A Father’s Manual to Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys

Ever wondered why is it that a good number of people from the current generation do not have a good relationship with their fathers?

Although it is more prevalent in boys, girls too face similar issues!

However, for the purposes of today’s topic, I will only stick to boys and how a father’s role can affect their emotional stability throughout life.

Majority of this deep-rooted issue arises from the gender-based roles of parenting that society puts on men. As per the gender norms surrounding parenting, fathers are supposed to be distant, authoritarian and cold figures who are only there to discipline you and occasionally, give you some tough love.

What’s more is that from a societal point of view, they are expected to spend hours at work and only actively be a part of their son’s life when it is time to measure their worth through academics or competitions.

Even though things have slightly changed in recent years, fathers are still thought of as the ‘Man of the House’.  While this is extremely sad and patriarchal, it is still the perception of a majority of the people around us.

Due to this societal perception of men having to be a certain way as fathers, a lot of boys are now suffering from issues like emotional unavailability and the inability to express emotions.

Therefore, is being cold and distant really the right approach towards making your boys emotionally healthy? Or is it simply a recipe for disaster?

Let’s find out!

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Boys?

If you’re a father struggling his way through parenting in hopes of raising an emotionally healthy boy, here are some tips and tricks that will work for you:

1. Refrain From Saying Things Like “Crying is for Girls’

Always give your son the opportunity to express his feelings. And NO, crying is not for girls. Both men and women have the right to cry when they are in pain or overwhelmed with emotions.

Allowing your son to feel emotions like grief, sorrow and sadness is perhaps one of the best things that you can do as a father. This is because expressing his emotions from an early age will eliminate the chances of him being an emotionally unavailable human being for the rest of his life.

I suggest every parent start this practice early. Give them the freedom to fall, let them cry in the process and be there to pick them up. Tell them it’s OKAY to cry, and that crying is not a symbol of weakness.  

This will hopefully enable them to comprehend that even boys cry when they feel pain, be it physical or emotional. The ability to deal with negative emotions effectively can open doors to healthy relationships in the future.

Recent studies have shown that boys who have been brought up by strict and distant fathers grow up to be more emotionally unavailable than those who have had the chance to express their emotions while growing up.

2. Accept them As They Are!

It is not necessary for your child to be a part of the school’s football team. Let him choose his own thing. Even if it involves dropping him off at a dance class after school, or being a part of the drama club per se.

Try to give them space to grow into the individuals they want to become. All you have to do is be there to guide them through right and wrong.

Your child should be able to see you as a safe haven. If he ever faces any problem in the future, he should be able to approach you without feeling an immense amount of intimidation. A lot of the time, children cause more damage by trying to fix issues on their own rather than seeking out their parents’ help.

So, accepting them as they are will make them open up to you more!

3. Be Available

It’s true that as working adults, you too have bad days at work. Or you may be working long hours to provide for your family. However, it is equally important to be as available for your boys as possible.

So what you really need is an attitude shift!

No matter the persona you carry at the office, but when you’re home, you shouldn’t be the stern and formal person you are at work. Be the fun dad you always wanted to be and see the trust grow between you both.

An hour or two will also do if you end up spending some quality time with him. There is so much that you could do during that time, like – go bowling, watch a movie or do an activity that you both particularly enjoy.

4. Show Physical Affection

Hug your children! Chances are you need the hug more than they do after a tough day at work.

Do not hold back from showing him some physical affection, for he will apply the same method when it is his turn to be a dad.

So go ahead and show some physical affection to your boys. Did they ace an exam? Give them a kiss on the head. Is something getting them down? Give them a long hug!

Let them understand that showing physical affection is a crucial part of telling people that you love them.

5. Let Go

No, you do not have to be the controlling father that your dad used to be while you were growing up. More than anyone, you know yourself that it did more damage than good.

Learn to let go of the controlling demeanour and let them be on their own. Yes, they will make mistakes but you will be there to help them learn from their errors.

So, start by telling them the difference between good and bad from an early age and let them do their own thing. This way, they will learn to respect the fact that you trust them and they will do the same with you.

6. Treat Your Partner Right

I cannot stress how important this is for your boy to grow up into an emotionally healthy person. Treat your partner with respect and love, and he shall do the same with his female friends and his partner in the future. But treat your wife badly and you will see him unravel the same behaviour with his partner in front of you in the future.

Wrapping Up

Today, we have the power in our hands to shape how the future generation is going to be.

So I urge every parent out there to guide your boys into becoming emotionally healthy beings by giving them the right amount of love and affection. The world is cruel enough on its own. Do not be an added burden to their emotional instability by being cold and rude towards them. Because the truth is, boys are as fragile as girls. So, let’s all adopt effective parenting techniques to raise emotionally healthy boys for our society.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

11 thoughts on “A Father’s Manual to Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys

  1. I love reading and learning about subjects like this being a single mom trying to raise a good boy. My extremely abusive husband was also an absentee father most of my marriage. Being a lazy, alcoholic man, he was usually in a bar or strip club and rarely made enough money to provide fir me and my girls. Then many years later after having a boy he was only interested in the sports/athletic perspective and was still a lazy non-provider while I continued to work 2-3 jobs on & off the books because of his threatening and bullying ways. My son who was mostly with me while younger because I worked in education, was a loving, kind and well adjusted kid. Since my separation from his father my son has the Wright of the world on him and says he can’t be happy even though he has many things to be happy for, like his beautiful girlfriend, playing a sport in college, that I’m saving our home from foreclosure that his father put us in 6 Yrs ago, that I provided everything that he needs regardless of his father not paying child support regularly. I talk with my son about therapy but his father has put it in his head that it can’t be with a woman therapist and my son doesn’t want to pay for it or let me.
    I will keep reading and learning how to help my son to become a smart, respectful, responsible, loving, open minded, good man.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I really appriciated it. I hope you would keep on doing these very important lessons to us fathers to be a good father to our kids.

  3. Thanks for the point’s raised.
    If outside family interfere, that family member, needs to be addressed.

  4. Thank you that inspired message but I not have boys I have one daughter and she have three boys and I have a wonderful father who raise six kids and three were boys and we ate so thankfully for him he did a awesome with us all and my childhood was beautiful and if both parents were here I would tell thank you for how you two raise me so much love from them both glad gave them two to me smiles

  5. Just those words that’s just what needed I’m a moment of 4 kids I never raised them it’s always been like that I’m always running away from my problems and my responsibilities that stops now thanks to those wonderful words

  6. Thank you so much for this insight.
    I have been working day and night shifts ever since my son was born up until 3yrs ago when his mother and my long term partner then at the time passed away from a epileptic seizure spasm that stopped her heart completely beside me as I woke up for work in the morning she was only 48 yrs old but suffered seizures throughout her life . So i never really had time to spend with my boy as while on shift i was working weekend as well as throughout the week. Because I have had to come off shift work onto pernament days where I can take him to academy before going into work and be home in the evenings for him.. I do miss her so much. My son is 15 now so when i can afford it we do things together.

  7. This is a very important message to the fathers who are raising the boy child who have for a long time neglected focus being on the girl child. It is an animal kingdom rule that a male learns how to hunt from its father.

  8. I agree with what you say. Boys or men should cry or feel sad. I feel it is so wonderful to have a loving man in your life. This stems from childhood. Thank you for your wonderful message.

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