The Fundamentals of MANHOOD

Teaching Your Son the Fundamentals of Manhood with Gregory Koufacos

Young men today are less motivated to create extraordinary lives because they aren’t equipped with the skills to turn their dreams into reality. How can we be relatable parents and instill the fundamentals of manhood so our sons can reach their full potential?

In this episode of the Dad Edge Podcast, we talk with Gregory Koufacos. Greg is the founder and CEO of Velocity Mentoring. He is an addiction professional with almost 15 years of experience. He holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from The New School for Social Research. He is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Nationally Certified Recovery Coach.

Gregory is also the author of the book named “Primal Method” which he will discuss along with the issues between a father and a son. We will also talk about relationships, marriages, and the challenging transition of becoming a man in today’s world.

Don’t tolerate a mediocre relationship. Try to make it the relationship of your dreams.

The Primal Method: A Book for Emerging Men

The general public is starting to recognize what parents, teachers and therapists have known for years: we are losing our young men. Now more than ever, emerging men between 16 and 35 find themselves stuck in limbo between adolescence and adulthood. Addictions, anxieties, egos, and overwhelming expectations leave them trapped in childhood, frustrated with their lives, and feeling forced to cope with drugs, porn, and video games. For too many young men, this vital period has gone from a stage of emergence to a state of emergency.

In The Primal Method, addiction counselor and therapist Gregory Koufacos draws from his extensive background with troubled young men to identify what has gone wrong, why traditional therapy often fails, and how emerging men can break their debilitating cycles. Using vivid examples from his professional career and own life, Koufacos demonstrates the use of the walking cure, Miyagi mentoring, emphatic challenge, and other techniques that harness young men’s primal motivation to live a life of power and purpose.

What You’ll Learn

Gregory’s Childhood


Gregory grew up in New Jersey. He is the eldest of the three brothers, and his father immigrated from Greece in his late 20s which is exciting for Gregory. During summers, Greg and his family would go back to Greece. At an early age, he became exposed t two different cultures, specifically the American and Greek Cultures.


Gregory grew up in an era where there were strong male role models in the community. He would seek those men out like a sponge and just soak in all of their wisdom, their power, and confidence.

Respecting his Father


What led Gregory to the respect he had for his father came from the going to journey of himself becoming a father. He always judged his father and what closed the gap n term of his deep respect for his father was when he decided to stop judging him and just focus on himself. He found that the journey is not easy for any of us.


The job that his father had never excited him. It was a means to an end. His father was very good at his career, and he’s a smart man. He’s a mathematician and physician, but it didn’t set his soul on fire.

A Message to Fathers


Greg recommends to fathers to tell their kids who they are and what sets their soul in fire. Let your kids see who you truly are.

Gregory’s Wife and Kids


When Gregory had his daughter, it opened his heart where he didn’t realize that it was closed. He didn’t think that he could love another human being so selflessly. His kids pushed him to provide a great life, and he is very happy about that.


Gregory and his wife had been married for almost 14 years, and it has been a crucible for intense growth for both of them. They both care and love each other deeply, and fortunately, they are working through that. They have managed to the most important thing to stay and keep going in the direction they need to go.


According to Gregory, don’t settle and tolerate a mediocre relationship. Try to make it the relationship of your dreams. That is our vision as men.

The Choices in a failing relationship


According to Gregory, there are 4 choices in a failing marriage or relationship.

  1. Get a divorce
  2. Stay or stick it out and suffer
  3. Choosing that you are one of the lucky ones that have a good marriage
  4. You take it as your own personal duty and mission to breathe the life of love and joy and happiness into your relationship no matter what

Keeping the Relationship at an Optimal Level


The one thing that has worked for Gregory and his wife’s marriage is they give each other to breathe. If their marriage needs oxygen, they will get it. They would go on couple’s retreats, which really helped them where somebody could guide them in that process.

Reaching Out to Young Men


Gregory believes that his commitment to working through the obstacles and difficulties in staying in the course of his marriage helped him reach down to young men a ask them t work through their own battles.


For Gregory, he knows the same frustrations, fears, and delusions that young men are crippled by, which he is also struggling with, but he’s fighting the good fight. Therefore, he can speak to them with authority and wants the young to fight the good fight because it is worth it. It creates a bond between him and the young men he works with.


Gregory is not coming to young men as an expert who solved everything in his life. He believes he is a few steps ahead and may be able to offer something, and they may be able t offer something to him as well. He says that we are all in this together. He tells young men that the only difference between him and young men is that he is higher up the mountain.


According to Gregory, the only difference between himself and the young men he is working with is the degree of difficulty and the stakes. Fortunately, he has the tools to go on the journey he’s on, and they can get it too. They have to acquire the tools to go on the journey

Being a Relatable Parent


Larry says that when you’re human, that makes you relatable. When you’re relatable, you create psychological safety within people to tell you what’s truly on their minds and heart. When something goes wrong in their life, he doesn’t want his kids to be afraid of him, but instead, when something goes wrong, he wants them to know that they can count on him. You are creating a bond and connection where there is no judgement, only guidance.

Rehabilitation Settings


Gregory works in the field of addiction counseling. He has worked for about six or seven years in different rehabilitation settings. According to him, all the rehabilitation settings have one commonality: they provide a lot of structure. Within that structure, he saw individuals who were capable of making miraculous transformations.


Gregory found out that traditional therapy and approaches that he was trained in were not helping young men. He grew frustrated. With the desire for a real transformation, he decided not to meet in his office anymore and instead, go outside and do something. That decision to leave the office knocked a whole pattern into place, and he started doing things intuitively.

Writing his Book


Gregory made a decision to write about it and figure out what it was that he was doing. That journey lasted about four years and culminated in the book, Primal method. He outlined different tools that he has identified commonly in the work he has done with young men.


Gregory wrote the book to appeal and be read by a young man. He wanted the readers of the book to know that he is offering something of value. And that it should be read by fathers and people that are in the lives of young men.


Gregory believes that that the book can be read by a professional, a parent, or a young man. He hopes that it reaches young men.

The Premise of the Book


The book’s premise is that you are missing the boat by talking to a young man. What will reach this young, emerging male is not talking to them. It’s action and connection.


Gregory says that even if your son is listening to you as you’re telling him the ways of the world, it’s not reaching him at the deeper level because he’s not implementing it. He’s not gaining knowledge through experience. It’s just information that makes sense to him. One of the big premises is instead of talking at your kid, get into action and do something with him. Doing that cultivates a sacred bond, which is achieved by two men sharing an experience.

The Bottom Line


The bottom line is to do things with these young men and make it have stakes on both ends. Let them see you striving as a man who is not perfect. Pick something that they’re better than you, or show them what it’s like for a man to enter an arena where he’s uncomfortable and to do his best or something in that creates a very special bond between men.

Gregory’s message to society


Gregory’s message to society is to stop pumping young men full of lies. Stop telling young men that this is how life works. He wants society to stop lying to them and just tell the truth about life, about themselves to the best of your ability. For him, that’s what he wants. He doesn’t care about how he wants life to be. He wants to know how life is.

Gregory’s Final Advice


Gregory advises to not pick something that puts you on an elevated status. Pick something where the two of you are equal. Let your son see how you go through life when you’re not the expert. We’re not experts. We’re all men on the journey of life. And life is way bigger than all of us. Humble yourself, and show your son how you go through the process of becoming a man.

Gregory Koufacos’s Links




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Transition from Boy to Man

The Transition from Boy to Man

The transition from boy to man is an epic time in the lives of our sons. As fathers, it’s our job to teach them what it means to be a man as they close the chapter on childhood and embark on the next stage of life as an adult.

In recent episodes, I talked about a rite of passage experience I created for my 11-year-old son, Mason. He hiked with me and the Elite Elevation Dad Edge Mastermind to the top of Mount Quandary in Breckenridge Colorado. I also shared the letter I read to him about The Pillars of Manhood when we reached the summit.

Today, Mason is here to share his perspective of what it was like to take on such a tough physical and mental challenge, how he felt among a tribe of men, and the life lessons that he will carry into manhood.

Mason Tells Us:

  • What it was like to start the hike in the dark at 3 a.m.
  • Logistics of pooping and peeing when there is no cover
  • What it felt like to get to the top of the mountain
  • What happened when he told his friends he completed a eleven-and-a-half hour, 14,265 feet hike
  • The pillars of being a young man
  • How Mason uses a practice of gratitude to get over anxiety and depression
  • Modern dating culture in elementary school
  • Thoughts on friendship


Creating a Rite of Passage Experience for Your Son

How to Know if You’ve Been a Good Dad

#DoEpicShit – Sharing Amazing Experiences with Your Kids

Never Give Up No Matter What with Mason Hagner

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Never Give Up No Matter What children's book

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The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Difficult Teenagers with Josh Shipp

If you have preteens or teenagers, this show is for you. Even if your kids are still young, you will need this information to prepare for the future. The teenage years are a critical time for us to bond with our children so that they will be empowered to make the right choices in life.

Josh Shipp, “The Teen Whisperer,” is here to give us a guide to dealing with difficult teens. You don’t miss this invaluable advice!

Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert, and acclaimed speaker. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, he is renowned for his documentary TV series (A&E), that followed his ground-breaking work with teens.

He is the author of the national bestseller “The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult,” and was listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.

Josh’s Childhood

Josh’s mother got pregnant with him at the age of seventeen at a time when teenage pregnancy was taboo, especially in their small town of Oklahoma. After Josh was born, his mother left him as soon as she could.

Josh is not sure if his biological father knew that he had a son or had a choice in what happened to him. The crazy part about his story is that Josh’s mother had also been abandoned by her mother and was raised by an adoptive family. When she vanished, Josh was placed with these adoptive grandparents. They were aging and had health issues, and Josh was then transfered into foster care.

Josh as a little boy was angry and had an enormous chip on his shoulder. He constructed a brick wall of resentment, especially towards adults. His mother, the first adult he knew, broke his trust, and he assumed that every adult would to the same. He felt things happened to him that he had no control over. So, Josh acted out. By causing trouble and forcing his foster parents to kick him out, it gave him a sense of control.

He was so determined, he even gamified it. He created a log. He split-tested and fine-tuned his strategies. By the age of ten, he was a pro–an expert at pushing people away. Along the way, he was physically and sexually abused, bullied, and suicidal. This added to his misery.

At fourteen, Josh moved in with Rodney, a narcoleptic middle school teacher and coach. Josh thought the guy would be easy to push to the limits and unleashed his worst antics, but three years later, he was still in Rodney’s home.

One day, Josh went to jail for writing bad checks. He begged Rodney to come bail him out. Rodney agreed, but not till the next day. Josh had to spend and entire night in jail. In that moment, Josh was furious. He hated Rodney.

Rodney bailed him out the next morning as he promised. When they got home, he and his wife sat Josh down. Josh thought he’d finally get kicked out and prepared for the spiel, but Rodney said, “You can keep screwing up and keep trying to get us to kick you out, but you gotta get it through your head. We don’t see you as a problem, we see you as an opportunity.”

At first, Josh thinks it’s cheesy coach talk, but then he thought of all the times Rodney could’ve walked away, and didn’t. The wall came down. The toughness of Rodney letting him sit in jail, and the tenderness of the faith Rodney had that he could be more than what he was that led Josh to the moment that would change his life. He now uses his experience with Rodney to inform his way of helping all difficult teenagers.

Every kid is one caring adult away from a success story.

Dealing with Difficult Teens

When your kids are small, you are the master of being in control of them. But when they become a teenager, the strategies which had been incredibly effective and helpful no longer work.

At this point, Josh says you have to shift from being an “air traffic controller dad” to more of a “coach dad.” Teenagers will do what they want to do. You can’t control them anymore, but you can influence them.

The pre-game, post-game, and during the game.

If you approach your teen as his or her coach, you need to establish a plan to prepare them for the situations they will encounter.

  • Pre-game – Practice dealing with inevitable challenges. If your kid has a bully or has trouble speaking up for himself, walk him through it at home. Arm kids with a practical thing to say. Act out a dialogue and rehearse it over and over again.
  • Post-game – Review what happened. Go over the outcomes. Identify what went well and celebrate it. Identify what didn’t go well and plan to practice more.
  • During the game – You have little control once your teen is out there on his or her own. Scary things that keep every parent up at night happen when the parent isn’t there – getting in the car with a drunk person, trying a new drug, getting into trouble with the police. That’s why you must prepare them to make wise and critical decisions on their own.

How to Have Those Awkward Conversations

Inevitably, as a dad, you will have to broach difficult subjects with your teen. Josh says, the best way to get started is to name the elephant in the room. Then tell your kid exactly how long you plan to discuss the subject. This gives him a sense of control and relief that they know you won’t give them a never-ending lecture.

Josh offers a different approach for sons or daughters.

  • Talking to your teenage son – The perfect place to have a discussion with your son is during a car ride. Males take face-to-face communication as a threat, so being in the car and looking at the road will keep the feelings more neutral.
  • Talking to your teenage daughter – On the other hand, females feel more comfortable and trusting in a heart-to-heart talk. Sit down with a juice or coffee and talk to them face-to-face.

Josh Shipp’s Ultimate Dad Wisdom

Above all, Josh recommends consistent encouragement and consistent consequences, the tough and tender balance. Fold that into your day-to-day practice. Josh is so committed to this, he sets up an iPhone calendar alert to remind him to speak a specific word of encouragement to each child. Do what you have to do. Even if you feel the kid in your life is beyond your reach and the relationship is incredibly strained, know that your influence and presence in their life makes a difference.

Consistent encouragement and consistent consequences.


MENTIONED EPISODE: The Unexpected Secrets of Men, Women, and Sex with Nell Gibbon Daly


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Josh Shipp




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