Book Review – What Your Son Isn’t Telling You

The world of teenage boys is certainly one of mystery.  Many parents don’t understand their teenage sons and many teenage sons don’t understand themselves.  I remember my teen years and I can say with 100% certainty that I’m glad I don’t have to go through them again.  Peer pressure, bullying, raging hormones and identity crises – more often than not, each of these and more are part of the journey to manhood.

In What Your Son Isn’t Telling You, Michael Ross and Susie Shellenberger attempt to guide parents through the murky and often confusing waters of teenagers.  The authors include many letters and testimonials of young men whom they know or have heard from who tell of situations that they are struggling in.  Topics include things like peer pressure, lust, confidence, and anger.

The authors offer fairly sound advice in discussing the world of teenage boys.  However, while the book had several good points, I found it covered many topics but only barely.  The adage “a mile wide, but only an inch deep” comes to mind.  Additionally, much of the book’s content seemed to cover the stereotypical, moody, silent teenage guy.  If you are reading this book to get insight about a particular teenager (maybe your son), unless he is a stereotypical teen, this book probably won’t be much help.

Perhaps the biggest complaint that I have about the book is that it is really targeted to mothers of teenage boys.  This wouldn’t be as big an issue for me if the book’s description or cover mentioned this.  This omission becomes glaringly obvious even just a short way into the book.  With topics like “How Moms Can Nurture Godly Dating” and “Mom to the Rescue,” it is clear who the book’s target audience is.  Advice to dads is scant and indirect.  If I were a dad looking for a book to help me with my teenage son, I would want to know this book wasn’t targeted to me.

The book’s subtitle “Unlocking the Secret World of Teen Boys” is a little misleading.  The book is more like somebody pointing out that there is a lock to this world and handing you a ring jammed with keys. What Your Son Isn’t Telling You is a good starting point in exploring the world of teen guys, but not much else.

(Thanks to Bethany House for providing a review copy of this book.)


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