Month: May 2014

Boys Don’t Cry

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I am the only parent of a boy who will turn 4 years old in just a few weeks.  He is energetic, charismatic, athletic, very respectful and sweet.  Everything you think of when you think ‘little boy’ is him.  He loves Spider-Man and all superheroes.  He loves jumping off of high things and playing in dirt.  He falls and bounces back up as if nothing happens.  His favorite color is red and he loves karate, which he learned from Power Rangers.  He is the little boy that I prayed for.

When picking him up from daycare I was told by his teacher that he did not have a good day.  So, when we got into the car I told him that after dinner there would be no Power Rangers.  His face twisted up and he was about to cry.  I said, “Do not cry.”  He responded with,

“Boys dont cry.”

At the tender age of 3 he has learned that boys don’t cry.  That made me really sad.  I looked into my rearview mirror and told him that boys do cry.  I told him that everyone cries and that it is okay.  When I told him not to cry it wasn’t because he is a boy.  I just don’t like crying or whining when he has done something he wasn’t supposed to be doing.

I have never told him that boys do not cry.  I don’t believe that.  The thing is I cannot pinpoint where he learned that.  Was it at his school?  Maybe from my uncles or brothers or my father?  Maybe from my mother or grandmother or aunts?  See, we (society) start these boys from the time they can walk and tell them that boys don’t cry.  Then we expect them to grow into stable and strong men as if crying or emotions make them weak.  We teach them how to fix cars, play sports, get girls and defend themselves.  Yet we do not teach them how to deal with and handle emotions.

Well, I will say right here, right now that I am going to try with all my might to make sure my son does not grow up that way.  I don’t want him to think that boys don’t cry.  I don’t want him to think that boys don’t like purple or that they only play with trucks.  These are all things that he has said to me and I do not believe that is healthy for him.  At the tender age of almost 4 these are ideas that were taught to him.  And I do not like it.

I also do not want him to believe that if another boy doesn’t subscribe to these strict notions of what a boy does that he can mock or bully him.  I do not want him to associate emotion with weakness.  With women.  I mean, that does not cultivate a healthy thought of girls and women.  I just find so much of this problematic.

Every time he tells me that “Boys don’t…” I plan on reminding him that he can.  If he wants to.