Thursday, May 5, 2016

Love That Boy

Ron Fournier's book Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About A Parent's Expectations first caught my eye because of the picture of a young boy standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  

Initially I was most focused on the road trips to presidential libraries that Fournier and his son took together.  But, although I enjoyed that portion of the book, there is so much more to Love That Boy than that.

Fournier's career as a journalist took him to the White House and he was often away from home leaving his wife to take care of parenting and other day to day tasks.  His son, Tyler, the youngest of their three children was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was twelve. Within a few years Fournier's job was slightly less demanding and he and Tyler embark on trips together.  This allows them to get to know each other better and help Tyler develop some social skills. 

While Fournier recounts the road trips the two took at the beginning of each chapter, he then focuses on various aspects of parenting and the expectations parent have by sharing some of his own experiences and those of friends.

I found myself nodding my head to nearly everything Fournier addresses. The issues of wanting your child to be popular, of wanting your child to be the best athlete on the team, of believing your child is gifted....these are things that most parents have felt or can relate to.  

Fournier's son's Asperger's diagnosis changes the way he thinks about parenting and the expectations he puts on Tyler and his older daughters.  He refers often to Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon, which addresses what things parents should accept about their children and how they can help them become their best selves (this book is still sitting on my TBR, by the way).  

His ability to write about his relationship with his children  and experiences as a parents provides plenty of food for thought to anyone who reads Love That Boy.  

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