We are living in an age in which there is so much information, that we can no longer deny the direct impact of our actions, especially when it comes to our children. If you look around, it’s extremely obvious that young men are suffering immensely, and much of this suffering is tied to how we are teaching and handling our sons on an emotional level.
First and foremost, just because something is traditional or has been done for generations does not make it right. For ages, parents have beat the crap out of their kids, calling it discipline, and now study after study is showing that corporal punishment is not only ineffective it’s devastating to your child’s well-being. The same goes for various other aspects of parenting. Just because your parents did or didn’t do something, does not make it right.
Part of our responsibility as humans is to look at how we were brought up and how we live objectively, so we can decide if we need to change. More often than not, we are imperfect. It’s okay to be wrong. But don’t sweep your mistakes under the rug and pretend they never happened, learn from them and grow.
I said all of that to say this: we have got to stop treating our young sons like they are emotionally invalid. We’ve got to stop holding our sons to a different standard than we do our daughters. The world today is much different, that is true. But it would be in much better shape if we treated our kids the way we want them to treat the world. Here are 7 things to STOP saying to our sons.
1. Boys don’t cry.
Yes, they do. Boys are not immune to emotion because they are boys. This is so disgusting and I would barter is the reason why so many men struggle with themselves because they were never taught how to handle their emotions. Don’t tell your son, “Boys don’t cry,” instead, help teach them how to soothe themselves and love and support them through difficulty.
2. Stop being a sissy.
I grew up hearing older people say this to boys all of the time. “Why are you being such a girl? Stop it!” And I also watched as all of the young men around me became more emotionally stunted than everyone else. Many of them didn’t even know how to properly love, because they were so afraid to feel anything. Please don’t do this to your son.
3. Boys will be boys.
When you say “Boys will be boys,” you are excusing bad behavior by using your child’s gender. When you say this, you are removing your son’s need to accept responsibility for however he is acting. Boys will be boys is not an excuse for a young man to act violently or in a harsh way towards another person. This is a toxic phrase and it needs to go.
4. You are just like your father.
The thing is, regardless of how you mean this, it isn’t going to do your child any good. Your child is their person. Playing the comparison game by comparing them to their father, their brothers, their friend, or whatever, you are taking away from their own autonomous identity.
5. Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!
Talk about emotional invalidation. Why do we punish young boys for feeling things? When you do this, your point is clear: feeling things are not okay and if you keep expressing emotions, we are going to punish you.
6. Sit still.
Kids have a hard time focusing. There is so much to do, and they are easily overstimulated because their brain I developing. If your child is having a hard time sitting still, give them another way to focus their energy. I’ve always found it odd that we punish kids or diagnose them with mental illness for having energy and not being able to focus all the time. THEY ARE KIDS!
7. Boys don’t do ___________.
Let’s just drop the stereotypes, okay. Boys can do whatever they want to do. They can cook, they can clean, they can nurture they can play with dolls. As a woman, I wish my husband’s mom would have taught him how to do a lot of things instead of telling him that women do this and men do that. These stereotypes are no longer applicable in modern times.