Lost Boys

Lost Boys

Why our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them

In the first book to help parents truly understand youth violence and stop it before it explodes, national expert Dr. James Garbarino reveals how to identify children who are at risk and offers proven methods to prevent aggressive behavior.
After more than a decade of relentless increase in the urban war zones of large cities, violence by young boys and adolescents is on the rise in our suburbs, small towns, and rural communities. Twenty-five years as a psychologist working in the trenches with such children has convinced James Garbarino that boys everywhere really are angrier and more violent than ever before. In light of the recent school-based shootings, it's now clear that no matter where we live or how hard we try as parents, chances are our children are going to school with troubled boys capable of getting guns and pulling triggers. Beyond the deaths and debilitating injuries that result from this phenomenon are the staggering psychological costs -- children who are afraid to go to school, teachers who are afraid of their students, and parents who fear for their children's lives.
Building on his pioneering work, Garbarino shows why young men and boys have become increasingly vulnerable to violent crime and how lack of adult supervision and support poses a real and growing threat to our children's basic safety. For these vulnerable boys, violence can become normal, the "right thing to do." Terry, one of the boys Garbarino interviews, says "I just wasn't gonna take it anymore. I knew I would have to pay the price for what I did, but I didn't care." We've seen how the deadly combination of ignoring excessively bad behavior and allowing easy access to guns has destroyed families in Pennsylvania, Oregon, New York, Washington, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Fortunately, parents can spot troubled boys and take steps to protect their families from violence if they know what signs to look for -- lack of connection, masking emotions, withdrawal, silence, rage, trouble with friends, hypervigilance, cruelty toward other children and even animals -- all warning signs that every parent and peer can recognize and report.
Dr. Garbarino, whom Dr. Stanley Greenspan of the National Institute of Mental Health hails as "one of the true pioneers in our understanding of the inner life of our youth," addresses the wide range of issues that boys of every temperament and from every background may have to confront as they grow and develop. By outlining the steps parents, teachers, and public officials can take to keep all children safer, Dr. Garbarino holds out hope and solutions for turning our kids away from violence, before it is too late. This is one of the most important and original books ever written about boys.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684857695 | 
  • August 1999
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
THE EPIDEMIC OF YOUTH VIOLENCE
PROLOGUE: CHICAGO, JANUARY 1994
I lived and worked in Chicago for almost ten years, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. My children grew up there. Throughout 1993, the Chicago Tribune published in-depth profiles of every kid who was killed in Chicago that year. As an expert on violence and trauma, I spent a lot of time talking with reporters in an attempt to help them make sense of what they had found during their investigation of each case. The reporters worked on the project all through 1993, and in a single issue at the beginning of 1994 the Tribune published the photo and... see more

About the Author

James Garbarino

James Garbarino, PhD, is an author and professor at Loyola University Chicago. He has specialized in studying what causes violence in children, how they cope with it and how to rehabilitate them. Dr. Garbarino has served as consultant or adviser to a wide range of organizations, including the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the American Medical Association, the National Black Child Development Institute, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the FBI.

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