Supporting Boys to Embrace Diverse Emotions

February 09, 2019

Quote of the Week

"We need to stop raising boys to think that they need to prove their masculinity by being controlling or by not showing emotion or by not being little girls." --Gloria Steinem

Why We Should Help Boys Embrace All Their Feelings

"If having lots of different emotions is good for our health as adults, then shouldn't we be fostering the experience of a diverse range of emotions in young children, as well? And yet the research suggests we are not fostering emotional diversity from a young age, especially when it comes to raising young boys.

Regardless of whether gender differences in adult behavior arise from conscious or unconscious psychological processes, one thing is clear: Boys grow up in a world inhabited by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are noticed, inferred, and potentially even cultivated. This leaves other emotions—particularly the more vulnerable emotions—sorely ignored or missing in their growing minds." Read more in this week's article from Greater Good Magazine, about why we need to help boys embrace all of their feelings.

Reading Corner

Title: The Way I Feel
By: Janan Cain
Stages: 2-8 yrs.

"When my eldest daughter was 3-years-old, I got this book to support her through a difficult transition at a new nursery when she was struggling to express her emotions to me or any other grown-ups and was behaving in ways that were very out of character for her.  This colourful book with simple and detailed descriptions of different emotions we feel offers a wonderful context for children to understand when and why they may experience certain emotions.  It encourages them to welcome all emotions that arise and to learn how to identify them so that they can process what they are feeling and work through it.  As a parent, this book reminded me to name specific emotions my children are experiencing so that we can talk about them instead of them feeling afraid of them." -- Trishna Shah (Kindful Kids community mum of an 8 and 5-year-old)

Be the Change

This week try out one of the tips from either this blog or try one of these suggestions for getting your child to explore talking about his or her emotions.  Another fun activity with older kids would be to watch the movie "Inside Out" which animates the emotions inside a young girl's mind, and holds lots of scope for family discussion about the role of emotions.  Read more about the film if you haven't seen it.  You might also want to read and reflect on this article by Kozo Hattori on what makes a compassionate man. If you have any practical tips on how to get kids talking about their "big feelings", please do share them with the community here.