This morning while having my usual cuppa tea, flicking through Facebook. I came across a video titled ‘boys don’t cry‘.
The video was about a variety of young boys crying in different situations such as their mum leaving to go to work, falling over and a boy at his first day at school. In each clip the adult asked the young boy ‘why are you crying?’ ‘You’re a boy’, ‘boys don’t cry’ ‘stop crying, you’re not a girl!’
boys don’t cry
This got me thinking…
Why is there so much stigma on ‘boys don’t cry‘ or aren’t allowed to cry?
Being a Mum to 5 boys, I certainly know this ISN’T the case. Boys DO cry! In fact boys can give girls a run for the money in the crying stakes. I hate the stigma linked to boys and masculinity and being an Alpha male. That they are being pressured to be tough and strong both physically and emotionally. To be resilient to feelings of sadness or hurt. We all know the typical stigma of what a boy ‘should be’, the whole stiff upper lip, don’t care and tough attitude, pride of being the best’. To be fair, that’s a lot to live up to, of others expectations of what they think you ‘should’ be.
Why try to make them into something they potentially might not be?
From a young age, I have always told my boys that if they’re feeling negative, upset, sad or angry that they should to come and talk about it. I encourage my boys to cry, shout, scream etc.
To show their emotions.
That just because they’re a ‘boy‘ doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to cry or express their feelings. I encourage them to not keep in their feelings. That there is no shame in showing or talking about your feelings. That they should be proud of who they are and the only expectations they need to live up to is their own.
When my boys cry I don’t turn around and tell them ‘Stop crying!‘, this is a demand. They’re already feeling a negative emotion so why make them feel threatened by a demand? I say ‘You sound very upset/sad/frustrated, do you want to tell me about it? I might be able to help you’ This way I am showing them that I have acknowledged their feelings and giving them the option to talk about whatever is bothering them. That also, they aren’t alone and that you’re there to help and support them.
Encourage boys to Speak Out
The campaign urges boys to speak out about their problems and reassures them they’re not alone.
- Recent figures show 1,934 Childline counselling sessions were delivered with boys in 2015/16 compared to 11,463 with girls (In 2015/16 Childline carried out 19,481 counselling sessions about suicidal thoughts and feelings. In 2015/16 11,463 counselling sessions were held with girls and 1,934 with boys, a ratio of 6:1. Gender was unknown in 6,084 counselling sessions.)
- the suicide rate for boys aged 10-19 was more than double that for girls in 2015 (Office for National Statistics (2016) Suicides in the UK: 2015 registrations: In 2015, the suicide rate for boys age 10-19 was higher than the rate for girls in the same age group at 4.4 – almost 2.5 times that of the girls rate at 1.8.)
This video is amazing and it gets the message across!
As a sufferer of depression myself in the past, having one of my cousins commit suicide and watching my mum suffer from depression all my life; it makes it more important to me to encourage people to talk about their thoughts and feelings!!! I feel we all need to get away from this stigma of depression and talking about our feelings making you less of a person or weak. In fact it makes you stronger to know yourself and your triggers and to go and get help!!! Plus people need to listen and know the signs of depression. Take time to listen to someone, it might ease the load that tiny bit making their day more bearable to make it through until bedtime at least! ❤️
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