Behavior towards a child is always tricky. A child may not understand an elder’s behavior but the child can be greatly affected by it. There are many things a person remembers from their childhood. One bad incident might scar the child forever.
There are many phrases passed on to one generation from another. These might be stereotypical and may pressurize the kids. So, the adults shall be careful with their talks and behavior with kids and in front of them.
Psychologist Michael C. Reichert, Ph.D., published the book “How to raise a boy: the power of connection to build Good Men” in 2019. In his book, he warned parents against the use of the phrase “man up” when speaking to young boys.
He wrote that even with the best of intentions, parents become preoccupied with teaching their young boys lessons about being men. These lessons often oversee their qualities and uniqueness, and they end up forcing their son into traditional boxes.
He gave his opinion that most of the boys are taught to keep their feelings hidden. For young men, this results in losing a touch with them and creates a struggle to be emotionally present. This further affects their academic performance, relationships, and mental health.
He feels that the society should understand the pressures it puts on boys. From a young age, they are told to be brave, never cry, and never play with girlish toys like dolls. He offered in his book, several ways for the parents to be emotionally available for their young boys and help them develop a strong personality. This will help them to be able to share their feelings in a non-judgmental way and fosters emotional independence.
“Man up” issue got highlighted last year when the U.K. foreign secretary used this phrase. Michael Conroy, a volunteer at the organization Men at Work expressed his disappointment to the BBC.
Conroy said, “Today, tomorrow and the day after, I’ll be talking to young men about how phrases like ‘man up’ are harmful and asking them what they think about it. There’s a real push, it seems at the moment, about male mental health, about acknowledging vulnerability, but then we just keep coming back to these high-profile voices using careless phrases.”
Various studies and researches held show that forcing young boys to be ‘manly’ doesn’t help anyone. According to a study held in 2018, the YouGov survey of young men in the U.K. found that 61% of the males felt that they were pressurized to ‘man up’. While 67% of people from the age group 18-24, said they were compelled to behave in a masculine manner in a tough situation. 55% of the people said that they would feel less of a man if they cried in front of other people.
Christopher Muwanguzi, CEO of Working with Men, the charity who commissioned the survey said, “Men are often expected to man up when faced with challenges, even when tackling serious mental health issues or complex problems. This means that many of them will not ask for help early enough, reinforcing the tradition of men asking for help when it’s often too late.”
We think that it’s about time we break the stereotype and let the young feel free with their emotions.