We can always use a reminder to pay attention to the words we are using with our children. To this day I have a VERY hard time connecting with my emotions not necessarily because I got the “suck it up” talk from my dad but because I learned from the other boys at school that any sign of them would paint me the target. I learned to stuff my emotions quickly. I learned how to hold back the tears when I felt them coming. No room for weakness. This isn’t okay. It’s one thing to have them hear that sort of garbage at school but it’s another thing for them to hear it from us at home.
I ran across the video below this morning and knew I would have to share it. “Emotional toughness” is prized in our culture. Men who can suck up the tears and pain and “get the job done” are lifted up as heroes but those who show signs of emotion are criticized for not being “man enough”. We have to do better than that. We can do better than that. Work with your children on how to identify their emotions and help them work through why those emotions are coming to the surface. I’ve found it so often the case that when I’m helping my children discover more about themselves I am learning more about myself in the process.