There are very few things that are as frustrating as dealing with an adult man who can’t express themselves. The worst part is, their inability to express their emotions is not solely their doing.
It is no secret that we live in a patriarchal society, and it can harm men just as much as it hurts women. Since their early development stages, young boys learn behaviors that reflect the toxic masculinity of society.
Fortunately, more people are becoming open to dismantling toxic masculinity, which starts when they’re young. Read more to see how to teach boys to feel and express their emotions instead of adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Where It All Begins
We often hear parents, teachers, and other authoritative figures tell boys not to cry or act like a girl. This messaging teaches young boys that their emotions are not valid and should not be expressed to the world.
As boys grow up, they reinforce this message into their lives and pick up unhealthy coping methods. Psychotherapists present that the struggle to process feelings directly links to anxiety and depression in some men.
Grown men often have to spend time unlearning negative coping techniques that manifest from blocking emotions. Although unlearning makes relationships and mental health better, it’s better to prevent it altogether.
The Importance Of Social Emotional Learning
Now that we know how badly restricting boys from expressing emotions can be, we can find ways to fix it. Parents send children to school to gain academic intelligence, but they also need to teach them emotional intelligence.
Social-Emotional Learning teaches children skills like self-discipline, managing emotions, and making decisions. Children who practice these techniques may perform better at school and in relationships.
Parents can practice SEL techniques at home easily as long as they have the five critical skills locked down. The skills include self-awareness, self-management, decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills.
Practicing these five critical skills at home will put your child in a position to be more well-rounded. They’ll understand their emotions, others around them, how to deal with challenges, and that actions have consequences.
Other Ways To Get Involved As A Parent
Processing and understanding your emotions can be a difficult task, even as an adult. Understanding your feelings needs constant work, engagement, and strategies, no matter how emotionally aware you are.
As a result, parents need to practice engaging with their children’s emotions very often to help them develop. Talk to your children about feelings so they can gain a vocabulary to help them express their feelings.
Charts are great ways to help children identify what they’re feeling, allowing parents to discuss further. It’s also important to teach healthy coping strategies like encouraging them to go somewhere quiet when feeling sad.
When your child expresses their emotions appropriately, positively reinforce their action, so they continue. You should also try to name various feelings with your children and use examples to teach them empathy.