There has been a paradigm shift in parenting over the last several years, especially when it comes to our sons. Once, the goal of parenting a son was to toughen them up, teach them that boys don't cry, show them how "real men" act. As parents, we are told to let our sons cry, not to baby them, that we're coddling them or making them weak by showing compassion and love and support. Well, one Instagram mom had enough of that nonsense and gave everyone some much-needed perspective on how to raise boys.
"I'm so tired of being told I "baby" my son. Ever since I had him, he's been a momma's boy," writes Caitlin Fladager. "Now, with him being four, he gets hurt? He runs crying for mommy. He's sick? He wants all the mom cuddles. He's overtired and fighting his sleep? I'm climbing into bed with him until he calms down."
Fladager has had enough. She's tired of hearing that by loving her son and supporting him when he needs her, she's somehow ruining his chances to be a real man.
"I'm constantly told I need to let him "be a man." Or let him learn he can't cry. Well, I'm here to tell you, that's a load of shit."
"He will always be my baby. I will always validate his feelings. I will always kiss his boo-boos better. I am teaching my kids that their feelings are important," she writes. "That they can cry when they are upset. That they can call on me anytime, and I will come running with arms open."
She's not wrong. There is a glut of evidence that shows the key to raising emotionally well-adjusted kids who turn into emotionally well-adjusted adults is to validate their feelings and teach them that not only is ok to have big feelings, it's ok to not deal with them alone. Encouraging our kids to feel their feelings and not shaming them for those feelings is one of the most important steps in raising emotionally resilient and empathetic kids who grow into emotionally resilient and empathetic adults.
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"He is my child. He is not "weak" or less than for showing emotion and needing me. I am raising him to know men can cry too. Men can have needs too. Men can get overwhelmed too. Maybe if tearful little boys were comforted instead of shamed, we wouldn't have so many men struggling to emphasize with emotions."