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Boys then were in trouble: five times more likely to have problems at school, and three times more likely to die before the age of 21.His diagnosis of the cause was the retreat of fathers from child-rearing, along with a generalised negativity towards parenting.
Even better, the eminent Australian child psychologist has been touring Britain, advising groups of parents on how to turn boys into men who are communicative, sensible and don't suffer from "kitchen blindness" or "dyslaundria".
Fathers, he says, are boys' security and role models.
Much ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is, he believes, DDD – Dad Deficiency Disorder – because "to become a good man, you have to know good men".
But, far from being gloomy about bringing up well-balanced children, he believes that parenting has vastly improved in recent years, and many children are turning out as satisfactory as his own son and daughter, aged 26 and 19.
"Women are, on the whole, getting it right," he says.Infant girls, for example, have 80 per cent better hearing for sounds in the range of the human voice than boys – a difference that holds into adulthood.