There is an opinion that boys should be brought up differently than girls. They are not allowed to show feelings and be creative. And courage and cruelty, on the contrary, are often encouraged. We talked with a psychotherapist and mother of two sons, Maria Skryabina, about what is wrong with “male” education and what phrases you should not say to your sons. On October 22, at the SelfMama Forum, you can listen to Maria’s speech on the topic “Why is it so psychologically difficult for me in motherhood?”

Maria Scriabina

Psychotherapist, assistant of the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the Russian National Research Medical University, co-founder of the Femosofia project, speaker of the SelfMama Forum.

Men do not cry! Enough nurse to dissolve!

From the point of view of science, emotions have no sexual characteristics. In response to a particular stimulus, the body can respond with a stress response. The adrenal glands of both boys and girls begin to produce special hormones – cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine. Tears are a natural biological way to remove excess of these hormones from the body. If a stressed person cries, this is normal.

People are more and less sensitive. But this, again, does not depend on gender, but on the neuropsychological constitution. The more sensitive neurons, the faster and brighter emotions appear. This is an innate feature of the body, which must be taken into account. Forbidding a child to cry is not only pointless, but also harmful. Such a message tells the boy that something is wrong with him. That his feelings are wrong.

What is the best way for parents to act?

No need to try to “turn off” the tears. It is better to help the boy accept and live his emotions. You can say:

  • It’s okay that you’re sad.

  • I can see that you are upset.

  • It’s normal that sometimes we worry.

  • I understand you.

To raise a son strong and resilient, you need to let him know that he will cope with difficulties. And help find a solution.

You’re acting like a girl!

A small child behaves spontaneously and freely. He experiments, learns the world and himself. Gender stereotypes should not hold him down. There is no “for girls” and “for boys” behavior. And there is no need to oppose children of different sexes. There are calm, domestic, soft boys and naughty impulsive girls. This is fine.

The phrase “You act like a girl” is usually used by parents when they are unhappy with the behavior of their child. She signals to the boy that he is doing something wrong. But it doesn’t help solve the problem. And does not teach new strategies of behavior.

What is the best way for parents to act?

Try to be a mentor, not a critic. It is important to ask yourself what the problem is and how to help the child. For example, if a quiet and modest boy is hampered by shyness, you need to support the child and work out new behavior strategies together. Advise how to proceed. Encourage desired action. But don’t label. They not only do not solve problems, but also significantly hit the child’s self-esteem.

Pink is a girly color

From the point of view of science, color does not affect masculinity or femininity. The idea that pink is only for girls is a stereotypical social construct.

For a child, the choice of color is freedom. The opportunity to express your individuality. If parents allow the child to make their own decisions and support his choice, this gives the child self-confidence. The boy learns not to be led, to boldly express his opinion, to express himself and his position.

What is the best way for parents to act?

Respect the boy’s choice and encourage him to be independent within safe boundaries. To support the boy, you can say:

  • I know it’s your favorite color.

  • It’s great that you yourself chose such an interesting thing.

  • I’m glad you choose something yourself.

Boys don’t play with dolls!

Do not divide toys into “boyish” and “girlish”. Playing with dolls is useful for all children, regardless of gender. It helps to simulate life situations, try different scenarios and strategies of behavior. As a result, the child develops very important qualities: the ability to empathize, compassion, empathy and care.

Playing with dolls helps build communication skills. They are an important element of soft skills – “soft” skills that help to achieve success both in your career and in your personal life.

What is the best way for parents to act?

Try not to worry. Do not limit the development of the child by gender stereotypes. And encourage his interest in any toys, regardless of gender.

Don’t let yourself be offended! The boy must be able to hit back!

The ability not to let yourself be offended is very useful. Another question is that you can protect your borders in different ways. The child often does not have enough life experience to use different strategies of behavior. Also, he has not developed the ability to assess the motives of the enemy, his capabilities and the consequences of his actions.

Offering a strategy of force from the numerous options for resolving conflicts, the parent limits the child. Doesn’t teach him new things. And puts at risk: the enemy may be stronger.

What is the best way for parents to act?

It is important to show your child different conflict resolution strategies. Learn to analyze the situation, assess risks and make informed decisions. To do this, you need to be there, to offer your help. You can say:

  • If you are offended, if someone offends you, tell me.

  • Together we will figure out how to be.

  • I will help you find a way out.

  • I won’t scold you, I’m on your side.

  • Together we’ll make it.

Don’t be afraid! Be a man!

Being afraid is okay. Fear protects people from rash acts. It is an ancient survival mechanism that has taught us to fear poisonous snakes and insects, darkness and heights.

All phobias have powerful historical origins. You can’t just take and undo evolution. It is unfair to scold a boy for being afraid to sleep in a dark room or play on an insect-infested lawn.

What is the best way for parents to act?

Do not shame or scold the child for fears. Better offer help. Together we can come up with a strategy that will help to cope with fear. You can say:

  • You’re scared. This is fine.

  • We are all afraid sometimes.

  • Let me help you.

  • Let’s figure out how to deal with this.

Strategies for dealing with fear can be different. Sometimes it is enough to buy a night light for the nursery, in other cases you need to work with a psychologist. In any case, the task of a parent is not to shame, but to support.

Solve your own problems! Complain and whine only weaklings!

In response to such phrases, children become ashamed of their weakness, vulnerability, and failure. The child begins to be afraid to come for help to the closest people – parents. As a result, parents find out about problems by chance, when it is already difficult or even impossible to help.

Parents worry about their children, wish them to find their place in life. For example, they want to raise their sons strong and independent. But it doesn’t work that way. The job of a parent is to share their wisdom and experience. Gradually expand the area of ​​responsibility of the child, offering him tasks according to age and strength.

What is the best way for parents to act?

Repeat to your child as often as possible that you will help in any situation. For example, you can say this:

  • Whatever happens, come to me. I will listen and help.

  • Even if I disagree with something, I will support you.

  • Asking for help is fine.

  • We are together to help each other.

Self-reliance can be developed by offering choices. Dress yourself for kindergarten. Choose a dish for breakfast. Keep order in your room. Manage your own pocket money.