Raising Boys to Be Good Men: A Parent’s Guide to Bringing up Happy Sons in a World Filled with Toxic Masculinity by Aaron Gouveia

“If you are the parent of a boy . . . this is the book you need . . . insightful, enlightened, practical.”  —Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Boys & Sex

From the dad who created the viral tweet supporting his son wearing nail polish, this essential parenting guide shares 36 parenting tips for battling gender norms, bringing down “man up” culture, and helping sons realize their potential.

Our boys are in a crisis. Toxic masculinity and tough guy-ism are on display daily from our leaders, and we see anger, dysfunction, violence, and depression in young men who are suffocated by harmful social codes. Our young sons are told to stop throwing like a girl. They hear phrases like “man up” when they cry. They are told “boys will be boys” when they behave badly. The “Girl Power” movement has encouraged women to be whoever and do whatever they want, but that sentiment is not often extended to boys. Just watch the bullying when boys try ballet, paint their fingernails, or play with a doll.

But we can treat this problem—and the power lies in the hands of parents. It’s not only possible to raise boys who aren’t emotionally stifled and shoved into stereotypical gender boxes; it’s vital if we want a generation of men who can express their emotions, respect women, and help nurse society back to a halfway healthy place. We can reframe manhood. From Aaron Gouveia, who gained viral fame after tweeting his support for his son’s painted fingernails (and who knows toxic masculinity very well), learn practical and actionable tips such as:

  • Don’t accept different standards for moms and dads
  • Teach boys that “girl” is not an insult and retire phrases like “boys will be boys”
  • Show boys that expressing their emotions and being physical is a good thing
  • Let boys pursue nontraditional interests and hobbies
  • Talk to boys about consent and privilege
  • Model healthy and respectful relationships for boys to emulate

Penned with equal parts humor, biting snark, and lived advice, Raising Boys to Be Good Men is the essential parenting guide for raising sons to realize their potential outside the box. ​


Aaron Gouveia is the author of Raising Boys to Be Good Men and Men and Miscarriage. He’s a former award-winning journalist with bylines in TIME, The Washington Post, Parents Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He has also been featured on the TODAY Show, CNN, Good Morning America, People, Mashable, and USA Today to discuss parenting and politics.

He started the website The Daddy Files in 2008 to promote involved fatherhood, has contributed to a host of online and print publications on the topic of fatherhood, and is a regular speaker at parenting conferences.

His content on topics like gun control and abortion has been seen by millions around the world. When he’s not going to Gillette Stadium as a season ticket holder to fanatically cheer on his New England Patriots, he’s working as the Director of Public Relations for a land conservation and preservation non-profit. Aaron resides in Franklin, Massachusetts with his wife, three sons, beloved dog, and two not-so-beloved cats.

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