefed Members of the 114th Congress on the boy crisis in America. 

Michael is the proud father of two adult daughters.

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