Breaking the Boy Code

The Boy Code. The Man Box. Whatever you want to call it, our boys are constrained by a largely unspoken set of expectations that exert pressure on them to behave and act in certain ways.

Jonathon Reed helps boys — and others — understand and question these expectations. His podcast, Breaking the Boy Code, features real boys talking about their real, lived experiences. Reed adds the voices and insights of experts to each episode, and it’s impossible to listen to even one episode and not be moved by the plight of boys and men. It’s impossible to listen and not learn something.

Jonathon Reed & friend
Jonathon Reed, creator of Breaking the Boy Code podcast, & friend

While many people talk about boys, Jonathon talks with boys. He gives them a safe space to explore their thoughts and experiences of masculinity, and he gives them a venue to share their insights with others.

For instance, after reports of sexual assault and hazing at St. Michael’s College in Toronto made international news, Jonathan asked boys about their experience. Was the episode at St. Michael’s an aberration, or something boys commonly experience? Why does hazing persist? How does it affect boys?

The resulting episode, In That Moment You’re Scared: Boys & Hazing, is a must-listen. Seriously: if you are raising boys, teaching boys or coaching boys, you need to go listen to it. Right now.

(We’ll wait.)

As a child, Jonathon says, “I got told everyday, ‘The way you’re being a boy is not okay.'” Today, he helps boys understand that it’s perfectly okay to be themselves.

In this episode, Janet, Jen & Jonathon discuss:
  • Hazing
  • Building relationships with boys
  • The Boy Code
  • How to help boys handle social stereotypes and peer pressure
  • Why you need to know what’s going on in your son’s life
  • How to talk to boys about social expectations — & how to support them when they want to step beyond the norm
  • The search for safety
  • How boys’ experience & express emotion
  • How to equip boys to handle spaces with no supervision (such as locker rooms)
  • Why you shouldn’t take your boy’s moods personally
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Breaking the Boy Code podcast

In That Moment You’re Scared: Boys & Hazing — Episode 1 of Breaking the Boy Code

Cracking the Boy Code: How to Understand and Talk with Boys, by Adam Cox — book mentioned at 24:21

Next Gen Men — a Canadian-based nonprofit organization engaging, educating, and empowering men and boys around gender in schools, communities, and workplaces

Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood, by William Pollack — the first book by the author mentioned at 14:50