Today my husband forwarded me an Age article that was written by a Melbourne teacher with over 20 years experience. He regularly indulges in commentaries on current day issues and today he chose the mental health of our boys. SNAP, that is why I am here too.
Today’s post is devoted to ALL the men in my life; my four most precious men, and all those men I know who have come out the other end, somehow still in tact, after walking a long, dark and often silent tunnel of mental health hell. For ALL of them I stand tall, for as long as it takes, to break the silence; to ensure their grandchildren, children, nephews and brothers don’t get thrown into that same silent abyss of mental illness where to get better was to man up and forge forward. History serves to teach us lessons and this is one we must attend to for our future generations. If that is not straight enough, I direct you to the suicide rates for our males.
So, why is this article SO important in learning this lesson? Easy: It gives us, as parents, a really simple technique (yes it easier written then done, I know) that we can use to equip and empower our young boys; it’s the gift of talk! The gift of whispering, talking and yes, sometimes just plain screaming about their emotions. It’s the gift of allowing them to label that feeling that sees them clench their fists as “anger or frustration”, to sit with it, experience it and know that the whole world won’t fall about laughing or accusing them of not being male because they dare to tell someone they are feeling really “angry or frustrated” with them.
With studies still screaming the same results over a long period of time; that boys have ”poor ability in recognising their emotional state or having a vocabulary to explain it” and that “parents talk much more to girls than boys” an article such as this, about talking to your boys is a no brainer, surely.
At the end of the day, literally, I always rely on the table talk over dinner. I try to always ask at least one time during the course of dinner something to the effect of “and how do you feel about that?”. Sometimes I just get “bad” or “dunno”, but then other times, I get “I just can’t cope with that” or “it makes me feel really ignoyed (read annoyed)” from my six year old and I breathe a sigh of relief. He doesn’t always use those words rather than punching or stamping his feet, but then I’m a realist and am completely satisfied with that.
“Our job is to take an interest in our young men, engage them in meaningful conversation, and give them space to articulate their thoughts without jumping down their throat.
On a broader level, we need to ensure the appropriate resources, social networks and professional services are available for boys to use the moment they call out for our help.”
Well said I say. Below I have pasted the link to the full article and to some other sites with resources you could print and use to generate conversations about how your boy is feeling.
There are SO many resources available on the internet that you can print out and use with your children. I have found the best thing to do is google “emotions cards for children printable” under images. That way you can just choose those that apply to your situation.
This is a resource I have used through work a few times and is generally pretty good.
This is the best resources I have used in my time working, but can get pricey.
Happy Mental Health Week Everyone.