Experts say there’s a growing trend of young men flunking out of school, avoiding responsibility and struggling socially. Just how many of today's boys are becoming unproductive adults, and is there a way to stop this cycle? Dr. Phil is joined by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, an internationally-recognized psychologist, educator, scholar and researcher who co-authored the book, The Demise of Guys, which explores the reasons why many young men are struggling academically and socially in today's society.

The Role of the Father

According to Dr. Zimbardo, one key factor in why boys are failing is the role that a father plays in a young man’s life. Lori says that may be the case with her 16-year-old son, Levi, whose bad behavior she blames on her ex-husband, Don.

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“Don mistreats all the kids, but he’s worse with Levi because he feels that he’s weaker.”

Don explains how he sees it. “When I was growing up, respect was everything.”


Don denies being abusive with his kids. Dr. Phil tries to level with him.

Lori pleads with her ex-husband to develop a better relationship with Levi. 


Levi tells his father what he wants, but is Don listening?

Dr. Zimbardo has some strong words for Don. Plus, learn the top factors that may be contributing to your son’s unproductive lifestyle.

Dr. Phil tells Don how his words may be damaging his son, but it’s Don’s response to Levi that shocks everyone.

Dr. Phil implores Don to consider the impact he’s having on his son. He tells Levi to “rise above his raisin',” get an education so he can develop the skills needed for a career and urges him to move on if he can’t get what he needs from his father. “Sometimes, we have to give ourselves what we wish we could get from someone else.” Dr. Phil offers Don and Levi professional help to repair their relationship, and they accept.

Extra Content

  • The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do about It
    by Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan

    The Demise of Guys
    is available now for download for Nook and Kindle platforms on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple's iBookstore and as a new TED book app at Apple’s App Store.
  • See Dr. Zimbardo's TED Talk about today's boys on DemiseOfGuys.com
  • Dr. Zimbardo continues to cultivate not just better guys, but the hero in all of us through his work at The Heroic Imagination Project.