Rotten thing to say to a kid? You bet. But apparently one bloke thinks it’s fine to say that to his young son if he looks like he’s going to start blubbering.
I was fascinated by Kylie Orr’s blog entry Pressure to raise a ‘tough boy’. She’s the mother of three boys and a good writer, too. (Andrea, I think you’d like her blog.) Kylie knows there are sweeping generalisations made about boys and crying, how they should toughen up, and how that same mindset isn’t applied to girls.
I am conscious of raising sensitive males not “sooks”. And to me, there is a difference. Sooking and whinging are not encouraged in our home, but we do not chastise our boys for crying if they are hurt or upset. Isn’t this half the problem in adult males? No room to express their true feelings for fear of ridicule and accusations of not being a “real” man?
I see what she means.
It also makes me think about my attitudes towards DD’s crying. Sometimes she bungs it on – and we know it! She looks highly peeved when we call her on it. As a three year old, sometimes her tears are from fear of punishment (though I didn’t actually know that the naughty corner was worth tears), other times it’s empathy, or on the rare occasion, pain from bumping her toes or tiredness from not having a nap. Would I tell a son to suck it up and be a man? Or accept that he was simply exhausted and unable to express it in words? I’d like to think that I would be even-handed and understanding, but I also know that in the heat of the moment, intentions of gender equity can be overridden by old, learned habits.