The child psychiatrist Jari Sinkkonen is well known for his humane works on the stages of children’s growth and development and particularly on the challenges that boys face, which were also the subject of his debut work Good Men from Small Boys. My Life as a Boy continues and expands on the themes of that successful title.
In My Life as a Boy, Sinkkonen discusses the themes of growing up to boyhood and what it means to be a boy. He sets out to seek the understanding and sensitivity, the disappearance of which result in children being treated manipulatively without respecting their uniqueness and autonomy.
Sinkkonen goes through the development stages of a male child and, for example, writes about how important it is that boys get to scuffle with other children and play with toy guns. The more varied a child’s play the more resourceful an adult he will turn out be. On the other hand, capability for empathy is developed through close interaction and art hobbies. Music, books, dance, visual arts and other forms of self-expression help one to recognise and control feelings. It would be good to emphasise them more in the sometimes fairly limited boys’ culture. Boys encounter more of certain special developmental challenges than girls, so the book also deals with hyperactivity, behavioural disturbances, narcissistic disorders and gambling addiction. Clinical experience and research information are being supplemented by interviews, monitoring children in various situations and texts written by boys and girls.
In Finland My Life as a Boy has become one of the classics of child psychology and parenting, and it’s sales figure has already exceeded 28 000 copies.