Recently I have taken to reading articles about raising a son. I particularly like the Good Men Project, if you have sons I suggest following them on twitter or fb.
Perhaps because of B’s childhood/mental health issues these stories and articles really have my interest. So many of them talk about how we raise boys to be tough and callous, avoid their emotions for fear of ridicule, encourage them to “manly” in all sorts of ways. I grew up with a father that is a good example of this – work hard for your family and provide financially, leave the parenting/loving to their mother.
I read a statistic about the number of times a male child is touched versus a female child and while I can’t remember the specifics, the idea is that male infants, toddlers, children etc… are held, hugged and kissed significantly less a female. So think about men in adulthood. How often to we see men hugging each other? Perhaps at a funeral, maybe occasionally as a greeting to one another but it is not common place.
I am a hugger and a snuggler. L, even at two, is a snuggler which I love. I know some children just aren’t that way but it would break my heart if in five or ten years he all of a sudden changed that. I’m sure teenage years will likely contain less affection but I don’t want it to be that way. I often find it easier to have a meaningful conversation with B when we are snuggled up together. I am not sure if it is because we are physically connected or because my face is typically tucked under his chin when snuggled but the conversation seems to flow easier if talking about emotional issues.
With all the things that I said, I also know that I don’t care if L is rough and tumble. Growing up a tomboy makes me think I would encourage the same behaviors if I had a daughter. I just want that rough and tumble boy to know it is okay to talk to his wife, mom, friends, etc…
I’m not sure my point but I do wonder about what I am doing right now to help my son be emotionally okay. I am sure I’ll mess up somewhere but I want to try hard not to.