The Art of Nurturing Boys :: David Thomas {Ep 119}

May 9, 2016

I’m not a boy. Yet I’m raising four of them to be men.

And as much as culture tries to tell us there aren’t differences between boys and girls. My every day experience begs to differ. I truly don’t understand the “why” behind most of my boys’ choices. And it never benefits me to ask.

This week (for my own help and maybe yours too) I’ve invited David Thomas on the show. As a family therapist and director at DayStar Counseling Center in Nashville, David has lots of experience counseling families and children. Having his own set of twin boys has provided a lot of education as well.


The first book I ever read that gave me a glimpse into the mind of a boy is David’s book “Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys”**.  Then I heard him speak at a DotMom event and I’ve always wanted to have him on the show.

Our conversation did not disappoint. David’s genteel manner and calm approach gave me such peace. Afterwards I felt encouraged and equipped to not only “handle” my boys but enjoy their uniqueness.

David answered a slew of questions I received on Facebook from listeners. But a theme emerged in each topic we covered: outlets and boundaries. David would point out a need boys have and how we as moms could provide a proper outlet for that need. But he also gave great instruction on how to train on boys in regulation, by setting boundaries on where and when those needs can be met.

If you are a boymom, get ready to be set free from a lot of guilt over “why your boy does that”. And given some practical ideas to help create places and times in your family’s schedule to let “boys be boys” but not allow that phrase to be an excuse for unkind or inappropriate behavior.

If you’re not a boymom, I hope this will still be an entertaining episode to help you understand your husband, nephews, friend’s son. And stay tuned because I’m working with David’s partner Sissy Goff to record a “Raising Girls” episode this fall. (Of course, feel free to share this episode with any boymom friends you have. . .they will thank you!).

Connect with David:


What we chat about:

  • When and how to let boys rough-house/wrestle
  • How “Stage One boys” (ages 1 to 4 years old) express love with aggression.
  • Providing an outlet and training regulation and respect.
  • How to help our boys who feels things deeply (the ones often labeled as ‘sensitive’).
  • Giving boys ways to process emotions with space and physical outlets.
  • Helping boys hear our directions and respond to us.
  • Taking advantage of how boys are hardwired visually.
  • How to handle when boys talking about private parts, farting, etc.
  • 4 & 14 year old boys and their testosterone surges.

Links Mentioned:

**Amazon affiliate link

How to listen to the podcast:

1.Listen on the blog. Click through to and click the play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch β€“ There are a lot of great podcasting apps. Apple has a free one (that I mentioned) in the app store, there is also one called Downcast. It allows you to search for shows, subscribe to them and even speed up the audio. If you don’t have an iDevice, you can listen via Stitcher.

3. Subscribe to the Podcast β€“ access the podcast in iTunes (Click here to access via iTunes). You can also search for it on your smartphone app (like the ones listed above) and subscribe.


  1. Amy

    Thank you so much for these insights! I am a mom to 3 little boys ages 5 to 5 months, and they were all born after we had 3 girls! i thought I had the whole mom thing figured out (LOL) until the boys came along, and David’s book Wild Things really helped me out of the woods when our first boy was 2. Now he is a super active/aggressive 5 year old who often feels misunderstood by me and his sisters. I listened to this episode with my oldest daughter, who is ten, and we both agreed it helped us understand him and our 2 year old boy SO MUCH BETTER. Thank you! We plan to listen to it at least ten more times with my husband and make lots of visual cues around the house for the boys!

  2. LeeAnn Taylor

    This is so helpful! My little guy just turned 4 last week and I can already see he’s entering into a new stage that’s so different from what I’ve experienced so far with my 7 year old girl. Shared in my Parenting with Purpose FB group too! πŸ™‚

  3. Meaghan

    Oh this podcast is one I will be listening to over and over again. So much excellent information that is so helpful for me. I have three boys and don’t always feel like I’m doing it right. I shared this with my blog readers.

  4. Jen Hanson

    This was so incredibly helpful!!! I have four-year-old twin boys and a two-year-old boy, and could relate to every moment of the podcast. The 4yo twins are definitely having their “testosterone surge” right now! Hahaha! I love the practical advice in here.

    A mom of all girls who was pregnant with her first boy asked me what my best “boy mom” advice was. Without hesitation I answered, “They need to run. Like…. EVERY. DAY.” πŸ˜‰

    I’m definitely saving this podcast, sharing it, and listening to the again. SO HELPFUL!

  5. Emily Jensen

    I just found you on Facebook through a friend – we have 4 boys under 4 and this was soooo helpful. I shared it too! Thanks for discussing this.

  6. Kay

    I am hearing a lot about allowing a boy time with other males like father, brother, uncle, etc as safe people to be aggressive with like wrestling but what about the single moms with no males in the family that her son can bond with. There are a lot of women raising boys alone.

    • Marie

      I’d suggest finding a good friend! Someone whom you can get to know, who maybe parents in the same style and wouldn’t mind her son being rowdy with yours…? I feel like I can often slip into the rowdy/laughing at farts role too. The boys love it when I do.

  7. Hanni

    Thank you so much! This episode was invaluable for me. My little guy turns 4 in a few weeks and this episode helped me see some changes I need to make. I’m going to tell everyone I know about this episode. I’m so excited to hear the girl one this fall.

  8. Marie

    I’ve been listening to your podcast for while now and have recently been wondering what I’ve been doing wrong with my second boy (we have 3!) who is currently FOUR and then God dropped your podcast in my lap and spoke Truth into my life. You make me a God centered mom. Thank you Heather!!!

  9. Meghan

    This was a great episode and so thankful for you and your ministry. My son is 3 and now I’m feeling better prepared for the four year old spurt and how to redirect the extreme amounts of energy he has. Thanks so much.

  10. Amy

    This was outstanding!! We adopted an 8 year old boy two years ago after having 2 bio girls to say we have been baptized into boyhood is an understatement. This was SO helpful in so many ways. Thank you both!!

  11. Samantha

    Oh my goodness! This was such a good one. So much insight and so many practical tips. As a mom of a 5yo boy with an older sister who does not share his affinity for all things ninja-related, this was very helpful. Thanks for a great podcast as always!

  12. Megan

    Oh, this was a PERFECT and an encouraging podcast for this (tired, worn out) mama of 3 boys. Mine are 5,4 and 5 months and I’ve always tried to be an active ‘boy mom’ but this podcast just shed so much light for everything. THANK YOU!

  13. Christina Bradford

    Inquiring minds are wondering when the Raising Girls episode will be released?

  14. Bethany

    Thank you for tackling what can be such an intense subject. We are expecting our 1st child, a boy, in February & this podcast empowered me to feel that I can do this ‘boy mom’ thing! Definitely sharing!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      yay!!! congratulations on your first baby boy! What a blessing!! So thankful it was an encouragement to you. πŸ˜‰

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