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That's My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character

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Why are boys so different? Why would a trip to the garbage dump be such a highlight in a boy's life? What do boys need to learn in order to become good men? A mother's influence on her sons is unique and valuable, but still sometimes moms don't understand what makes their boys tick. They want to help their sons grow up to become men of honor and integrity, but that's a tre Why are boys so different? Why would a trip to the garbage dump be such a highlight in a boy's life? What do boys need to learn in order to become good men? A mother's influence on her sons is unique and valuable, but still sometimes moms don't understand what makes their boys tick. They want to help their sons grow up to become men of honor and integrity, but that's a tremendous challenge. With refreshing honesty and a man's insight, author Rick Johnson offers the advice, understanding, and support every mom is looking for when it comes to raising godly sons. Using extensive research and humorous personal experiences, he addresses tough issues, such as communication, discipline, sexuality, and respect. Mothers, including single moms as well as grandmothers and teachers, will find wise counsel and reassurance in this practical and helpful book.


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Why are boys so different? Why would a trip to the garbage dump be such a highlight in a boy's life? What do boys need to learn in order to become good men? A mother's influence on her sons is unique and valuable, but still sometimes moms don't understand what makes their boys tick. They want to help their sons grow up to become men of honor and integrity, but that's a tre Why are boys so different? Why would a trip to the garbage dump be such a highlight in a boy's life? What do boys need to learn in order to become good men? A mother's influence on her sons is unique and valuable, but still sometimes moms don't understand what makes their boys tick. They want to help their sons grow up to become men of honor and integrity, but that's a tremendous challenge. With refreshing honesty and a man's insight, author Rick Johnson offers the advice, understanding, and support every mom is looking for when it comes to raising godly sons. Using extensive research and humorous personal experiences, he addresses tough issues, such as communication, discipline, sexuality, and respect. Mothers, including single moms as well as grandmothers and teachers, will find wise counsel and reassurance in this practical and helpful book.

30 review for That's My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trace

    Once again, I find myself wishing that Goodreads offered 1/2 stars. I found 4 stars to be a bit too much but it was definitely more than a 3 star book. What did I like about this book? I loved that it was written by a man to assist MOM'S in raising their sons. The author had some really great ideas and experience in raising boys to become men of character. I liked his brutal honesty: mom's can't raise great men alone. The author stresses the point that boys need male mentors and role models. He Once again, I find myself wishing that Goodreads offered 1/2 stars. I found 4 stars to be a bit too much but it was definitely more than a 3 star book. What did I like about this book? I loved that it was written by a man to assist MOM'S in raising their sons. The author had some really great ideas and experience in raising boys to become men of character. I liked his brutal honesty: mom's can't raise great men alone. The author stresses the point that boys need male mentors and role models. He stresses this in several places in the book and actually says that after prayer, this is the MOST important action point we can take - to find positive male role models for our boys and to nurture them. I also loved that he provides a list of character qualities we should be looking to help instill in our boys. As a woman, I would not have thought to place as heavy an importance on some of these qualities, but the author does a decent job in explaining that these qualities are the foundation of great men. So I'm going to trust the author on this. What I didn't like about the book? In many parts of the book, it read as though it were adapted from a keynote presentation - which often doesn't translate as effectively when put into book format. Parts of the book almost seemed disorganized. One of my biggest complaints is the lack of practical suggestions on how to help our boys develop the qualities that he lists. For example, I was really interested in what ideas the author would suggest to develop humility (great job in explaining why he thinks humility is important) but no ideas were presented, other than to say that humility comes with maturity - so I was left hanging with the idea that humility is important to cultivate but no ideas on how to nurture that quality. Frustrating. And finally, a very minor complaint: the list of suggested movies for boys is FIVE times as long as the list of suggested books for boys. This annoyed me, particularly since the author admitted that boys are often not as strong in reading as females are - however this book was intended for MOM's.. and so this clearly is an area that mom's can help their sons in... more book titles and less movies would have been appreciated. Overall though, I enjoyed the read and have taken some great ideas out of it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    "Nothing great was ever accomplished be quitting. Push boys to strive to do great things. Give them a dream to look toward. Boys need dreams. Dream also give them hope-hope that they too can one day stand in the footsteps of men who have achieved greatness." p.63 "If he can't use self-control in one area of his life, he'll lack it in other areas as well." p.73 "Males need to move, especially when they are upset or when they are problem solving. They also need to think about their feelings before t "Nothing great was ever accomplished be quitting. Push boys to strive to do great things. Give them a dream to look toward. Boys need dreams. Dream also give them hope-hope that they too can one day stand in the footsteps of men who have achieved greatness." p.63 "If he can't use self-control in one area of his life, he'll lack it in other areas as well." p.73 "Males need to move, especially when they are upset or when they are problem solving. They also need to think about their feelings before they can express them, unlike women who can think, feel, and talk all at the same time." p.94 "A child that is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone." p.110 "God bless loyal people-I love loyal people. People who will stick with you when all else is in turmoil. People who will still love you when all else is in turmoil. People who will still love you even when they know you. People who, despite your human failures, still believe in you. Those are the kind of people I want in my life." p.128

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I agree with someone else who said that they didn't feel like they were the author's target audience. I feel like this may have been geared towards single moms while I am married, I don't feminize them (though I want them to be able to communicate with others, especially women since they will marry one) and encourage my boys to be "boys": to wrestle, play, run around, do loud boy things with their gun noises and I am in to way overprotective. While there is some insight in here, this is more or I agree with someone else who said that they didn't feel like they were the author's target audience. I feel like this may have been geared towards single moms while I am married, I don't feminize them (though I want them to be able to communicate with others, especially women since they will marry one) and encourage my boys to be "boys": to wrestle, play, run around, do loud boy things with their gun noises and I am in to way overprotective. While there is some insight in here, this is more or less one man's opinion and feelings, how he felt growing up, what he thinks boys need. It was a very quick read, and I did laugh out load at a few of his descriptions (they reminded me so much of my younger son - you have to read the Tarzan story) but I was expecting and hoping for a more in-depth study on how boys should be raised and their characters shaped. It isn't a bad book, it just felt more like an outline from one man's experiences and opinions than a "how-to". There are definitely better books out there for raising boys.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    So far, this book has done little but piss me off. The selling point on the book was that a male author was going to explain to me, a female reader, how to raise my son to be a man of charecter, yet the main message seems to be that a woman cannot possibly raise a boy on her own. Most of the ideas presented suggest that a boy absolutely must have a father figure present in order for that boy to learn anything or turn out okay. Luckily, I am confident in my mothering abilities and realize that th So far, this book has done little but piss me off. The selling point on the book was that a male author was going to explain to me, a female reader, how to raise my son to be a man of charecter, yet the main message seems to be that a woman cannot possibly raise a boy on her own. Most of the ideas presented suggest that a boy absolutely must have a father figure present in order for that boy to learn anything or turn out okay. Luckily, I am confident in my mothering abilities and realize that this book is only one man's point of view.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Dawn

    Felt like I was being proselytized to. And don't agree with his stated belief that boys are better at math and science than girls by nature. Felt like I was being proselytized to. And don't agree with his stated belief that boys are better at math and science than girls by nature.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    This book was a good general, run of the mill book about raising boys. However, I had a major problem with the author, I didn't trust him. Rick Johnson is not a religious leader, a teacher, a counselor, or any other professional occupation that has studied or experienced lots of interaction with boys. While he WAS a boy himself and IS a father now, and works with other men, I found myself constantly questioning his credentials. The book didn't have alot of statistics or studies to back up his ad This book was a good general, run of the mill book about raising boys. However, I had a major problem with the author, I didn't trust him. Rick Johnson is not a religious leader, a teacher, a counselor, or any other professional occupation that has studied or experienced lots of interaction with boys. While he WAS a boy himself and IS a father now, and works with other men, I found myself constantly questioning his credentials. The book didn't have alot of statistics or studies to back up his advice. In fact, Rick Johnson mostly gave personal examples (which I enjoyed) and quoted other people. So now, I don't feel I am much better off having read this book because in the back of my mind I am uncertain of all of his advice. There were some ideas and examples that struck a chord in me and I plan on implementing. However, the rest of the book probably won't help me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Really, just OK. I was expecting some specific insights on mother-son relationships, but really anything here is for parents in general. Some anecdotes didn't seem too relevant to the point at hand, and the bulk of the book was a checklist of things that should be taught to boys without a whole lot of guidance on ways it might be done. Overall, it's a needed topic and a good concept, but didn't really meet my expectations. It also seems to be targeted to single moms as an inspiration to them, wh Really, just OK. I was expecting some specific insights on mother-son relationships, but really anything here is for parents in general. Some anecdotes didn't seem too relevant to the point at hand, and the bulk of the book was a checklist of things that should be taught to boys without a whole lot of guidance on ways it might be done. Overall, it's a needed topic and a good concept, but didn't really meet my expectations. It also seems to be targeted to single moms as an inspiration to them, which I think is really vital, but much of the advice also seems to be "find a good male role model for your boy." Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not so helpful to a single mom trying to raise boys while making a living and overcoming her own personal heartaches and frustrations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    While I don't regret reading this book, I feel like it was a bit of a waste of time. I didn't read anything that I hadn't already been taught or heard in any gender conversation. I felt like it was really geared towards single moms. I was hoping for some practical things to do with my son, but I finished the book with nothing. It was more of a background about boys then "here, try this". Disappointing, but helpful if you feel like you really don't understand boys. The one point that I really agr While I don't regret reading this book, I feel like it was a bit of a waste of time. I didn't read anything that I hadn't already been taught or heard in any gender conversation. I felt like it was really geared towards single moms. I was hoping for some practical things to do with my son, but I finished the book with nothing. It was more of a background about boys then "here, try this". Disappointing, but helpful if you feel like you really don't understand boys. The one point that I really agreed with was the point that society these days is feminizing boys and making all those things that makes boys special, unimportant. Boys and girls are different and they should behave that way. I support the author in writing the book and I hope that a lot of people read it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Overall, this book rehashed a lot of things you can read in other books such as "Wild at Heart" or Dobson's "Raising Boys." His is shorter and an easier read. His target audience is single moms, and he spends a lot of time saying boys need male role models, which I think could discourage a single mom. Saying all that, I did find some helpful things in the book. His chapter on communicating with boys was especially good. He also pointed out specific character traits to instill in boys. Overall, this book rehashed a lot of things you can read in other books such as "Wild at Heart" or Dobson's "Raising Boys." His is shorter and an easier read. His target audience is single moms, and he spends a lot of time saying boys need male role models, which I think could discourage a single mom. Saying all that, I did find some helpful things in the book. His chapter on communicating with boys was especially good. He also pointed out specific character traits to instill in boys.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I debated giving this only one star. Not my cup of tea, but then again, I don't think I'm Rick Johnson's target audience. I mean, I don't think I am over-protective and I let and even encourage James to rough-house, but that's not the same as thinking toy guns and shoving are okay. I debated giving this only one star. Not my cup of tea, but then again, I don't think I'm Rick Johnson's target audience. I mean, I don't think I am over-protective and I let and even encourage James to rough-house, but that's not the same as thinking toy guns and shoving are okay.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This book really helped me to understand my boys better. It was insightful and inspiring.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth Farley

    Actually written for single mothers raising sons, this has major amounts of good information for anyone, information and direction that are badly needed in the world today.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This was a very good book to read, especially when you feel overwhelmed with raising your son to be a good person. He was very thorough about how boys tick and how they are naturally wired. I loved how at the beginning of the book, he talked about Sparta, and how Leonidas chose the 300 men to fight the Persians based on their mothers. I thought that was an interesting fact. The only thing I would have to disagree on, is when the author talks about the certain movies your son can watch that has a This was a very good book to read, especially when you feel overwhelmed with raising your son to be a good person. He was very thorough about how boys tick and how they are naturally wired. I loved how at the beginning of the book, he talked about Sparta, and how Leonidas chose the 300 men to fight the Persians based on their mothers. I thought that was an interesting fact. The only thing I would have to disagree on, is when the author talks about the certain movies your son can watch that has a strong leading male in the story. While most of the movie suggestions are good, there was one I had to disagree with. (The movie 'Signs', with Mel Gibson as the main male character.) I truly enjoyed that movie, but the father lost his faith for a while after his wife passed. And while he is human and we all make mistakes and struggle, I didn't think that was a good example to pass down to kids.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This book is supposed to be written for moms to raise men of character and to help them understand a boy/man's way of thinking and point of view. However, it just went on and on about how a boy needs a man in his life to teach him all these characteristics, which I don't disagree with too an extent but, I don't see how that is helpful to any mom, married or single. If she can't be the one to help raise a boy to become a man of character, why is this the chosen title for this book? I don't disagr This book is supposed to be written for moms to raise men of character and to help them understand a boy/man's way of thinking and point of view. However, it just went on and on about how a boy needs a man in his life to teach him all these characteristics, which I don't disagree with too an extent but, I don't see how that is helpful to any mom, married or single. If she can't be the one to help raise a boy to become a man of character, why is this the chosen title for this book? I don't disagree with most of the messages or values written about but it is more or less one man's opinion on how boys should be raised.

  15. 4 out of 5

    T.R. Duff

    I liked the book. It had a lot of ideas but I did not agree with all of them. Still I will try them out and see what happens. I let my son read the book too and he liked the idea of a new approach to parenting by a single mom. He seemed to like all the ideas but found some to be unworkable in our circumstances. I do believe his character has already improved just by reading the book. So we will keep working on the rest.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Great resource for moms to learn the internal differences of boys and the importance of having positive male mentors in their lives. Notes for values to actively instill in all my children: Perseverance Loyalty Manners Courage Compassion Self-Discipline & Self-Control Dependability Honesty Humility Trustworthiness Honor

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Being a single mother I had higher hopes for this book. I did learn some things about how the male brain operates but he speaks mostly from a married father stand point. I would have liked more ideas and tips on how to relate to my son and raise him to be a godly man. This book doesn't write much about God. Being a single mother I had higher hopes for this book. I did learn some things about how the male brain operates but he speaks mostly from a married father stand point. I would have liked more ideas and tips on how to relate to my son and raise him to be a godly man. This book doesn't write much about God.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Phelps

    If I could I'd give this half of a star. Yes, there are differences between boys and girls but this author seems to be intimidated by strong women. It's a pathetic attempt to fuel the non-existent "war on boys". Men like this do not understand the women's movement, and are clouded in privilege. Don't waste your time. If I could I'd give this half of a star. Yes, there are differences between boys and girls but this author seems to be intimidated by strong women. It's a pathetic attempt to fuel the non-existent "war on boys". Men like this do not understand the women's movement, and are clouded in privilege. Don't waste your time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Meh. Maybe it deserves more than one star. I did not actually throw it across the room like I did with Dobson's book. So. 1.5 stars? ๐Ÿ˜ Meh. Maybe it deserves more than one star. I did not actually throw it across the room like I did with Dobson's book. So. 1.5 stars? ๐Ÿ˜

  20. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Wyse

    Interesting book. Of course I didn't agree with everything he discussed. Overall it was an insightful read. Interesting book. Of course I didn't agree with everything he discussed. Overall it was an insightful read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    There was a lot that I disagreed with, but there were also some very good and vital reminders.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kโ€™Lee Terrazas

    Great perspective for moms of a boy or boys, we think different men and women itโ€™s no different for boys (they are just little men) I loved this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Constance

    Good quick read with some insight on how boys think and how to best communicate with them. Spoiler alert: Don't lecture..... :) Good quick read with some insight on how boys think and how to best communicate with them. Spoiler alert: Don't lecture..... :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Baldwin-Curtis

    This was a very interesting read. I don't normally read "self-help" books, but raising a boy is proving to be a little challenging. I ended up soaking up the information like a sponge. This was a very interesting read. I don't normally read "self-help" books, but raising a boy is proving to be a little challenging. I ended up soaking up the information like a sponge.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christina Kelsch

    Did not finish. Terrible book for advice. It's more for single moms and not moms with husbands who are temporarily away. Super lame. Basically we can't raise strong boys without men. Did not finish. Terrible book for advice. It's more for single moms and not moms with husbands who are temporarily away. Super lame. Basically we can't raise strong boys without men.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Hungness Hedman

    I wasn't sure if I would like this book since it is a self help book, but I did enjoy the way the author mixed in his own personal stories and made them relatable. I also really picked up some very good ideas if my sons would be younger. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with young sons. I wasn't sure if I would like this book since it is a self help book, but I did enjoy the way the author mixed in his own personal stories and made them relatable. I also really picked up some very good ideas if my sons would be younger. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with young sons.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Greene

    As a first time mom and information junkie, this book appealed to me. Each chapter contains information on how moms could influence various aspects of their son's lives (encouraging him to be more outgoing, understanding his love of competition, developing his relationship skills...). I actually thought about my husband a lot while I was reading the book: how he behaves, his relationship with his own mom, and our very different roles in our son's life. Some of my favorite parts taught me to let As a first time mom and information junkie, this book appealed to me. Each chapter contains information on how moms could influence various aspects of their son's lives (encouraging him to be more outgoing, understanding his love of competition, developing his relationship skills...). I actually thought about my husband a lot while I was reading the book: how he behaves, his relationship with his own mom, and our very different roles in our son's life. Some of my favorite parts taught me to let go of that "but he could get hurt!" mentality when it comes to my son's activities. I didn't love this book mostly because it was written from the male perspective. I think if it was written in collaboration with his wife or with another female, I would have been more receptive to the overall message. There is a lot of great information, and so many great tips, but I feel like I would have been more excited about being taught how moms can influence boys to be men of character by a strong, confident woman who had done so herself. Furthermore, it might miss the mark with non-traditional households, as the focus seems to be on nuclear families. A good read overall, especially for first time moms who want a little guidance in their new roles as "Super Moms." :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Not only did I get insights on how to raise a boy but I also learned a lot about the brain of a boy and man. It was very interesting! This book is written by a Christian who does give quotes and scriptures in some chapters. There were times when he would speak against feminists. I'm not a feminist but I'm not against them, and so this made me feel a tad uncomfortable. I would still recommend it to those who aren't fully Christian or "traditional", just to receive a few ideas. The author shared a Not only did I get insights on how to raise a boy but I also learned a lot about the brain of a boy and man. It was very interesting! This book is written by a Christian who does give quotes and scriptures in some chapters. There were times when he would speak against feminists. I'm not a feminist but I'm not against them, and so this made me feel a tad uncomfortable. I would still recommend it to those who aren't fully Christian or "traditional", just to receive a few ideas. The author shared a couple short stories of what he has experienced, and they touched my heart. I will not forget them. I'm very happy I read this book and bought it! I plan on keeping it near by during all of the years of raising my two boys. Here is a look at the chapters! Your place in God's plan for your son, Why are boys so different? Pitfalls-What to avoid, Boys and sex, Communicating with boys, Disciplining boys, What do boys need to learn to become good men? Respect, The importance of Male role models Where do I go from here? It also gives a list of other books to read and even books and movies recommended for boys!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This was a pretty quick read. Some good insights and ideas that I will try to implement. Such as, boys may communicate better if they are being active at the same time, like taking a walk or playing basketball. It is good to be prepared when it comes to hormonal differences. It was shocking to hear Johnson say that boys need to start breaking away from their moms around age 5...that is really soon! Some of Johnson's info was pretty common-knowledge...boys are noiser and rougher than girls and bo This was a pretty quick read. Some good insights and ideas that I will try to implement. Such as, boys may communicate better if they are being active at the same time, like taking a walk or playing basketball. It is good to be prepared when it comes to hormonal differences. It was shocking to hear Johnson say that boys need to start breaking away from their moms around age 5...that is really soon! Some of Johnson's info was pretty common-knowledge...boys are noiser and rougher than girls and boys need men to mentor them, to learn how to be good men. He has some good book and movie suggestions at the end to give our boys good examples of heroic men. One good tip I liked was whenever you give your boy a present, combine it with a book about a heroic person on that subject, for example include a book about Babe Ruth with a basball glove. I plan on following up this book with other books about raising boys (Bringing up Boys by Dobson for example). Boys are so different from girls and not being a boy myself, it is good info to learn!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jayna

    There is good information in this book, many references to other researchers and authors in the field; this made me more interested in those books than this one in some ways. Johnson's voice in the book is conversational rather than clinical, making it an easy read. I would say that much of this book is a reminder that boys are not girls, are not training to become women , and , thus, need goid male role models in their lives and the stories to which they are exposed. Generally speaking, boys an There is good information in this book, many references to other researchers and authors in the field; this made me more interested in those books than this one in some ways. Johnson's voice in the book is conversational rather than clinical, making it an easy read. I would say that much of this book is a reminder that boys are not girls, are not training to become women , and , thus, need goid male role models in their lives and the stories to which they are exposed. Generally speaking, boys and girls/ men and women are hard wired differently, making it difficult for women to always understand their sons and men their daughters. This is not a revolutionary premise, but one easily dismissed in the modern PC culture: a culture of denial of nature's basic truths because truth has become relative as it were. My main complaint is that much is heavily focused on the single mom in discussion, though all ideas can, and should, be implemented by all moms of boys.

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