It was very commonplace in previous decades for men to repress their feelings. Guys who expressed their emotions were often seen as weak and vulnerable. Others often unfairly taunted them, so they bottled up their emotions.
Naturally, men learned that they were to repress and never cry or show any emotion. Fast forward a few decades, and society now recognizes that it’s healthy for men to show their emotional side. It makes them better sons, fathers, lovers, and all-around good people.
When you bottle emotions down deep inside, it’s like a ticking time bomb. This emotional bomb will explode when you least expect it. A study conducted at The University of Berkely found that men who show their feelings have emotional diversity.
When children learn to display both positive and negative emotions effectively, they have lower rates of depression and anxiety. Holding things inside is not suitable for anyone’s mental health.
Ten Benefits of Teaching Boys Not to Repress Feelings
The time to teach your boys not to bottle up their feelings is from the cradle. You want to ensure they know they’re free to express their emotions early on as it directly impacts their life.
While lower depression and anxiety rates are excellent, there are other benefits to teaching boys not to bottle up their feelings. Here are some other good things that can come when a young man learns emotional diversity.
1. They Have Better Relationships If They Don’t Repress Emotions
Relationships require people to be vulnerable and talk about things that bother them. When one person doesn’t discuss the issues, it’s like a festering wound that only worsens. However, if a boy learns how to deal with the problem and get everything out in the open, they learn to communicate effectively.
When they want a partner to spend their life with, they’ll desire someone open and honest. Their feelings are just as important as their partners, so they should be free to discuss things and not keep them bottled up inside.
2. Their Dreams Intensify
Imagine how horrible it would be to contemplate about your problems constantly. You didn’t feel free to cry, express your anger, or talk about the things that were bothering you. It’s hard to plan for the future, dream, and be present in the moment. When emotional diversity is allowed, it lifts the black cloud of sorrow that keeps a boy from seeing beyond the here and now.
3. Their Confidence and Courage Improve When They Don’t Repress Their Feelings
When the emotions are out of whack, boys lack confidence in themselves. For instance, if they had a bad relationship where someone cheated on them, it puts the fear of dating anyone else in their mind. However, when boys learn to talk about these situations and get things out in the open, they’re no longer repressed by the hurt of the past.
It doesn’t mean that the hurt automatically goes away, but they find comfort in talking about it. They may find someone who’s had a similar experience and values monogamy as much as they do, but they will never know unless they have the confidence and courage to open up.
4. They Have a Better Social Life When Feelings Are Not Bottled Up
People don’t feel like going out with a group and having fun when they’re an emotional wreck. Keeping feelings bottled up inside makes anyone miserable. An emotionally upset person will struggle to go to work, go on dates, or have social interaction.
However, when boys learn at a young age not to repress their feelings and to get things out and process them, they’re freed from the ties that bind. They’ll feel like going out and having fun when they’re not tied to the past and have regrets.
5. They Smile More
Your face tells a story for all the world to see. You can usually tell if you’re sad by looking at your expression. Very few people have a true “poker face” where they can fool the world.
Boys will smile more when they don’t repress the feelings that hurt them. It’s impossible to be miserable inside and happy outside, as the innermost feelings will always shine through.
6. They Have Better Communication
Have you ever dealt with a person you have to ask a hundred times what’s wrong, and they still give you nothing? This is a hallmark case of someone who is repressed. They know they’re feeling horrible, but they don’t know how or what to say to you.
Boys who learn to bottle up their feelings and hope they go away will have communication issues. The problem with “sweeping the dirt under the rug” is that there comes a day when the dirt pile is apparent. Communicating your concerns and getting things out in the open will free you.
Rather than adding more dirt to the pile, they learn to clean up the mess as it happens. Teach your boys that it’s okay to talk about their feelings and what’s bothering them, and it feels so much better than repressing them.
7. Boys Who Don’t Repress Emotions Have Better Health
Stress and carrying around excess baggage can have a direct impact on your heart. According to the National Library of Medicine, the effect on blood pressure is multiplied when the body is under stress. You can’t bottle up hurts and disappointments in life and not expect to be the picture of health.
You’ve often heard that stress kills, and your heart doesn’t need you putting any more stress or strain on it. You probably think this doesn’t apply to children, but according to the American Heart Association, kids are not immune.
Though it’s rare for a child to have heart problems due to stress, it does happen. However, arming them with the proper tools from infancy to handle their stress effectively will impact them throughout life.
8. They Become a More Positive Person
When you repress things, you dwell in negativity. Your mind is stuck in a loop of everything that hurt you or went wrong in your life. No one wants a black cloud of sorrow hanging over their head, so teach your kids to be optimistic.
Dealing with a problem as it occurs will allow your child to embrace positivity. They can’t be a happy person and carry tons of baggage. This doesn’t mean they will always resolve everything instantly, but at least they can work on a resolution.
9. Boys Who Don’t Bottle Up Their Emotions Don’t Play the Blame Game
Imagine your son has a cup inside of him that holds all his uncomfortable emotions. When he gets angry, sad, scared, or full of anxiety, the cup fills a bit with each emotion or feeling.
Eventually, his cup will be so complete that it spills everywhere, often called an emotional outburst. Once it starts spilling out, they’re unable to control it. Usually, it comes out in the form of blaming others.
It’s not practical to criticize others for mishandled situations, as your son repressed these feelings. However, breaking free from repression gives freedom and stops the blame game.
10. They’re Free to Forgive and Be Forgiven
It’s horrible to hold grudges. In many instances, folks get mad and refuse to speak for years, and they eventually don’t remember why they were angry in the first place. When boys learn from an early age that it’s acceptable to bottle up feelings, they won’t be apt to forgive others.
How can one expect someone to forgive when they’re not willing to forgive? Learning to deal with emotions at the time they occur allows people to be free to forgive and be forgiven.
Never Punish Your Child for Their Feelings
Why do parents expect things from their children that they don’t do themselves? Many adults want their kids to be “seen and not heard,” and they think they’re never going to have a bad day. You must be realistic and understand that your children will experience the same emotions as you.
There are days you’re cranky because you didn’t get enough sleep, and you say and do things you didn’t mean. Your children will also have these times and shouldn’t be punished for expressing their emotions. Instead, it would help if you talked with them about effective ways to handle these times. As a result, you will arm them with the knowledge of how to deal with their emotions positively.
By punishing a child for a temper tantrum, or another emotionally based issue, you’re saying loud and clear that expressing your feelings gets you in trouble. Correct the bad behavior, like kicking, hitting, coloring on the wall, or things of this nature, but never punish them for being human and showing emotion.
Final Thoughts on Why Boys Shouldn’t Repress Their Feelings
Parents have a great responsibility to raise well-rounded children. Things have shifted and altered in the past decades, making it socially acceptable for boys to show their emotions. Teaching your children not to bottle up their emotions but to deal with them at the moment will substantially impact their life.
The bottom line is your children, both male, and female should be free to express themselves and get things out in the open. It not only will make them better people, but it will free them from the emotional baggage they will carry throughout life.