The Art of Manliness Podcast #22: Raising Cain with Dr. Michael Thompson

by Brett on May 10, 2010 · 9 comments

in Podcast

Welcome back to another edition of The Art of Manliness Podcast! Statistics show that American boys are in trouble. They’re more likely to have depression, abuse alcohol and drugs, and perform poorly in school. What can we do to help these troubled boys? To get some answers we talk to Dr. Michael Thompson, author of the book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys. Dr. Thompson is a psychologist specializing in boys, and he’s a clinical consultant at The Belmont Hill School, an all boys school in Massachusetts.

Dr. Thompson and I discuss the emotional problems boys face, what dads can do to help boys develop a solid emotional toolkit, and what we can do to help boys perform to their potential in school.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 JR May 11, 2010 at 12:34 am

Great podcast. I really love these things. Keep it up, brother.

2 Playstead May 11, 2010 at 12:50 am

I agree with a lot of the points that Dr. Thompson makes — especially about boys in school. I don’t agree with his points on sports though. While sports should not be ultra-competitive until kids hit 9 or 10, having them learn the value of team work, friendship, fitness and having a hell of a good time is important. I still have friends I played soccer with in elementary school and that was almost 30 years ago.

Good points about how dads should be more open and involved with their kids. Great interview.

3 Tom May 11, 2010 at 2:31 am

Great podcast, quite interesting!
How did you record the telephone-interview?


4 Brent Allsup May 11, 2010 at 11:26 am

Good podcast. I feel the underlying concept is to provide an appropriate amount of “balance” raising children. A combination of traditional manly toughness and providing the tools necessary for kids to develop emotional intelligence.

5 Margie May 11, 2010 at 11:46 am

This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I especially like that he discussed “empathy” and the problems boys are facing in school. Thank you for the great interview.

6 Kris Freeberg May 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

Thanks Brett I’ve ordered the book.

7 robert Glenn May 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I recommend a simple breathing exercise. breathe in for a count of five, hold for a count of five breathe out for a count of five, hold out for a count of five. repeat for a ten count. It’s harder than it sounds, if you can’t do it for a five count start with a four count.

8 Maru May 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm

As Brett points out, masculinity and manliness has changed profoundly even in this country over the centuries. In the 19th century it was acceptable, and even encouraged, for young men to express their feelings through poetry. Abraham Lincoln shared a bed with Joshua Speed for four years, and they remained the closest of friends for the rest of their lives, despite distance and how they changed. If someone from today were to see their interactions, he or she would probably assume that they were a gay couple, despite the fact that both men were married.

Alas, I cannot say why this changed, but I look forward to a return to the ways of the 19th century, when men could express their feelings and when men could be blood brothers with one another.

9 Henry June 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

I bought and read Raising Cain the year my twin sons were born. Since then I have had another son. My boys are nine and seven. I re-read the book every two years and it has helped me tremendously as a reminder of the ups and downs of boyhood.

In general, I agree with most of what Mr. Thompson presents, but even in the ten years since the book was originally written, things have changed in the lives of boys in elementary school. My sons, who go to public school in Alabama, are not experiencing the culture of cruelty; not as I did or as described in the book. Either things have changed, or my sons are fortunate to go to a public school where the culture of cruelty has not manifested itself or is kept in check by the staff.

I would recommend the book to anyone with sons, but certainly not as a single source on how to raise boys – only as one tool among many in the toolbox needed to bring a boy up to the full potentials of true manhood.

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