We know God gave us feelings. There is relief in letting ourselves express ourselves. We are told crying cleanses the soul and is like a relief valve for sorrow.
As human beings, no matter what our gender, we all have the same feelings. And sadness is a natural human emotion.
Still, there is a stigma surrounding our tears. This is especially true with boys and men.
We have many phrases that send the message to boys and men that crying is a sign of weakness.
We use expressions like, “It reduced him to tears”. (Why is it reduced? I’d like to think maybe elevated instead).
“He cried like a baby,” is derogatory.
“Man up,” is a damaging expression designed to negate real hurts.
“Walk it off,” is dismissive.
Pressuring our boys to limit their emotional experiences hurts their emotional development. This impairs their capacity to be competent, caring men.
Encourage your children to express their feelings. You can model this by not only talking about your own feelings but by expressing a full range of emotions so they can see you embrace and regulate your own feelings. Children need this kind of modeling. When you cry without feeling ashamed, it shows them it’s a normal part of being human and best of all, serves to remove the stigma of outdated mandates.