According to recent research, boys in our country are “fragile.” When compared to girls, boys generally show much higher tendencies to struggle with issues such as learning disorders, failure to finish high school, obesity, violence, stuttering, gambling and video game fixations, hyperactivity, and poor school performance—especially reading and writing skills.

One recent survey found that among high school seniors, 67% of girls planned to attend a 4-year college after graduation, compared to 55% among boys. On college campuses, about 60% of all undergraduate students are women.

What causes this? Surely it’s a combination of complex factors. Some believe that, in our culture’s admirable efforts to improve opportunities for girls in the past few decades, we have forgotten the needs of boys. Some say it’s simply bad parenting. Some blame violence in entertainment. Some say that schools are underfunded and unprepared to address the challenges that boys face. The shortage of strong male role models can certainly be included in this list.

A publication titled “The Status of Men in New Hampshire” detailed many of these disturbing trends and offered some recommendations, including many that draw attention to the need for effective father figures such as grandfathers. So keep these in mind as you’re seeking to invest in your grandson:

ACTION POINTS

∙Help your grandson develop his investigative abilities by asking him questions about everyday things: the moon, trees, cars, etc. Offer your help in finding the answers, if he needs it.

∙Help him think through the long-range consequences of unwise choices like drugs, premarital sex, crime, etc.

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∙Talk with other significant adults about your grandson’s development and what specific areas you could help him address during the next six to twelve months.

∙Make sure you’re nurturing your grandson’s interests in more “right-brained” pursuits like art, music and creative writing.