This week, an article went up on The Stir called, “Our Baby Boys May Need a Totally Different Kind of Parenting.” In it, the author discussed a study that was published in the Infant Mental Health Journal which suggested that because boys brains mature at a slower rate, they may actually be more sensitive and slower at developing emotion than girls. She notes how this goes against what society has been telling us for years—boys can “tough it out” but girls need to be emotionally supported as children.
The author suggested that the findings of this study can open the board for completely changing the way we parent our sons, and that got me thinking. If boys are more sensitive than we thought, and would benefit from a more loving and supportive parenting style, what ways can we actually implement that?
Aside from giving our baby boys extra cuddles and skin-to-skin contact, as the article suggests, I think turning our sons into readers as they get older would be an excellent way to help their emotional development.
Reading teaches empathy. In the past, boys might have been told to “man up” and stand up to a kid who was bullying them, but reading can help them see the world from the bully’s shoes. Boys might have been told that their feelings weren’t valid, or should be kept to themselves, but in a book they can experience all the emotions of the protagonist and know they aren’t alone. Boys who had been raised in emotionally stunting environments, without their parents even being aware of doing so, could understand how to handle emotional situations in their own lives and with others just by reading.
Articles like this one remind me why it is so important to get our boys reading. You might think it will only improve their English grades and vocabularies, but it can actually help them emotionally, and socially.
What do you think about the findings of this study? Be sure to let me know in the comments!