While many children gravitate easily to reading, others - especially rambunctious and slower to develop boys - struggle with learning to read.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how to foster a love of literacy among boys.
Boys on Target
Amazon Review gives 2 thumbs up!
Dads for Life recommends
Boys on Target
Boy Smarts is a one-of-a-kind book that helps you understand boys and how to work with them rather than against them.
Child Guide rates Boy Smarts as one
of the 10 best parenting books you'll
This book is written with clarity and heartfelt understanding.
It asks illuminating questions that evoke dialogue and optimistic action.
“As I travel throughout Canada and the world, I become increasingly aware that boys are falling behind girls in academic achievement.
I commend Barry MacDonald for stimulating focused inquiry and dialogue about the varied learning needs of boys who struggle at school. This gender gap requires the urgent attention of school leaders.”
- Dr. Avis Glaze
Ontario’s Education Commissioner and Senior Advisor to the Minister
Secretariat for Literacy and Numeracy and recipient of The Order of Ontario
Recipient of the 2008 Sanford McDonnell Lifetime Achievement in Character Education Award
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Barry MacDonald adds an important perspective on the issue of boys and video gaming. Let’s look for positives with emerging technologies and not overreact to potential harms. Like drug or alcohol addictions, it is the minority of gamers that get into trouble; and as always, parents play an important role.
Program Manager, Peace Arch Community Services Producer of Drug Prevention Videos - Cold as Ice, Death By Jib, and High School Confidential
“MacDonald’s powerful and impressive keynote address set a wonderful tone for our annual child care conference. His ability to reach our delegates through humour and storytelling is commendable. People wanted more of Barry. We can’t wait to have him back.” - Karen Norman, Deputy Director, OPTIONS: Services to Communities Society, Surrey
Why do some boys become moody, irritable, and prone to angry outbursts?
What happens when they bring the hostility in school hallways?
How can we help mentor a boy's passage to manhood by openly discussing worry and anxiety?
CHAPTER 12 in BOYS ON TARGET offers parents ideas that can help boys cope with the inevitable stresses of maturation in our culture.
As a parent of an only son who struggled through high school, and as a post-secondary educator for many years, I have had the great pleasure of working with Barry MacDonald in personal and professional contexts. Like so many others whose lives Barry has touched, I have been deeply impressed by his practical wisdom about human psychology, and the learning needs of boys in particular. His book Boy Smarts Mentoring Boys for Success at School has encouraged a wide variety of parents, teachers, administrators, and other cultural leaders to think critically and imaginatively about ways to help struggling students, especially boys, thrive in the twenty-first century. This action study guide takes his ideas one step further, and provides a structure for educational leaders and parents to field-test his ideas through discussion, questioning, brainstorming and action. Working with this guide will help you build and re-vitalize your community through collaboration and a shared commitment to the generation after us.
Dr. Sue Ann Cairns
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Co-author Strategies for Successful Writing
It's common for boys to try to draw adults into an arguement to scuttle a discipline discussion - especially when they are troubled or anxious.
Teachers and parents may become triggered and find themselves reacting instead of responding.
During these time it's important to remember that it is the certainty of the response - not the severity or intensity - that makes the impact.
CHAPTER 28 in BOYS ON TARGET provides a specific dialogue between a teacher and a boy after a hallway conflict.
This chapter offers specific suggestions for helping a boy resolve conflict with a teacher while addressing issues that may underlie a show of toughness.
"As busy parents who also run a company, finding the time to attend a weekend parenting workshop was a stretch. BOYS WAS IT WORTH IT! Barry MacDonald was informative AND reassuring. We gained a new lens to view and understand our son, and left with a renewed feeling of parental confidence and enthusiasm. We now also feel stronger to advocate for our son at school. Thank you!"
Heidi and Warren Nyline
"Barry is a very engaging and dynamic speaker - so much so, the four hour workshop seemed to just fly by. He offered practical strategies to interact and communicate with boys. As a very new practictioner of Nonviolent Communication, I especially appreciated his insistence on examining boys' needs, offering boys' empathy, and not 'grabbing the conflict rope'."
The MacDonald’s tackle WildPlay’s
Monkido Tree Obstacle Course. Click the image to watch.
Boy, oh Boy!
Glenn Mitchell, managing editor
The Vernon Morning Star
March 28, 2010
I thought it was kind of amusing the response I got from my oldest son when I was taking him home from tennis practice on Thursday and told him that his mom and I were going to a talk that evening on how to raise boys. "Why?” he asked hesitantly. "Do you think you guys screwed up?"
I laughed. Paused for a second. And then I asked him if he thought we had. “Well, I think we're as good as most of the guys out there," he said somewhat self-righteously, defending himself and, touchingly, although maybe not realizing it, yours truly. I assured him I thought he was an even-better-than-average kid in my books and that it's more about just seeing if there is more to learn about this difficult thing called parenthood.
My wife and I weren't alone. There were some 1000 people at the Vernon Recreation Centre Thursday night to hear Barry MacDonald talk about Boy Smarts - Effective Strategies for Parenting Boys.
First of all congratulations to Jeff Jacobi and Pam Hargreaves and all the other volunteers with the District Parent Advisory Council who successfully organized and brought in such a dynamic educator on a topic that obviously struck a chord with so many of us. Well done.
Certainly a significant number of the audience were educators, enough that at times I felt I was at a teachers' convention, and it was good to see them learning even more about the boys we send to them on a daily basis.
But it was even more heartening to see fellow hockey parents and neighbours seeking out strategies on how to ensure our little guys "become caring, courageous and ethical men."
I couldn’t help but think back to when our first son was born, and it's still one of the top two happiest days of my life and the feeling of euphoria has stayed with me all these years later to some degree. But I also distinctly remember thinking that day-"Where's the manual?"- on what to do with this newborn and suddenly realizing what a huge responsibility I had just helped create. However you move on from deliriously happy
but painfully clueless on that wonderful day and you buy the books and ask your parents and consult with friends and you wing it and do OK. However, there's so many ways to go wrong, especially with boys I learned last night.
Boys account for 90 per cent of juvenile alcohol and drug violations, and 80 per cent of school suspensions, and are five times more likely to have ADHD.....heavy sign. But Thursday night was about hope, not despair. About awareness and strategies, not giving in to age-old stereotypes. Through the use of humour and studies and anecdotal common sense, not to mention a powerful point presentation that packed punch, we all learned a few things about how to re-connect with our kids in an already hyper-interconnected world.
The fact that boys talk less than girls, value independence more, and struggle to make sense of a barrage of macho and sexually-explicit images on a daily basis, all the while trying to overcome the Boy Code of what one has to do to become a man, makes our jobs challenging. However, I believe, most of them are doing
surprisingly well and I'm optimistic. And MacDonald gave us plenty of pointers to help the process along.
Generally he told us try not to "yackety-yack” at them too much (preach less), cut them some Slack (give them more freedom) and "tune into their reality by joining in with what they like to do.” MacDonald also said "laughter lubricates learning" and that "you learn more when you're having fun."
So where I got home that night and my son asked how it went, I told him I learned that I should play more video games with my kids. "Cool," he replied. And so it goes.
To print article click here...
How can we help boys manage frustrations and stress?
Today, children as early as 10 years old are utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Ask.fm, with little or no guidance from an adult. While the Internet has the potential to increase a child’s social interaction and enhance collaborative learning experiences, it can also lure youth into real dangers.
What can caring adults do to help boys develop more social and ethical online awareness and responsibility?
Take the Stand UP Against Cyberbully Quiz and learn 16 ways to help your son develop his social media smarts.
To read more sign up on the bottom of any page.
How do we respond to boys who get stuck in powerful worry cycles that keep them away from school?
This month’s newsletter explores some of the causes of anxiety, ways that it manifests, and ways that we can work with it.
Liza Finlay, who speaks to moms’ groups about marriage, motherhood, and corralling her own two young sons, explores the plight of boys’ education and whether boys are failing school or schools are failing boys.
How can teachers help reluctant writers appreciate the challenge of the entire process of writing—from discovering their subject to writing a draft—and revising, fine tuning that draft to make it more clear and interesting for a reader?
Does excessive pampering encourage entitlement while also inhibiting maturity?
This month's newsletter offers suggestions to cultivate self-reliance in boys so they will learn the necessary skills they need to manage their own lives and to eventually become contributing members of society.
Undiagnosed learning difficulties are one of the most underestimated causes of failure in both school and life.
This month's newsletter interviews Karen Elkins, who speaks up on behalf of frustrated parents, and says: "Once people view a child in a particular light, the label can stick like glue. My worry is that children become objectified and their individuality melts away."
Karen gently challenges limiting views while also respects the prevailing professional wisdom.
The September Boy Smarts Newsletter received attention from journalists at The Vancouver Sun, who responded with a front page article about increased ADHD diagnoses among younger children in the classroom.
DO 5 year old girls have more impulse control, more verbal fluency, and greater ability to sit still than boys at a similar age?
ARE boys more active, less focused, less mature, and therefore less prepared to start school?
PARENTS wonder if the differences they observe between boys and girls
are inborn, or are they learned from subtle and not–so–subtle social
and environmental cues?
PARENTS also wonder if they should delay Kindergarten for their slower-
CHAPTER 9 in BOYS ON TARGET draws on the wisdom of three experienced Kindergarten teachers to help parents make the best decision, one that will start their boys on the road to achievement, success, and lifelong learning.
While it's natural for teachers to want students to be focused and attentive at all times, a student who is fidgeting, twisting a tiny rubber elastic figure in his hands, shuffling books noisily, or even gazing absently out the window, has much to teach. Such students are giving cues that something else is needed.
How can we move from judgment and irritation to a more compassionate and helpful way of viewing these students?
December’s newsletter offers 20 reframing transformations of thought to help you maintain a focus on strengths and foster positive responses to the everyday challenges of parenting and teaching kids. Click here to read more
Your suggestions in the chapter, Hooked on Video Games, stimulated a stirring family discussion during our recent car trip, especially with our 14 year old gamer son. I am pleased to say that as a result we are closer, better understanding of each other¹s concerns, and are now openly discussing the values portrayed in the games that trouble us. Thanks for providing us with a vehicle to discuss the “elephant in our living room.”
- Lori, mother and teacher in Langley
Does homework dull learning and further erode family life, or does it help young students to develop good work habits that will get them better prepared for secondary school?
As report card season looms again, many parents are anxiously questioning their sons and their sons’ teachers about effort, motivation, and grades.
For many of us discussing school performance with a fifteen-year-old boy or his teacher can seem a minefield. We may tiptoe in, glancing right and left, trying to find a way to mentor boys in school without driving them further away or getting burned ourselves.
This month I interview a mom about her teenage son’s recent progress and highlight the critical impact a caring and attentive teacher can make in a boy’s life.
"I attended a talk sponsored by local school officials involving Barry MacDonald, founder of MentoringBoys.com and author of the book “Boy Smarts.” It was a thoughtful and sometimes provocative speech. Like others, I signed up for the Boy Smarts newsletter that MacDonald sends out by e-mail. If you have a son, and want to be a better parent, you may want to sign up too. I’ve found it very useful in helping our young fellow prepare for the big ol’ world."
CBC News in St. John’s
In The News...
Global National News
Global News interviewed Barry MacDonald after he presented to 350 educators from the Central Quebec School Board.
As parents and educators, we naturally want to know that schools are safe, secure places where our children can thrive. When we hear about lock-downs, school shootings, bullying, or other credible threats to our students’ safety, we may long for swift, certain and decisive responses that will guarantee our children’s well-being.
Students, parents and staff need to trust that endangerment of those in our care will not be permitted at school.
However, many thoughtful educators question the effectiveness of a heavy-handed application of a Zero Tolerance policy, where the law is used as a weapon of control for common misbehaviours.
What are the logical consequences of using suspension and expulsion every time the school's conduct code is violated?
Who is learning what when suspension is the knee-jerk disciplinary response to a range of typical adolescent misbehaviours such as swearing, defiance, fighting, smoking and even truancy?
How do we walk the line between helping our boys and encouraging them to do for themselves?
How will boys learn to be successful when we do so much for them?
When boys seem discouraged and apathetic, can we activate their innate resilience?
CHAPTERS 29, 30, & 31 in BOYS ON TARGET offer parents and teachers practical guidelines to ensure that boys develop the kids of courage and capability to develop their talents, strengths, and the lifelong love of learning.