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Bonding with Sons and Daughters

A Father’s Guide to Bonding with Sons and Daughters with Michael Gurian

According to Columbia University, children who have a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to drink, smoke, or use drugs. How we can strengthen the bond between father and son and father and daughter?

Michael Gurian is one of the world’s foremost experts on gender and the brain and has been called “The People’s Philosopher” for his ability to bring together people’s ordinary lives and scientific ideas. He is the NY Times bestselling author of thirty-two books, a keynote speaker, a husband and a father.

Michael tells us the top three reasons why today’s kids aren’t connecting with their dads. He teaches us to discover our assets as fathers and how to invite our kids to utilize them. He also shares the neuroscience behind the differences between bonding with sons and daughters, and how we be the best father to each gender.

Michael Gurian

Dr. Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty two books published in twenty three languages. He provides counseling services in private practice.  The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals.

Michael has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including THE WONDER OF GIRLS, THE WONDER OF BOYS, BOYS AND GIRLS LEARN DIFFERENTLY!, THE MINDS OF BOYS and LEADERSHIP AND THE SEXES.

In the 1990s, Michael and his colleagues at the University of Missouri-Kansas City completed a two year pilot study that established best practices for educating boys and girls.  These strategies and Michael’s nature-based gender theory are now used in schools and communities worldwide.

One of the world’s foremost gender experts, Michael travels to approximately 25 cities per year to provide keynotes at conferences and speak at schools and in communities. Michael has served as a trainer and consultant to colleges, corporations, school districts, community agencies, faith communities, criminal justice personnel, and other professionals. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael’s work has been featured in nearly all the major media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Psychology Today, the Christian Science Monitor, Educational Leadership, the American School Board Journal, Family Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, the 700 Club, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

What You’ll Learn

  • Michael’s mom had mental illness, and he grew up in an environment of violence and sexual abuse.
  • Michael’s father was mostly absent in his life until his dad was eighty years old.
  • It took 10 years of therapy for Michael to process his trauma. Therapy helped him recover and inspired him to become a counselor.
  • He’s been married to his wife 34 years, who is also a mental health counselor. They have two girls, aged 29 and 26.
  • Michael’s marriage advice: Establish domains as a couple. Figure out what each of you are good at and give each other space to do that. This prevents you trying to control each other.
  • Why you should compliment your spouse publicly.
  • Michael’s book, The Stone Boys, and why he wrote a story about traumatized boys.
  • The brain is not gender neutral. It shows differences according to sex beginning in utero.
  • Why we need to understand the male experience better
  • How culture is over-judging males and has lost the sense of value in a fathers’ masculinity
  • Dads are 50% of their kids support and development. They need to claim role in their kids’ lives.
  • Why kids aren’t connecting with dads
    • Divorce and child custody processes typically vilify the father.
    • The father abdicates to the mother or others because he doesn’t understand his role. He is afraid to assert himself as a father.
    • The father fails to invite the child to utilize him for the assets he has. He must be a presence. It doesn’t have to be deep conversation. Fathers and kids can bond with sports, movies, video games, and other activities.
  • Don’t be too permissive. Kids want structure.
  • How to be authoritative, not authoritarian.
  • The structure of a boy’s brain is wired to be more active. More blood flow goes to the doing part of the brain.
  • Females have more blood flow to the front and top of the brain. They solve problems internally by thinking and connect to emotive parts of brain.
  • Why females create rumination loops, leading to depression and anxiety.
  • How dads can listen to their daughters for ruminating, find the right time to step in, do a reality check, and offer suggestions.
  • Boys don’t have as many words for feelings as girls.
  • How dads can help their boys get their feelings out
  • What special activities dads can do with their daughters and sons to make the bond strong.
  • Figure out who you are as a dad and what your assets are.
  • Find common interests with your kids. Ritualize doing these things with your kids so you can establish your presence as the dad.
  • Gauge what your spouse is doing. What has she got covered? Where can you fill in the gaps as a husband and father?
  • The difference between maternal and paternal nurturing
  • How trauma effects boys and girls
  • Signs of trauma—if your child suddenly becomes withdrawn, angry, or isolated, he or she may have been traumatized.
  • More kids are traumatized than we realize.
  • How the dad spirit organically works in the family dynamic. Trust it and embrace it.

RELATED EPISODES:

Taking Action as the Head of Your Family

Modern Manhood: What it Means to Be a Good Man Today with Cleo Stiller

Imposter Syndrome: Defeating Your Inner Bully with Dr. Jamie Hope


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Michael Gurian’s Links

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