December 22, 2022 at 1:47 am

6 Toxic Phrases That Parents Need to Stop Saying to Their Sons

by Matthew Gilligan

Words matter.

And words can also hurt, especially when it comes to children and what they’re hearing from their parents.

Today we’re going to focus on sons and all the six toxic phrases that moms and dads need to stop saying to their boys.

Take a look.

1. “You’re too sensitive.”

Some parents make their sons feel ashamed when they show their emotions…and this comes from moms and dads.

This can lead to boys bottling everything up and not showing any emotions at all, which isn’t good for anyone.

Marriage and family therapist Rachel D. Miller argues that this can lead to bad outcomes and she says, “When emotions are not felt and processed, they come out or are coped with unhealthy ways such as v**lence, al**hol or drug use, physical ailments, and mental health issues.”

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Photo Credit: Pexels

2. “Those are for girls!”

You’ve definitely heard parents saying this phrase to their sons before. And we all know that a lot of young girls like to play with toys meant for boys and participate in male-dominated activities, but there’s still some stigma around it when boys try to do the same thing.

And it doesn’t lead anywhere good, as you might imagine.

Psychologist Kate Balestrieri says, “This prohibits boys from exploring their natural instincts to be caregivers as well, and as they mature into adults leaves them with blind spots in their parenting. “It creates emotional distance between them and their family, which leaves the next generation hungry for emotional connection and equally impacted.”

3. “Boys don’t cry.”

Many boys are taught not to cry and to hold their emotions in when they are growing up and they can be labeled as “soft” if they cry when they are young.

Rachel D. Miller says, “Part of why so many men struggle with relationships and managing their anger is because we, as parents and a society, have told them that expressing emotions other than anger shows weakness and being weak is not acceptable. Anger is easier to grab than pain, sadness, or fear. And when all you are given is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Keep that in mind..

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Photo Credit: Pexels

4. “Why can’t you be more like…?”

Ugh, this one…

Comparing a boy (or any child) to someone else can be extremely harmful to their self-esteem. This behavior can also cause boys to constantly try to live up to unrealistic expectations and to try to be perfect for their parents.

Dr. Fran Walfish says, “This could render him exhausted, depressed, and feeling like a failure. Alternatively, parents need to observe, acknowledge, validate, and accept their child — flaws and all. This is the starting point from which healthy child-rearing begins.”

5. “You must win!”

We’ve all encountered parents who push their kids to be the best in ways that seem detrimental to their children.

And while some parents might think this will motivate their sons to work hard and be successful, this can backfire and cause them to only see the end result and not enjoy the experience of whatever they are doing.

Anahid Lisa Derbabian says, “This can be very detrimental also as these boys will take this energy into their adult lives, and may miss life’s joyful moments, as their focus mainly is on winning the prize. Later in life, they may realize that the prize often may not be worth what they gave up along the way.”

6. “Boys will be boys.”

It seems like this phrase has been around forever…and that’s not a good thing.

People sometimes use it to dismiss bad behavior from boys and parents who use it when their boys do something wrong are sending a terrible message.

Rachel D. Miller says about this phrase, “It teaches boys that they are not responsible for their own actions and are not going to be held accountable for their behaviors. In addition, it steals their self-efficacy. It says men and boys can’t help themselves.”

Keep all of these in mind in regard to the boys you’re raising!

We think you’ll all be better off for it!

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