• Decoding Boys

  • New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons
  • By: Cara Natterson
  • Narrated by: Cara Natterson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“If you’re raising a boy, you need this brilliant book. It is clear, wise, and eye-opening.” (Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled)

When boys enter puberty, they tend to get quiet - or at least quieter than before - and parents often misread their signals. Here’s how to navigate their retreat and steer them through this confusing passage, by the best-selling author of The Care and Keeping of You series and Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys.

What is my son doing behind his constantly closed door? What’s with his curt responses, impulsiveness, newfound obsession with gaming, and...that funky smell? As pediatrician and mother of two teenagers Cara Natterson explains, puberty starts in boys long before any visible signs appear, and that causes confusion about their changing temperaments for boys and parents alike. Often, they also grow quieter as they grow taller, which leads to less parent-child communication. But, as Natterson warns in Decoding Boys, we respect their increasing "need" for privacy, monosyllabic conversations, and alone time at their peril. Explaining how modern culture mixes badly with male adolescent biology, Natterson offers science, strategies, scripts, and tips for getting it right:

  • Recognizing the first signs of puberty and talking to our sons about the wide range of "normal" through the whole developmental process
  • Why teenagers make irrational decisions even though they look mature - and how to steer them toward better choices
  • Managing video game and screen time, including discussing the unrealistic and dangerous nature of pornography
  • Why boys need emotional and physical contact with parents - and how to give it in ways they’ll accept
  • How to prepare boys to resist both old and new social pressures - drugs, alcohol, vaping, and sexting
  • Teaching consent and sensitivity in the #MeToo culture

Decoding Boys is a powerful and validating lifeline, an audiobook that will help today’s parents keep their sons safe, healthy, and resilient, as well as ensure they will become emotionally secure young men.

Praise for Decoding Boys

"Comforting...a common-sensical and gently humorous exploration of male puberty's many trials." (Kirkus Reviews)

©2020 Cara Natterson (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Decoding Boys offers remarkable scientific insight as to why teenage boys seem to shut down and behave antisocially once they enter puberty. We would say we wish this book was around when we were teenagers, but we were too busy playing videogames, underage drinking, and lying to our parents to read." (Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, co-creators of Big Mouth)

"Fifty years ago the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves lifted women up by replacing ignorance and prejudice with knowledge and the power of sisterhood. Decoding Boys is equally revolutionary in its mission to help us understand the nuances of how boys develop. Natterson’s warm, candid, and conversational style gives us a vibrant, page-turning deep dive into both their emotional and physical growth; hers is an authoritative and passionate voice. I finished reading this book enlightened and excited to share it with parents of boys everywhere." (Wendy Mogel, PhD, New York Times best-selling author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus)

"Decoding Boys debunks the widespread myth of the inscrutable teenage boy. Dr. Cara Natterson illuminates boys' inner lives, details the pressures they face from the outside world, and teaches parents how to effectively engage and support their adolescent sons. Decoding Boys is clear, wise, and eye-opening. If you're raising a boy, you need this brilliant book." (Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times best-selling author of Untangled and Under Pressure)

What listeners say about Decoding Boys

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I've been waiting for this! i devoured Lisa Damour's books on raising girls and navigating the transition to adulthood. There was nothing good for boys. Finally, now a book for parents of boys. Helping boys enter parenting through adolescence. Not just puberty, but the emotional and social changes too. Dr. Natterson also includes medical and child development advice. I'm here for it all!

4 people found this helpful

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Must read for anyone with young boys

This book is amazing. I am a mother with two boys, and I needed to understand puberty for boys. This is the first book I could find that really helped me understand the stages. It has helped me to be more patient with my boys and it has given me incredible insight into what they are going through. Thank you for writing this book. It is a must for any mom with young boys.

3 people found this helpful

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Chapter on Smartphones & Porn--a must read!

In an era where parents are giving their boys Smartphones too young, this information is vital. But that's not all--it was just the topic that was most eye-opening. Don't let the 2nd Chapter, which seems to go on a tangent about girls derail you. if necessary, skip to the next chapter. The rest of the book is well worth it. This information is relevant, science-based, easy to digest. A must-read for anyone with a boy--at any age, especially 8 yrs old and up.

2 people found this helpful

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Best boy parent book ever!

I learned so much about why things are happening in addition to what and how. the author is an expert but real and realistic. There is some scary stuff in here but all the more reason to, as she states repeatedly, talk to our boys.

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wanted to give 5 but last chapter is so biased

All this stuff was good. first time I've heard a good book written by a women that mentions male body image. The chapter on porn is good the chapter on video games....

she openly admits there is no evidence for her claim and relies on "on my kid is angry after playing". she says "if you want evidence go watch boys play video games". YOU CAN DO THAT! Thousands of men and boys will attest this is bullshit and you yourself can watch people light heartedly play video games on stream? Kinda sad she did so well so honestly and something I could say "this woman understands men" then drops this clear bias about violence and video games at the end that no men would agree with.

Maybe it's her age, personal experience, lack of being someone who plays herself or just being a woman but that last chapter was pretty pathetic. Admitting there is no evidence for your claim, admitting there is actually a wall of evidence against it then claiming despite that "its true".... Why would you think that sounds good. Lady anyone who plays videos will tell you that's bullshit you used your son, a sample size of one, to make a giant claim. And the clear hypocrisy of talking about violent games but not even mentioning violent TV? It's clear you have a baseless dislike of video games which kills credibility?

Otherwise pretty good

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Essential read

As a mom and teacher of adolescents, this book is a must read for anyone raising or interacting regularly with kids. It is real, unapologetic, necessary. People are finally writing about boys, and it provides fantastic insight.

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GREAT guide for both parent and child

This book brought expertise, clarity, humor and personal experience to a subject that every boy experiences and few people understand. The author wastes no words, speaks at just the right speed, combines science with social issues, uses language that is both understandable and specific, and covers matters of real importance.
I would recommend it to every parent who has a son, as well as every boy who is starting or in the midst of puberty.

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Boys

Amazing information…. I have altered and changed rings in our lives already from reading this book. My boys are 13 & 9 and I recommend this book to any boy mom!! I love that the author believes we should talk to our boys as we talk to our girls. I truly feel this is something we should have been doing for decades!!! I really hope this books helps boy moms turn that around and our boys get the attention thing why need in these troublesome areas they so silently suffer through.