Is it right to tell your son that boys don't cry?

Philippines
April 11, 2007 2:20am CST
I have a nephew and he's almost 3 years old. He would cry when he doesn't get what he wants or when he gets hurt (like playing and injuring himself). My mom would usually tell him that boys don't cry, that only girls cry. She would ask him, are you a girl? Then he says no, and my mom would ask him back, then why are you crying, crying is for girls only. I remember somebody made a discussion asking everyone if it's ok for guys to cry and I instantly said NO. I still believe that it's ok for guys to cry BUT at a young age, should we actually tell them not to? That somehow it seems more manly not too? I am kind of confused with this one, so what do you think?
14 people like this
40 responses
11 Apr 07
I think it's OK for a child to cry in pain of distress - whether boy or girl. However, if they cry because they're not getting their way, or they're just throwing a tantrum, I'll sit them down and tell them to stop immediately because it will not help them get what they want. The crying in pain and distress needs to be just comforted away; there are times when they'll make a mountain out of a tiny scratch, and there you act appropriately. When I was yung I was bought up with the 'boys don't cry' thing. When I hit my late teens, I found boys DID cry, but kept it secret. I think that the boys don't cry business is responsible for a lot of the ways in which some young men cannot healthily express their feelings. I know I was a little screwed up for a while about whether it was OK to show my feelings. As an adult now, 30 years later, I have no problems, but I'd bring up my own children with the rule 'it's OK to cry if there's a good reason'.
• Philippines
11 Apr 07
Thanks for the response. I didn't think of it that way. It's really nice to hear this from you, I am expecting a baby boy soon (in 2 to 3 weeks time) and I am trying to get enough knowledge on how to bring up a little boy. Thank you really for your response. =)
2 people like this
@SanDslnrs (269)
• United States
11 Apr 07
Why wouldn't they cry? Boys or men have feelings, they have emotions, so I don't think they should be told that "boys don't cry." I think someone else responded on the child crying to get his or her way or just to have tantrums, and on those instances, no it is not okay to cry. I have sons, and they did their share of crying, and are sensitive to others. Crying does not make them less of a man.
• Philippines
12 Apr 07
Thanks for the response. My nephew actually cries more when he doesn't get what he wants since he knows that all of us here are under his spell :P. My mom tells him that when he's crying over that...but we're more likely to comfort him and support him when he's feeling hurt.
1 person likes this
@Perry2007 (2229)
• Philippines
11 Apr 07
We adults, specially parents are responsible in shaping our childrens thoughts, we also have to understand that our influence in a childs mind age 3 and below will root deep and will be there until the child reach adulthood, so we need to be carefull of what we tell our children they will live up to think that way until he becomes adult
• Philippines
11 Apr 07
Thanks for the response. I believe you are right. These are the years when we need to be extra careful when shaping them to become good people for the future.
2 people like this
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
11 Apr 07
I think it's dangerous to deal with a crying child this way. Boys this age will cry just as often as girls and that's completly normal. I don't think they should be embarrassed about it. I have two little boys. My 2 1/2 year old cries often, when he's overtired, or grumpy or hurt. Depending on the situation, we deal with each case differently. If he's hurt, or sad, we cuddle him up and love on him. If he's just being whiney, he get's put in a time out, until he can be happy. Oftentimes, us telling him, okay buddy, give us a smile, will do the trick. CHildren this age cry. They are still emotionally unstable. there is so much going on in thier little lives, they are learning new things every day. I think it's dangerous to try to shame them to get them to act a certain way. You want your children to be able to come to you when they are hurt, or need you, not to bottle it all up becuase they are afraid of your reaction to thier tears. I don't see why people say that men cannot cry. Of course, I would never want a blubbery husband, but there have been times when my husband has shed tears and it was most appropriate and sweet, Ie, the birth of our sons. I think the best course of action, is to help the little boy deal with the pain, frustrations, or dissapointments that he faces. Help him to verbalize how he feels, so when he says that he is sad, you can sit down and talk about why he's sad, and what can be done next time to avoid similiar feelings. (for example, well son, next time we should be very careful with our Ice cream cone, so it doesn't fall.) Also, I think parents have this tendency to try to always make thier kids happy. SOmetiems it is best to allow our children to face the natural consequences of thier actions. If they are wavin thier ice cream cone in the air, and we tell them to stop, but thy don't heed our warning, and it falls, we should not immediately go and replace thier ice cream. There will be times in life that our children have to face dissapointment, we cannot shield them forever. what better time for them to learn about it, when mommy and daddy are right there to help them through it. There is a great book out there that I read for my boys, and I will reread I think. It's called "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. It's a great book and I higly reccomend it.
4 people like this
11 Apr 07
I think that if children do cry a lot of no real reason then it is good to discourage it whether they be boys or girls. The best thing is to just ignore it, but give them lots of praise if they hurt themselves and not cry. I have noticed that boys do tend to cry more easily than girls anyway at a young age, but teasing them for it, isn't really going to help.
3 people like this
• Philippines
12 Apr 07
Thanks for the response. How do you actually discourage them when they cry (especially boys) just to get their way? I am really curious, I'll be having a little boy in 2 to 3 weeks time (and I am really scared).
1 person likes this
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
12 Apr 07
Fiery Frost, when a child cries to get thier way, whether they be a boy or a girl,there are many things you can do. Firstly and most importantly don't give in to thier fits. I usually remove my son from my sight. He'll usually give up if he knows I cannot see him. Many times I tell my son, I'm sorry that you are sad, but Mommy said you cannot have that toy, your brother is playing with it. So, you can either find another toy and choose to play with that, or you can go to your room and sit until you are happy. (I of course do this after I have given him enough time to get over the intial dissapointment, when I feel he is carrying on just for the sake of being upset, i'll do something like this, you'll know when that is with your own kids.) I just started doing this with my son recently, he understands it now, when he was younger, I'd give him a chance to be upset, and try to regain control over his emotions on his own, if he could not, I would try to distract him, if he still refused to get under control, I would see if hunger, or sleepiness was the culprit. Often times it was. As they get older, it's easier to deal with.
1 person likes this
@mememama (3077)
• United States
11 Apr 07
Three year olds throw tantrums, they have a harder time expressing their anger. It gets better as they get older. If the mother gives in, like buys him the toy that he's screaming over, yes there is a problem. If a boy (or a girl) gets hurt, then by all means cry! That is way better than internalizing it and causing stress to the body. I think society puts way too much pressure on males not expressing themselves or crying. My father was taught to never cry or show any emotion, he has chronic ulcers. I'd admit that my husband cries. He was raised by a single mother so I don't think he got much of that macho male influence early on. I think that's great ;) It makes our marriage better and he has a great relationship with our son.
3 people like this
• Philippines
12 Apr 07
Thanks for the response. You are right. Hey, on a side note, I would do anything just to see my husband cry and be that emotional. He is emotional but I've never seen him cry. I guess he was brought up that way.
• Philippines
11 Apr 07
that's gender discrimination. in today's society, men are not allowed to cry since they are men after all and should act like men: strong, macho and can control their emotions. women are seen as dainty ladies, weak and very emotional. the act of crying is showing emotions and is almost equivalent to weakness so society dictates that such a thing is only for weak souls: women in particular. children are excused because at an early age, society is not that keen on their gender. notice the terms: baby, toddler, child, then when they grow up they become girl or boy, lass or lad, men or woman. let's try to be fair. guys also have eyes with that organ that releases the fluids we call tears. they have them naturally. so why stop them from crying?
3 people like this
@Marie2473 (8519)
• Sweden
11 Apr 07
I really do not understand this "boys donĀ“t cry mentality" Boys and men DO cry and there is nothing wrong with it at all. Men also have feelings and are allowed to show them. i absolutely respect a man that can show his feelings more than a man who needs to be macho all the time!
3 people like this
• Malaysia
12 Apr 07
i think it's okay.. because.. boys are the one that will protect gurls in the future.. so.. if they show their weakness.. how are they going to protect gurls? i know many will say that gurls are not that weak.. yes.. it's true.. but.. in certain point of view.. will you say a strong guy is weaker than a strong gurl? or would u say a strong gurl stronger than a strong guy? we know the fact that the god gave boys more strength.. and courage.. so.. they should learn to use it well =)
2 people like this
@my2luvs (158)
• United States
12 Apr 07
I think its ok for boys to cry if they are hurt or their feelings are hurt but not just to be a whiny cry baby cuz they arent getting their way
2 people like this
@hartnsoul (558)
• Philippines
12 Apr 07
Crying has nor rules or norms... its a natural thingto express emotions and therefore should not be considered as a gauge for gender... Children cry because that is the only way they know how to express themselves. Unlike adult, children do not have the avenue to get back at people who hurt them. I think, children should not be taught 'not to cry' or dictated when and when not to cry. Rather, explain the pros and cons of their behavior.
2 people like this
• India
12 Apr 07
Its not with boy or a girl , i feel its right to motivate a kid , and it will help him/her to get stronger character .
2 people like this
@darkzzt (760)
• Canada
12 Apr 07
i think guys can cry just as much as girls. for someone only 3 years old, i think it is too harsh to be telling him that he shouldnt cry. maybe it is ok to tell him that kind of stuff when he is older.
2 people like this
@coolcatzz (1587)
• Canada
12 Apr 07
No I don't think that is right at all. That is old school to me. Years ago that would have been what my dad would have told my brother but I don't think that is right. Look now at how many men we have that can't express themselves. It's healthy to have a cry when need be and it doesn't make them any less of a man.
2 people like this
@xParanoiax (6998)
• United States
12 Apr 07
I severely dislike the whole "boys don't cry" thing, because guys DO cry. It's not only for girls. It's a natural human reaction. But for so long men were taught that it was un-man-like for them to show emotions -- especially pain or sadness . . which in the long run has proved to be kinda crippling. In that case, I'd think it'd be wiser to teach your nephew that there are right and wrong reasons to cry. Not that crying is gender-specific.
2 people like this
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
11 Apr 07
You said that you instantly said no when this person asked if it was okay for men to cry. So I take it that you don't think it's okay for men to cry or was that a typo? Anyway, I think that is just wrong and cruel for a parent or anyone to tell a child that boys don't cry and that only girls cry. That child is for sure going to have some issuse with himself when he gets older. That is just flat out wrong. And you as a parent shouldn't let this continue. Men can cry and men do cry. They have feelings just like us women. SO don't be going and telling a small child that he can't cry just because he is a boy. For crying out, this is just sad. That poor child. He for sure will have problems if you don't put a stop to it.
2 people like this
• United States
11 Apr 07
No I don't think that it is ok to tell boys that they shouldn't cry. I think that is why we have generations of men who keep their emotions bottled up all the time. I think it wonderful when a man can cry. I dont' think it makes them any less manly at all.
2 people like this
@cutiedhes (508)
• Philippines
11 Apr 07
I think it is alright for boys to cry because it helps them bring out their pain and helps them relieves their depression. It is just a saying that boys don't cry because when it comes to boys people knows that they are strong, brave enough to face challenges and problems but boys also have weak points like girls so boys don't worry sometimes it is alright to cry.
2 people like this
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
11 Apr 07
I don't think it's a good idea to tell young boys not to cry because it may lead to them bottling up their emotions which can lead to depression and more. If anything, I think it's a sign of a guy's security in his masculinity when he cries because he doesn't feel the need to hide his feelings, and i certainly wouldn't want my partner to feel he had to put on a face around people.
2 people like this
@pillze (118)
• Romania
11 Apr 07
well, boys are human too, so that means they have feelings too:) it's natural to cry when you injure yourself but it's not alright to make a scene when things don't go your way. and i don't think that your mom really believes those things she says, but maybe she's just tryin to make him stop crying. when he will grow up he will be able to make up his own mind if crying is for boys too or just for the girls.
2 people like this