Selected press and coverage of Raising Boys Without Men

  • In their survey of American single-by-choice moms, Susan Golombok and Shirlene Badger found that almost 60 percent thought that it was very important for their children to have a male role model and 38 percent thought it was moderately important. But finding men for the job can be difficult. In her book “Raising Boys Without Men,” Peggy Drexler, a psychologist, writes that “single moms by choice are on the desperate lookout for male role models for their sons.” Drexler insists that much of the anxiety about finding a father substitute is misplaced. “Good fathering, like good mothering, may be no more important than simply good parenting,” she writes, pointing out that lesbian couples contend with the same issues and that several studies have confirmed that their kids fare no worse than other children.
    2 Kids + 0 Husbands = Family, The New York Times
  • In the case of swimmer Phelps, mothers such as Debbie Phelps have the right approach, says Peggy Drexler, author of the 2005 book Raising Boys Without Men. “Phelps was born with a gift that his mother nurtured,” says Drexler, an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York City. Such mothers “don't hold them back,” she says. “They encourage their talents, and drive and encourage independence and a sense of adventure.”
    Single moms’ sons can succeed, new research shows, USAToday.com
  • Earlier this year, Peggy Drexler, a Cornell University psychology professor, took this position one step further in her book Raising Boys Without Men. She asserted that, all things being equal, boys often fare better without a male influence in the home. In the course of her research, Drexler followed a cohort of mostly middle-class boys, ages 5 to 9, from mother-only families, and charted their emotional and behavioural growth compared with boys from conventional mom-and-dad families. “I wanted to find out if sons can prosper through the power of mothers alone,” she says. In the end, she decided that not only were they functional, they often outshone their more traditionally reared peers. “The boys in my study were not sissies or mama’s boys,” she says. “Nor did they compensate for the lack of a father figure by becoming overly aggressive. They were thoughtful communicators who were caring and sensitive, but they were just as willing to engage in boyish activities like skateboarding and roughhousing.” Also, she says, they were remarkably resourceful in securing male role models in their extended families and communities. “It seemed clear that their essential boyishness was hard-wired.”

    Fatherlessness is not inherently problematic, says Drexler. The trouble, she points out, lies in the unfortunate reality that the average single mother has to contend with socio-economic factors—namely poverty, gender discrimination and systemic racism—that often prevent her from providing her children with the kind of support they may need. It is these factors, says Drexler, and not the absence of a male influence at home, that are most likely to determine a child's behaviour and performance. “Parenting is not anchored to gender,” she says. “Parenting is either good or deficient, not male or female.”
    The Incredible Shrinking Dad: An old debate finds a new twist: fathers may not be essential after all, Mclean’s (Canada)

  • “Family structure has been shown to play no role in determining a child’s sexual preference,” says Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the author of Raising Boys Without Men. “The percentage of people raised in gay homes who are gay is the same as it is for those raised in heterosexual homes.” Drexler's research shows that gay parents go out of their way to find opposite-sex role models because this issues is so on their radar. Drexler's ongoing study of boys raised in lesbian families and heterosexual families has found no gender-identity confusion in any of the kids.
    I was Raised by Two Moms, Cosmopolitan
  • “Mothers have become of interest in a literary way,” says psychologist Peggy F. Drexler, a fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the author of the upcoming book [Raising Boys Without Men] Citing such recent books as “The Hours” and “The Lovely Bones” as realistic portrayals of motherhood, Drexler credits the current wave of young writing moms to the popularity of the memoir as a format for women writers and to a reappraisal of motherhood in the feminist arena. “Writers like Gore are saying, ‘I'm creating my own world,’” explains Drexler, “They're taking mothers out of the sort of Hallmark card and putting them in real life and really not being concerned about looking like a bad mother, and even being able to talk about feeling like a bad mother.”
    Style & Culture; A mom makeover; Today’s mothers are confessing to fallibility even as they display fierce love, The Los Angeles Times
  • ... sons of lesbians, born through sperm donation, were compared with sons of heterosexual couples. The boys with two moms were just as likely as the others to be masculine sports fanatics. But they also cook, garden and “are very sensitive to their own and others’ feelings. They’re more androgynous,” says San Francisco psychologist Peggy Drexler.
    Growing up with gay parents, USA Today
  • ... Dr. Peggy F. Drexler, a psychologist in san Francisco, found that the sons of the lesbian couples were more willing “to entertain discussion about a broader range of sexual orientation,” and more “fluid” in their definitions of masculine behavior. “They went outside and threw the ball around,” Dr. Drexler said, “but they also did cooking with their mother. They were kind of redefining gender roles because they have to deal with the complexities of their own families.” Still, she added: “These were very boyish boys. They were very confident about their boyishness. And the parents valued their maleness and encouraged it and admired it, which goes against the sort of myth that lesbians hate men and might undermine their sons' masculinity.”
    A rainbow of differences in gays' children, The New York Times
  • Many single parents teach their children that families take many forms: "Whoever loves you -- that's your family." But the desire for the other parent is an important wish, says Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., a research psychologist and scholar at Stanford University's Institute for Research on Women & Gender in Palo Alto, CA. And children need to feel that they can express their fantasies or desires without being discounted.
    “Don't I Have a Daddy?” How single parents can handle their children's tough questions about what makes a family, Child.com

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Full Press Archive

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL WEEKEND EDITION
June 18, 2010

THE NEW YORK TIMES:
February 1, 2009

North & South magazine, (New Zealand):
“Sailing Solo” by Matt Philp, December 2007

WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY

AVENUE
One of New York's Most Influential in media, communications and publishing, science and medicine

THE NEW YORK TIMES
September 20, 2005

NEW YORK POST

USA TODAY
Raising Boys Without Men was selected as a Finalist in Childcare & Parenting Books for a Better Life Award 2005

SINGLE MOTHER (published by National Organization of Single Mothers, Inc. NOSM):
Issue No. 84, “Today's Maverick Moms are Raising Tomorrow's Exceptional Men!”

LONDON OBSERVER, OBSERVER WOMAN:
No 7 “Do Boys Really Need Fathers?” by Louise France, pages 18-23

SABERVIVER: Numero 73, Ano 7, Portugal Continental, pages 134-135
ROYAL GAZETTE, (Bermuda):
"Dispelling the myths around raising boys without fathers", by Jessie Moniz

O ESTADO DE S.PAULO:
Brazil, South America, "Menino não precisa da figura paterna"

EFE NEWS AGENCY
"Psicóloga EEUU dice niños puden desarrollarse sin padre", Teresa Bouza, Washington, DC

MA'ARIV, (Israel):
"אבא גנוב" (Missing Father), by Adi Katz

MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE, (Ontario, Canada):
"The incredible shrinking dad", by Lianne George.

REVISTA MUJER ÚNICA, (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic):
"Criar niños sola" (Raising boys alone), by Ana Alicia De Jesús

GLADNEY TODAY:
Winter 2006, Volume 16, Number 1, pages 14-15

New York/Tri-State Area:

DAN'S PAPERS THE HAMPTONS

HAMPTONS MAGAZINE

HAMPTONS STYLE

"YOUR MORNING NEWS ON CN8"/CN8 TV NEWS (Airs regionally in NJ, PA, & DE): live author interview

"MORNING SHOW"/PLUM TV (Hamptons TV network): live author interview aired

NEW YORK SOCIAL DIARY

ITHACA TIMES

WRITTEN VOICES: 15 minute podcast interview featuring description, bio, excerpt and link to author's website.

Successtalk.com - Featuring podcast with Written Voices.

Gayparenting.thepodcastnetwork.com - A podcast for LGBT parents.

Buzzle.com - Excerpt placement and link to author's website.

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts:

"MORNING SHOW"/PLUM TV MARTHA'S VINEYARD: live author interview

THE MARTHA'S VINEYARD TIMES: Island News Now

THE MARTHA'S VINEYARD TIMES: Boys to Men

COMMUNITY VIEW

San Francisco:

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

J: SF JEWISH WEEKLY: author interview

SF WEEKLY

SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE

"FORUM"/KQED-FM WITH MICHAEL KRASNEY: live author interview

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Raising Boys Without Men," #10 on the nonfiction best sellers list

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
San Francisco City Hall Book Party in the Rotunda to celebrate "Raising Boys Without Men"

NOB HILL GAZETTE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Other Regional Coverage:

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

NEW ORLEANS TIMES

TAMPA TRIBUNE

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER: "Shelf help" mention of the book

WASHINGTON TIMES

YALE
DAILY NEWS

WOOD RIVER JOURNAL, KETCHUM, IDAHO

PALM BEACH SOCIETY

PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS

BU TODAY:Boston University Today interview

THE DAILY FREE PRESS:
1/19/07, Boston, Mass

Media Features

In Print & On the Air

Stanford Report
Palo Alto, CA
Reuters Health Television
The Vital Voice
St. Louis, Missouri

Empirical Research Method for Raising Boys Without Men Study


Analysts at the Developmental Testing Service, LLC employed the LecticalTM Assessment System and a range of content analyses to examine patterns of response in the interviews of a sample of lesbian and heterosexual parents and their sons. The results are presented in six reports that can be found here.

Direct links of Dr. Drexler’s research reports on Lectica website:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Indiebound | Chapters Indigo

Read the introduction.

Read reviews.

Read a Q&A with the author from Health magazine

Finalist: Books for a Better Life Award in Parenting. Books for a Better Life awards recognize and pay tribute to outstanding and influential self-help, motivational, self-improvement or advice books.

Finalist: Lambda Literary Award in Nonfiction—The Lambda Literary Foundation celebrates achievements in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) literature.

Best-Seller: San Francisco Chronicle“Raising Boys Without Men, Peggy Drexler, a study by a Cornell psychology professor finds that single mothers and lesbian couples are just as effective at raising sons as more traditional families.”

Hot Summer Read: Harper’s Bazaar

Our Fathers, Ourselves Daughters, Fathers, and the Changing American Family
Published by Rodale, 2011

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Indiebound | Chapters Indigo

View more photos on Peggy’s Instagram.