Doesn’t it suck when your trying to discuss your inner most (complex) emotions and the other person: a)stares at you blankly;b) makes an inappropiate joke; c) my personal favourite, changes the subject to something completely random (to be fair this is a skill in itself) like a youtube video of a cat using a toilet….
In my case the ‘other‘ person has usually been of the male kind ( but not always). It seems that many people struggle to express and discuss emotions. Infact they sometimes struggle to even pinpoint the emotion they are feeling.
How not to emotionally scar your child?
What can you do to raise emotionally stable son?
The more I googled ( I know I have a problem) the more I freaked out.. If you look at the suicide stats for the UK you will see that boys and men are more likely to commit suicide. Worrying stuff!
So through some research and general guessing we have started to muddle through a thing called Gentle Parenting. In the hope that Little Man will not grow up to be emotionless brick wall or at least grow up to be a brick wall that talks back. Here are some of our ideas:
Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley (Picture book)
I love books. I love children’s books even more. I stumbled across this somewhere along my many (especially since Little Man has arrived) google sessions. So simple. It has some of the more stereotypical boyhood idols like superheros, wrestlers and cowboys. But the difference is each page shows them expressing an emotion. It is simple but so effective. I have tried to read it to Little Man but apparently I was pitching it a bit high ( he just gnawed at the front cover).
Words are Powerful!
The amount of times I catch myself (nevermind everyone else) saying things like naughty/silly boy. But the thing is these phrases are not helpful or encouraging. I mean how can a six month old be silly? Children are children. They are learning, investigating and exploring emotions. Lets try and not to undermind that. Silly me 😉 . I have already written about my personal opinion on ‘naughty babies‘ click to read my rant.
All Emotions Allowed
When Little Man screams and I mean proper screams. The kind of cry where he has real tears and is coughing like crazy (only really happens in the car, bloody carseat). I find myself begging him not to cry. And boy do I hate it when he does and I feel so helpless. But we should allow our children to express all kinds of emotions. Even if it is hard for us or it is super bad timing (like on a tram during the morning rush!). When we allow their emotions we show that we value how they are feeling.
Wild At Heart By John Eldredge
This is an eye opening book on God’s vision for boys and men. A great read for a christian outlook.
Active Listening and Problem Solving
This was inspired by an article in Juno Magazine. Sarah Emerson an expert of all things on children’s wellbeing wrote a beautiful piece. She discuss the importance of particularly listening to a child during conflict or emotional distressed. Authoritive narrative can limit the oportunity to discuss and reflect on how to approach the situation differently. This does not mean allowing your child to kick people etc but to show them how to express emotions appropriately.
If you are interested in researching further Steve Biddulph has some great insight on raising emotional intelligent boys and girls. http://www.stevebiddulph.com/Site_1/Home.html
This awesome video of men discussing the last time they cried:https://youtu.be/3GZEmGb-MR8
Here is a charity for men’s Mental Health: https://www.thecalmzone.net
These are mainly untested so what do you do to help your boy/children grow up emotionally expressive and stable?