ROSALIND WISEMAN is an internationally recognized expert on children, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership, and the New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes and Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads.
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Excerpt from book:
It’s Time to Enter Boy World
Like many parents, I wake every morning with my mind filled with Post-It notes of all the things I’m behind on. On April 12, 2011, I opened my eyes with only one thought: it’s time to write a boys’ book. For years I’ve wanted to write a book for boys that would be a complement to one I’d written for girls, Queen Bees and Wannabes. When parents and teachers would ask me about the possibility, I’d thank them for their confidence and promise that I’d get around to it one day, not really sure that I would. Ironically, my two children are both boys, which always gets a laugh when I’m introduced as an expert on girls. How can that Queen Bees woman, that Mean Girls woman, be the mother of only boys?
The truth is, I’ve always taught boys, and they constantly write to me for advice. But up until now I’ve never publicly shared their struggles and what I’ve told them. Some of their problems are important but small, like “How can I tell a girl I like her?” or “How do I tell a girl I don’t like her?” or “How do I stop my friend from bugging me about how short I am?” Other questions are bigger, like, “I have a coach who screams ‘faggot’ at one of the kids. Some of the other guys are going after him too. I hate it, but what can I do?” “I want to quit the team but I can’t tell my parents.” Or, “My dad always, always thinks I’m guilty of something, or lying, or lazy. Every time he lectures me I just want to explode, but I smile and say nothing. My mom makes excuses for him. I can’t live like this but I don’t know what to do.”
I put off writing a book about boys because I wasn’t certain I could deliver the level of insight that I’d been praised for in Queen Bees. Did I know boys well enough? Could I get them to tell me what I needed to know? I knew that boys are much more complex than popular culture gives them credit for. I knew there was a lot going on beyond their clipped responses like, “I’m fine.” But I wasn’t sure that I could write something that was equal to what boys, parents, and adults who care about boys need and deserve.
I needed a sign.
I got it when I was least expecting it. In the spring of 2011, I met with Cartoon Network’s CEO, Stu Snyder, and Alice Cahn, the network’s vice president of social responsibility, to discuss the possibility of working together on their “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign. I’d brought along Emily Gibson, who helps me strategize new partnerships. As usual, Emily got right to the point. “Stu, I’m really glad we’re meeting, but I’m not sure I understand why. Rosalind is more known for her work with girls, and we know most of Cartoon Network’s viewers are boys, so why her?”
Stu immediately answered. “You can see it in her eyes.”
What’s in my eyes? I wondered. Do I have something weird in my eyes?
“You can see she has boys in her eyes,” Stu said. What was he talking about? Then I realized exactly what he was referring to. I’d seen that look. I’d even written about it in another book, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads. I just hadn’t realized it was my facial expression too. That look says to others: “I’m regularly attacked with Nerf guns as a display of affection. I’m not surprised to receive an email or pho
“Rosalind Wiseman, who so insightfully explained the world of girls in Queen Bees and Wannabes, has done it again. This book is a powerful exploration of the inner life of boys, which is far more complex than many parents and educators may realize. Wiseman reveals the unwritten rules boys must both abide by and try to overcome, and she helps parents understand boys’ reactions, as well as their own. This is an essential guide – not just for parents but anyone who wants to better understand their own childhood and its impact.”
“This book is a gem. Rosalind Wiseman offers readers deep, nuanced, up-to-the-minute insight into today's boy. She explains how and why boys, in so many areas, make it easy for parents and educators to miss out on their suffering and their strength. Most important, she shows how to reach out and lift boys up without getting on their nerves.”
--Wendy Mogel, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
"Rosalind Wiseman, the well-known ‘girl expert,’ has a real feel for the inner life of boys, and for the way they interact with their parents. Her new book, Masterminds and Wingmen, contains some of the best advice for communicating with boys that I’ve ever read: wise, clear and tough. The brilliant chapter on why boys lies to their parents is alone worth the price of the book.”
--Michael Thompson, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
“Trying to communicate with boys – teenage boys especially -- can sometimes feel like cracking the world’s most complicated secret code. What makes Masterminds and Wingmen so remarkable is how thoroughly it decrypts boy-world language. It allows us to really connect with boys. If you want to understand what’s in your son’s head, read this book!”
--Michael Gurian, New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys
“Rosalind Wiseman is perhaps America's foremost guide through the complex social hierarchies and cruel logics that govern adolescents' lives. And Masterminds and Wingmen maps the foreign territory of boys’ social and interior emotional lives as deftly and compassionately as Wiseman’s earlier book on girls. With clear analysis and down-to-earth practical advice, this book will guide many many conversations between parents and their sons.”
--Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
"Rosalind Wiseman brings a distinctive perspective and voice to whatever issue she takes up. She did it in Queen Bees and Wannabes. Now she's done it again, revealing the inner workings of 'Boy World.' I found the book insightful and useful, as both a father to sons and as a professional working with violent youth who must deal with the most serious life issues facing other people's sons."
--James Garbarino, PhD, author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them
“Don't even try parenting, teaching or coaching a boy without reading Wiseman's book -- a field manual that you’ll absolutely need if you wish to enter the strange and wondrous world of guys.”
--Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind
“The world bombards boys with confusing and destructive messages – the net result is the creation of characters instead of young men with character. Masterminds and Wingmen will help parents, teachers, and coache