Teen Boys: Mean or Misunderstood? | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

Filed Under:

Teen Boys: Mean or Misunderstood?

Play associated audio

Rosalind Wiseman literally wrote the book on the complicated and often fraught relationships between teen girls. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes inspired the movie Mean Girls. Now Wiseman's latest book explodes myths about the lives of adolescent boys. It's called Masterminds and Wingmen, and Rosalind Wiseman joined host Michel Martin in Tell Me More's parenting roundtable with regular guests Jolene Ivey and Lester Spence.


Rosalind Wiseman's Roundtable Highlights

On Stalling The "Car Talk"

"Many people like me, myself included, have been saying to parents, 'Oh when you get your kid in the car, you should be having these really deep meaningful conversations.' What I didn't realize was the boys really felt like they were getting interrogated the moment they got into the car. So we need to give them some space to decompress."

On Whether Silence Feeds Slurs, Racism

"For so many boys especially in positions of race privilege or gender privilege for something or another reason, there is a feeling of 'I get to do whatever I want because the other person is not telling me that this is a problem. So I'm just going to keep going. And the more they are silent, the more right I have or the more justification I have that if they ever say something to me, I get to blow it off even more.'"

On Good Guys, Bad Actions

"In moments of conflict, what happens is that --based on your position in the group-- you feel more or less comfortable speaking truth to power. And that is extraordinarily important ... when you're a teenager at a party and you see something going wrong, very wrong; and it's your friends who is perpetrating it, that you are actually preconditioned not to say anything because you have, for years, not been saying things when you don't like what he's doing. Or you believe that if you try and speak your truth, you'll be ridiculed or dismissed."

On Whether To Encourage Passion For More Than Sports

"Overall, girls are given much more license and freedom to be public about their passion about things. Boys can be passionately public about fantasy football...But it's not okay in many different ways for boys, it's this feeling of 'If I speak out about something I'm passionate about, I will be ridiculed or dismissed. Or I will be emasculated.'"

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Sept. 30

An artist plays with symbols in a series of paintings. Art sheds light on Palestine and its people in an upcoming festival.
NPR

Millennial Jews Do An About-Face, Start Keeping Kosher

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, nearly a fourth of millennial Jews are keeping kosher. That's almost twice the rate of their baby-boomer parents.
NPR

Napolitano: ISIS Was One Of Many Similar Threats We Were Tracking

The former Homeland Security secretary and Arizona governor also talks about security improvements since the Sept. 11 attacks, and the frustrations and potential solutions to the immigration debate.
NPR

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static

One Los Angeles school is working technology into the learning process while avoiding traditional screen-time pitfalls.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.