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Boys to men?
What's going on with our young men?

Date published: 1/21/2011

TODAY, two-thirds of college graduates are women. More females than males are being admitted to medical schools. Fewer than 40 percent of young men who enter college will earn any degree at any time. And two-thirds of males between ages 22 and 34 live at home--a 100 percent increase in 20 years.

What's going on with our young men? Dr. Leonard Sax, a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in psychology, practiced family medicine for 20 years in Montgomery County, Md. He believes five factors are drastically affecting the maturity and achievement of young males: changes in educational models, video games, medications for ADHD, endocrine disruptors, and a lack of good role models.

Kindergarten, Dr. Sax says, used to be about coloring and playing "Duck, Duck, Goose." Today, schools are pushing academics at an early age, expecting boys to sit still and be quiet in educational models more suited to girls' learning styles. Video games are taking time away from meritocratic outdoor play and giving boys a false sense of achievement. In what Dr. Sax calls "the medicalization of boyhood," more kids are on drugs for ADHD than need to be. Endocrine disruptors found in pesticides, plastic bottles, and even food may be estrogenizing our boys. And, finally, good role models who live out "constructive masculinity" are scarce.

Dr. Sax outlines his concerns in his book "Boys Adrift." His ideas are not without controversy--some critics object to what they call his "traditional model" of understanding the sexes. But a lot of parents concerned about their sons have found his viewpoint compelling and his suggestions worthwhile.