Tag

childhood

Browsing

Yvette Clarke, an internationally-renowned Wellness Consultant, Empath, Light Worker and Soul Room Specialist, shares how she is able to help break through emotional barriers and explains why the parental word is so important in developing healthy self esteem in our children.

I have been blessed with the unique gift of acute empathic perceptivity, which allows me to feel and hear the subconscious emotions of my clients as though I am them.

I help women suffering from low self-esteem cut through confusion and trauma to create clarity, understanding and best of all personal empowerment, allowing them to take back control of their emotions and their lives.

For over 20 years I have had the privilege of being invited into a sacred place – the inner self – where everything that makes a person who they are is stored; I call this place The Soul Room. In this room, I come to converse with the subconscious emotional layers of the human body. In here I shine a light on the suppressed hidden beliefs and emotional injuries causing conflict and obstruction to my clients’ wellbeing, happiness and success. My job is to give voice to the subconscious self so that it can be heard and not shoved under the proverbial carpet.

I have sat with thousands of emotionally-scarred, disempowered women, who don’t understand why they bring into their lives the same bad experience – or relationship – over, and over, again. These experiences come wrapped in a different package each time and initially appear to be different than before, but once she is caught up in the euphoria of ‘duplicitous nice’ being shown to her, the relationship partner appears to have metamorphosised into someone who becomes unkind, cruel and detrimental to her already delicate self-esteem.

She loses her voice and becomes a doormat to others. This causes her self-esteem to become even more diminished than before, she becomes fearful of making another wrong choice, her anxiety levels reach catastrophic heights and she wonders what it is about her that has this continue to happen… What is wrong with HER?

Her friends don’t understand either. They wonder why such a lovely, caring and kind woman would continue to attract abuse and mistreatment.

I have been asked by numerous women over the years why they can’t break this cycle and here is the reason from a soul room perspective.

It all comes down to the power of the PARENTAL WORD. The words from a parent can make or break a child’s belief in themselves. These parental words will stay with this person for the whole of their life replaying in the background of their subconscious mind and within the emotions of the inner child self. They will replay like bad Christmas music that has become stuck in your head after you’ve done your Chrissy shopping at a major department store.

It’s like that song that just keeps replaying over, and over, again in the background of your mind and no matter what you do, it’s stuck in there.

The parental word has the same effect on your child self as that background music does, the only difference is the Christmas music won’t harm your self-esteem, the negative parental word will.

Without realising it, the parent has the power to subconsciously brainwash their child into feeling inadequate, incapable and downright unlovable.

Without realising it, the parent has the power to subconsciously brainwash their child into feeling inadequate, incapable and downright unlovable.

I have had the most beautiful, healthy women sit in front of me telling me how fat and ugly they are, they can’t even see their actual body shape because all they hear in the back of the mind replaying over and over again is the parent’s criticism of their physique and weight. The continuous jabs at a tiny bit of tummy fat has now created a woman who binge eats and then throws up to keep slim. All she is a distorted image of herself, fed by the niggling of parental criticism. As an adult, it doesn’t matter how much she is told how beautiful she is, the internal child state is stuck, glitched on the relentless parental music telling her she is fat.

As children we are emotional sponges, we absorb into ourselves the emotions and wording repeating itself in the home environment. We are like steaks marinading in criticism sauce.

When a child’s point of view is repeatedly dismissed, or their emotions are conveyed to them as drama, this teaches the child that their feelings have no value and that their emotions are ridiculous. As an adult they are likely to attract a partner who will treat them the same way the parent did.

As children we are emotional sponges, we absorb into ourselves the emotions and wording repeating itself in the home environment. We are like steaks marinading in criticism sauce.

When a child is treated with irritation when they speak, as adults they often attract relationships that treat them with the same tactic of abuse.

When a child is told continuously what is wrong with them and what they didn’t get right, they become excessively self-critical or they become very critical of others.

The parental word is so very, very, important to the innocent child. This child will remain inside your children for their whole lifetime. This child needs to be encouraged to believe in themselves, they need to be reminded how much they are loved – and loved for simply being them – not love earned from behaving in a manner that pleases the parent.

The innocent child needs to hear that they matter to you and that you are willing to listen to their feelings when needed, without prying into everything that is private and personal to them.

The greatest chance our children have of growing into emotionally healthy adults with a healthy self-esteem is from them feeling that no matter how big they mess up, your love for them will not be diminished.

The Performing Arts is a transformative experience essential to a child’s wellbeing and development. Whether it’s drama, music or dance, we’ve got you covered with the best professional programs and stay-at-home fun!

Extracurricular activities fill up the calendars of most school aged children these days. However, sport is usually the dominant feature over more creative pursuits. But did you know engaging in the Performing Arts, whether it be dance, drama or music has phenomenal benefits for kids’ wellbeing and development?

 

If your child is shy and lacks confidence, introducing them to Performing Arts could be a life changing decision. The combination of a safe environment and engaging activities could be the trigger to bring them out of their shell.

Performing Arts have the ability to provide kids with a wide variety of skills to set them up for life. It’s not about becoming a star or getting the leading role, it’s about stimulating the body and mind and the vast emotional, social and educational paybacks.

Being a part of a performance process, exposes your child to new ways of thinking, moving, engaging and doing. Research shows that children who sing, dance, act or play instruments are more likely to be recognised for academic achievement compared with their non-performing counterparts.

It’s not about becoming a star or getting the leading role, it’s about stimulating the body and mind and the vast emotional, social and educational paybacks.

But the benefits don’t end there. Here are some of the key rewards children receive from participating in Performing Arts:

1. Self-esteem and Confidence

The safe environment of a class, as well as the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, will help bolster your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Children will make mistakes, we all do, but they will have the chance to practice and learn, and eventually succeed at a given task, generating immense feelings of pride, which can have a flow on effect to reducing anxiety and depression.

2. Social Skills

Most creative activities require teamwork or some collaboration. This expands children’s skills in communication, conflict resolution, negotiation and empathy. By learning collaboration kids begin to see that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role. Through team work kids can learn to see things from different perspectives and understand the motivations, feelings and opinions of others.

3. Perseverance and Resilience

Learning an instrument or dance requires practice, patience and persistence. On the journey to success children learn the old anecdote ‘the show must go on’ when things don’t come together perfectly, and they may be required to accept constructive feedback, which will prove a vital skill in later life. Once the performance is complete the sense of accomplishment will drive perseverance in their next endeavour.

4. Concentration and Control

The ability to listen, retain and contribute in a creative class demands a great deal of focus. Equally the core strength, coordination, flexibility and balance required across all performing art forms such as sitting with an instrument for extended periods or executing ballet are all skills that will help enormously when transferred to a school setting.

But Performing Arts aren’t limited to music lessons and dance studios. Perth’s Fringe World Festival Director, Amber Hasler, says we just have to look at the expanding programs and performances drawing huge crowds to the 750 events that made up this year’s Fringe World, with genres from comedy to circus and cabaret acts to realise the endless options and opportunities available in today’s performing art scene.

“Events like Fringe get people out of their houses and interested in the arts in general,” she says. The annual program is a month-long celebration of talented artists including film makers, circus acts, puppetry, mermaids, magic, illusion, comedy, dance, musicals. It really is a joy to bring culture and an array of art forms to the public and open up their perception and appreciation.”

With so many possibilities and endless benefits it can be a daunting task finding the right activity for your child. Offspring has put together a guide to help you navigate the options.

A dance class will introduce children to the notion of a troupe. It is a great way to increase connectivity with others.

Dance

 

Dance is an expressive art form. It is active and a great way to improve fitness, body awareness, motor skills, strength, posture and flexibility. Dancing has recognised social and psychological advantages to a child’s development from problem solving and critical thinking to developing resilience and team work. For many dancers, the activity provides an outlet for emotions, stresses and an escape from daily life.

A dance class will introduce children to the notion of a troupe. It’s not just you on stage but a larger group that is counting on you to do your part. The sense of responsibility and relying on peers gives an incredible sense of belonging. Most often dancers bond tightly together to develop a strong friendship set within their dance school. It is a great way to increase connectivity with others.

Many dance schools offer classes from toddlers to adults. Dance classes focused on enjoyment and movement are perfect for little ones looking to burn off some energy. Lots of dance schools, recreation centres, day care centres, churches and community groups offer specific toddler classes where technique, routines and costumes are not so important.

For older children looking for more structure and the opportunity to become involved in competitions, exams or concerts, there are many styles from which to choose including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Cheerleading and Hip Hop. Talk to your child about their interests, ask around for recommendations, visit a few studios and ask about trial classes.

Drama

Drama puts children in exciting, funny, thought-provoking and interesting circumstances to expand their view of the world and the people within it. It is not just limited to stage shows but encompasses circus acts, illusions, puppetry and theatre sports.

“Not every child that takes drama will become a famous actor, but they will walk away with the tools to speak in public and speak up for themselves. They don’t have to be the best, they just have to be involved,” Bronwyn Edinger, Director of Northern Sydney’s Glen Street Theatre told Offspring.

Drama classes cover many skills including voice training, improvisation, role playing and creative movement. Drama, like dance, is suitable to a range of ages and abilities from three years through to adults. Many primary and high schools offer a drama program and some local youth centres provide opportunities to be involved in regular theatrical productions. Otherwise, ask around for recommendations of a good drama club.

Bring the benefits of drama into your home:

1. Set up a box of dress-ups and props to help children create imaginative scenarios, include a large sheet to use as the stage curtain.

2. Create your very own sock puppets. Puppets are a great way for shy kids to engage.

3. Instead of simply reading a story with your child, why not role play and act it out?

Music

Music is a powerful form of expression. It has the ability to change moods and evoke emotional responses simply through sound. Your child doesn’t have to be a prodigy musician to get involved either, signing up for a choir or a band is a great place to start as it removes the pressure associated with solo instruction and performances.Most schools will have a choir your child can freely join.

One of Australia’s most admired conductors, receiving an Order of Australia for his passionate advocacy of music education Richard Gill, believes physical education and arts education should book-end the Australian curriculum, with music being at the forefront, as early as possible in the life of a child.

“The impact this type of education would have on children,with respect to creative thinking, imaginative problem solving, resulting in classrooms full of engaged and interested minds with the capacity to think, perceive, analyse and act upon ideas, would turn the educational decline on its head,” he said during a recent speech to the Collegiate of Specialist Music Educators.

You don’t need to be a wonderful singer or musician to share music with a child, nor spend a lot of money on musical activities, with many local libraries or community groups offering free ‘rhyme time’ sessions to introduce babies and toddlers to rhymes, songs and instruments.

For older children, learning an instrument can teach perseverance, build self-esteem and assist with other school-based education such as reading and maths from learning to read music and count beats.

Your child’s school might teach certain instruments or offer a music program. Otherwise word-of-mouth is always a great way to start looking for a teacher. If you are seeking private tuition check the qualifications of the teachers and find out costs, expectations and ensure they match your child’s desires, some will be more casual and others will expect participation in examinations and recitals. Ask about hiring instruments before committing, as some instruments are expensive and need a lot of practice and persistence.

So How Do You Choose the Right Instrument?

Choosing an instrument to learn can be exciting and full of possibilities. Talk to your child about their interests and visit a reputable music store to see the instruments in their grandeur. Most formal music lessons start between five to nine years old, group classes are recommended for even younger children. The Forte School of Music gives these ages and instruments as a guide:

Piano is highly recommended as a child’s first instrument, it can be played as soon as a child can reach the keys and has enough strength to press them down.
Recommended age: 5+

 Recorder is a common choice in a school setting. It is cheap, children can play it easily and it provides a good introduction to making music.
Recommended age: 5+

Stringed instruments often come in smaller sizes specifically for kids. Some children can handle a violin from the age of four.
Recommended age: 5+ (violin); 9+ (viola and cello)

Wind and brass instruments should not be attempted before your child’s permanent teeth come in because of the pressure on the teeth when they are played, the actual size of the instrument, the lip strength required and the “puff” needed to make a noise.
Recommended age: 8+ (flute, clarinet); 9+ (saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French horn)

✪ Drum and guitars tend to be a big favourite among kids.
Recommended age: 7+

Singing is something that can be enjoyed at all ages, but it is best not to start learning formally until 9+ years.

Bring your own music to life:

1. Have the radio or music stream playing during the day instead of the TV. It will encourage you and your child to sing and dance along.

2. Construct your own musical instruments such as shakers, drums and cymbals from pots and pans, household and craft item.

Not Keen on the Spotlight?

If your child is shy and lacks confidence introducing them to Performing Arts could be a life changing decision. The combination of a safe environment and engaging activities could be the trigger to bring them out of their shell. But don’t push too hard, there are other ways to expose your child to the wonders of the art form without participating:

✪ A trip to the circus – there is nothing quite as awe inspiring as aerial acrobatics.

✪ A dance performance – seeing classical ballet at the theatre or a local dance school’s concert is a lively and colourful experience.

✪ A balloon twisting, puppet or magic show – the illusions will captivate your child’s imagination and open them to the possibilities within Performing Arts. Activities like these are easy to create at home.

Tips to help your child overcome anxiety before a big performance:

Normalise feelings of anxiety and remind your child, everyone, even adults feel nervous before going on stage.

Talk your child through their worries and remind them of other moments when they felt anxious and things ended up being successful.

✪ Help your child calm their nerves by taking four or five long, deep breaths or counting backward from ten.

✪ A concert – there are many touring music acts for kids, teens or adults to provide a great shared experience.

✪ Local community events – whether it is the local choir or dance troupe, carolling, a drama production or an idol contest, there are often opportunities to see an array of performances in your own community.

Organise lunchboxes with minimal fuss and lots of healthy yumminess with these four amazing recipes!

Click here for more articles on nutrition, food portions, superfoods and health!


Recipe 1: 2 Ingredient Lunchbox Scrolls

If you want to make some fresh scrolls for lunch at home or lunch boxes, this is a really fast and easy recipe.  Equal parts self raising flour and greek yoghurt, that’s it!!

Serves: 8
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook times: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Ingredients: 
1 cup Self Raising Flour
1 cup Greek Yoghurt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Mix flour and yoghurt and make a ball.
3. Knead for a few minutes, adding more flour if mixture is too wet.
4. Sprinkle extra flour on bench, roll dough into rectangle

Mix ingredients together into a bowl to create dough.  I add a little more flour if the mix is too sticky.  Roll out onto a floured flat surface.  I have made a double batch below and created a different variety of scrolls.  One side is ham, capsicum, pineapple and cheese, the other ham and cheese.

Then roll up and slice into 2 cm thick segments, bake on baking tray until golden, approximately 15-18minutes.

Recipe 2: Mexican Chicken Salad Sandwich Filling

Ooh we so love Mexican in this household.  The girls and I like most dishes as I make them, but the boys (so macho) like to add in extra dashes of chilli sauce or jalapenos.   We often have chicken rolls for lunch on the weekends, but this took the traditional chicken and mayo roll to a whole new level.  If you love mexican you must try this!

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

1 tomato, finely diced
1 capsicum, finely diced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup tasty cheese, grated
poached chicken breasts or 1 BBQ chook, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
taco seasoning, to taste
Bread rolls

Instructions:

1. Add tomato, capsicum, spring onions and cheese into a large bowl, stir
2. Place chicken, mayonnaise and taco seasoning into bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
3. Taste and add more mayonnaise and seasoning if required
4. Serve on bread rolls. There is enough mix for approximately 10 rolls.

Firstly I combined a diced tomato, capsicum, spring onions and cheese.

Then added poached chicken(or BBQ chook), mayonaise and taco seasoning.

Serve on bread rolls tiger bread rolls on this day, for a special treat!

Recipe 3: Fruity Bliss Balls

These Fruity Bliss Balls are nut free, which are ideal to put in the lunch boxes of kids who have a nut free policy at their school, store in the fridge for up to one week.

Serves: 18
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

10 medjool dates, remove seeds
1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon cacao or cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
coconut

Instructions:

1. Place the ingredients into a food processor.
2. Process on high speed for several minutes until the mixture sticks together like a paste.
3. Take small handfuls of mixture and make into balls, roll in coconut.
4. Keep in the refrigerator, enjoy.

My kids usually take 3 bliss balls in replace of a fruit, read more about my lunchbox packing guide.

Recipe 4: Greek Mason Jar Salad

I’m trying to mix up what I am eating for lunches during the week.  Earlier this year I was stuck in a rut of making a sandwich every day.  Now I take time to plan ahead and make sure I eat something different each day.  I still have a sandwich, but another day I may have crispbread loaded with tuna, spinach, onion and tomato and then another day a mason jar salad.

Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins

Ingredients: 

1-2 tablespoons classic dressing
1 /3 cup chickpeas
Capsicum, diced
Cucumber, diced
Red onion, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Olives
Chicken, shredded
Fetta, cubed
Baby spinach, washed

Instructions:

1. Place all ingredients in the order listed above into a clean mason jar
2. Seal tightly, refrigerate and use within 5-7 days.

http://www.offspringmagazine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/greek-mason-jar-salad-5.jpg

There is a special technique to the salad assembly to keep all the contents fresh.  The vegetables and protein need to be layered in a particular way:

Layer 1  Dressing
Layer 2  Chickpeas
Layer 3 – Hard vegetables – capsicum, cucumber and red onion
Layer 4 – Soft vegetables – cherry tomatoes, olives
Layer 5 – Protein – chicken and fetta
Layer 6 – Salad greens – baby spinach

Words and Photos from: 

Kat Springer
The Organised Housewife

 

Only 50 per cent of Australians eat the right amount of fruit and vegetables. Here are some tried and true tips, tricks and strategies to include more fruits and vegetables in your family diet.   

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, and there is very good research confirming this. Not only do fruit and vegetables have protective effects for reducing our chance of getting cancer and heart disease, but anyone who eats the recommended amounts of two fruits and five vegetables are more likely to be a healthy weight.  

Adults are recommended to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables, legumes or beans. The recommendations for children can be seen in the table. 

      Serves per day* 
    13-23 months  2-3 years  4-8 years  9-11 years  12-13 years  14-18 years 
Vegetables and legumes/beans  Boy  2-3  2 ½   4 ½   5  5 ½   5 ½  
Girl  2-3  2 ½   4 ½   5  5  5 
               
Fruit  Boy  ½   1  1 ½   2  2  2 
Girl  ½   1  1 ½   2  2  2 

 

*Additional amounts may be needed by children who are taller or more active 

What is a serve? 

A standard serve of vegetables is about 75g or: 

  • ½ cup cooked vegetables 
  • ½ cup cooked or canned beans, peas or lentils 
  • 1 cup salad vegetables 
  • ½ medium potato (no chips!) 
  • 1 medium tomato 

 

A standard serve of fruit is about 150g or: 

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear 
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruit or plums 
  • 1 cup canned fruit (no added sugar) 

 

Tip 1: Chat about Fruits and Vegetables 

Do you know what your children’s favourite fruit and vegetable is? I found it a fun exercise to ask my children. My seven year old daughter said mango and broccoli, and my three year old son said banana and carrot. This question led into a chat about fruits and vegetables and why they are so important in our diet. It is important to keep any conversation about food fun, light hearted and age appropriate.  

 I like to tell my children that fruits and vegetables are ‘super’ foods because of their different colours. For example, strawberries have folate in them which is important for our blood cells to grow. Mandarins and oranges have Vitamin C to help us stay well and heal cuts and bruises. Broccoli and baby spinach contain Vitamin A which is important to help us see at night and grow strong teeth. An easy way to find out more about fruits and vegetables is to Google them! 

 

Berry Smoothie
Serve 2
1 cup milk
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup frozen berries
2 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Can add some honey to taste if desired. The spinach is hidden by the delicious berries!

Tip 2: Are they really hungry? 

If only I had a dollar for every time I heard one of my children say ‘I’m hungry’! My three year old will say this often after finishing his breakfast of three Weetbix, some oats and sultanas. So I am pretty confident that he isn’t hungry and I use this opportunity to ask him if his tummy is making hungry sounds or if he would like to play with his trains/get out his crayons or read a book. Usually it is just boredom and once I have set him up in an activity he is happy. 

Children have little tummies and can easily fill up on milk or juice (which I say doesn’t count as a serve of fruit because most juices don’t contain fibre). It can be useful to keep a food diary for a few days of what your child is eating as this can provide some clues on areas to improve. 

Tip 3: Encouragement and Praise

Children need to be offered, and encouraged, to eat foods. Vegetables are the most often rejected food – but each vegetable needs to be offered at least eight times before becoming a trusted and accepted food. I know just how frustrating it can be to see a child eat only one pea and refuse any more but the key is repetition, encouragement and praise.  

The jury is still out on rewards. The long standing ‘eat all your vegetables and you can have some ice cream’ can do more harm than good. If this is something that you are saying most nights then it probably isn’t working. The time when rewards of this nature can work is to encourage a child to try a food. If your child is refusing to even try different fruits or vegetables, a promise of a reward can work to encourage tasting, but after this it loses its value and may even cause a child to dislike a food even more. Beware of this backfiring! Noticing when they have made an effort and commenting on this goes a long way to improving eating habits. 

Tips from other Mums!

– Be creative and use cutters to cut fruit and vegetables into shapes

– Hide the vegetables!

– Eat together as a family

– Get the children to help prepare and cook the meal. From about the age of two children can start to use peelers to peel carrots/potatoes/sweet potatoes

– Grow some vegetables in your backyard

– Make fresh fruit ice lollies – puree some watermelon and add some sliced bananas, kiwi fruit and strawberries and put in ice moulds

– Frozen peas and corn make great snacks over the warmer months

– Vegetable pizzas with different vegetable pictures, such as a garden – broccoli for trees, carrot and peas for flowers

– Lots of different vegetables in small amounts often work better than just a couple of vegetables in big quantities

Tip 4: Plan to eat fruit and vegetables 

As parents we are in the powerful position of influencing what our children eat – but of course we aren’t the only influence – and our level of influence decreases as the children get older. So start early is my advice! If children see their parents eating and enjoying plenty of fruit and vegetables, then children are more likely to do the same. Children are more likely to adopt healthy eating behaviours when they have more than one person to imitate – so recruit as many family members as possible! 

 Children are often wary of foods, particularly foods that they haven’t enjoyed previously. Dinner time can be a particularly difficult time of day to encourage children to eat as they are often tired after a long day. If this is the case try lunch time and snacks to offer new fruits and vegetables when they are likely to be more receptive. Whole pieces of fruit such as bananas, apples and pears, or offering tomato and avocado on crackers or some vegetables sticks with peanut butter or a dip, are some easy, healthy snack options. 

Tip 5: Shop together 

I know that shopping with children is often one of the least favourite things to do. It is frustrating how things can take longer, packets can jump off shelves courtesy of little hands, and tantrums can occur. Consider visiting a fruit and vegetable market or your local farmers market with your child or children as an outing and opportunity for them to choose a fruit or vegetable that is in season that they would like to try. The rule is that whatever your child chooses you must buy and prepare, and you as the parent must try the food too. 

Empowering your child to make decisions about fruits and vegetables means they are more likely to try the food because they have been involved in the process.  

Finally, consistency plays a big role in getting children to eat their fruit and vegetables. There are always going to be those days where it comes down to a boiled egg and toast for dinner – but it is all about what happens most of the time.   

Today, it is all about girl power. Heroes like Malala Yousafzai and Wonder Woman leave us in awe at just how far we have come. But what about our boys?

All around us, little girls are being empowered more and more – they are becoming more confident, more successful in school, and attaining more power and strength then ever before. But what about our boys?

Today, boys are dying earlier, performing worse in school, and committing more violence.

From birth, boys are emotionally short-changed. They are taught to suppress emotions such as fear, grief, and shame, as this would be a sign of weakness. They must always be tough and strong. ‘Real men’, after all don’t cry – they rage. As established author and sociologist Professor Thomas Scheff explained, boys learn from an early age to hide their vulnerability by acting out in anger or remaining silent. Despite our best efforts, these hyper-masculine messages are still being passed on to young boys, from friends, parents and the media.

And this of course has dire consequences. Today, boys are dying earlier, performing worse in school, and committing more violence. Studies have indeed shown that this toxic masculinity is a root cause of these problems. By teaching our boys, whether intentionally or not, to suppress their emotions, we are inadvertently setting them up for a tougher life.

And that all starts from the moment they are born.

Where does it start?

 

 According to best-selling author and family therapist Terry Real, boys are emotionally short-changed from birth. Studies have shown that “infant boys are spoken to less than girls, comforted less, nurtured less.” This is because parents, perhaps unintentionally, believe that boys are born with an innate ‘manliness’. Boys are supposedly born tougher, and do not need as much affection.

In reality however, boys and girls start off equally emotional and expressive. In fact, infant boys are slightly more emotional than girls, says Real. Studies have shown that they “cry more easily, seem more easily frustrated, appear more upset when a caregiver leaves the room.”

As boys grow, however, their emotions are dealt with more negatively. Studies show that while girls are encouraged to talk and express their frustrations, emotive boys are more likely to be physically restrained or threatened. Their insecurities are more likely to be ignored. Boys, after all, need to be trained to become ‘real men’.

Studies have shown that “infant boys are spoken to less than girls, comforted less, nurtured less.” …. Boys are supposedly born tougher, and do not need as much affection.

Despite our best efforts, we still, perhaps subconsciously, believe that men must act a certain way in our society. According to anthropologist David Gilmore, who specialises in cross-cultural masculinity, gender roles are still seen as an important social organising tool. Men and women are given particular parts to play, so that society and life itself can go on smoothly. In essence, if ‘boys will be boys’, then everything will be all right.

But is this really healthy for our boys? By teaching boys to be ‘real men’, we are arguably setting them up for a harder future. Here then are three consequences of teaching boys not to cry:

Health

 

By suppressing their emotions, men are more likely to die first. According to Rutgers psychology professor Dr. Diana Sanchez, men are more likely to ignore their medical problems as “they have a cultural script that tells them they should be brave, self-reliant, and tough.” They are far more likely to avoid going to the doctors, or lie about their symptoms so as to not appear weak.

Men are reportedly three times more likely to commit suicide, even though depression is more prevalent among women. In 2015 alone, 2,292 men took their own lives in Australia, as opposed to 735 women.

This applies to depression as well. Men are reportedly three times more likely to commit suicide, even though depression is more prevalent among women. In 2015 alone, 2,292 men took their own lives in Australia, as opposed to 735 women. It is believed that this is due to men’s reluctance to seek help for their depression, as ‘real men’ must be self-reliant and strong. ‘Real men’, after all, cannot reveal their emot

School

 

 This idea of a ‘real men’ can make school much harder for boys. In the past few decades, boys have been performing worse than girls in school. In Australia itself, boys are five times more likely to be expelled. They average lower grades then girls, particularly with writing and reading. 60 percent of Australian university students today are also women.

According to Dr. Michael Kimmel, a renowned sociologist who is today considered one of the world’s leading experts on masculinity, boys perform poorer in school largely because of how they have been socialised as men. “Boys acknowledge academic disengagement as a sign of their masculinity,” says Kimmel. ‘Real men’, in this sense, must be stoic and disinterested in general.

“Boys acknowledge academic disengagement as a sign of their masculinity.”

As Kimmel explains, “This isn’t natural to us humans – if you ever watched a two or three year old, we are naturally, unbelievably curious.” It is only when they get older, Kimmel says, that they are taught by their male role models – fathers, brothers and friends – that apathy is a true hallmark of a ‘real men’.

Violence

 

By suppressing their emotions, boys are inadvertently gearing for a more violent future.It is now a well-known fact that men commit more violent acts then women. In Australia, men are more than three times more likely to commit a violent crime. They are also more likely to be a victim of homicide or burglary, usually at the hands of other men. There are 12 times more men then women in jail right now. Simply put, you are more likely to experience violence from a man.

Indeed, violence is oftentimes the only language that does not bring them shame.

As psychology professor Dr. Arthur Markman explains, “people may become more aggressive after they have to control themselves.” Many men also feel that anger is the only emotion allowed to them – they may be in fear, or in pain, but repress this and act out in anger, for rage is strength, and strength is what makes a ‘real man’. Indeed, violence is oftentimes the only language that does not bring them shame.