The American Psychological Association (APA) has recently issued its first guideline for psychologists who work with boys and men. The organization suggests that men who ascribe to "traditional masculinity" may suffer negative consequences to their mental and physical health.
According to new reports, the APA identifies the hallmarks of traditional masculinity as "anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence." The study suggests that young boys are traditionally socialized to suppress their emotions, which apparently causes damage that echoes both inwardly and cowardly, according to the research.
The organization says that with their guidelines, they are hoping to attempt to undo some of the very real rigid bands of stereotyping that can affect therapists, therapy's utility to men and the broader understanding of why men and boys behave in certain ways. In other words, this also recognizes that both men and women can be victims as well as victimizers.
"The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful," states the APA.
It also alleged that "the more men conformed to masculine norms, the more likely they were to consider as normal risky health behaviors such as heavy drinking, using tobacco and avoid considered to be unmasculine, which can lead to psychological distress.
With that being said, there are several different ways that you can teach your child how to express his feelings. One way is to talk about your own feelings or help him label their feelings during emotionally challenging times. If there is one thing that you don’t want to do, it's scolding a child for their feelings. Instead, reinforce children when they handle them constructively. As a parent, you can also regular your own responses to situations and model feeling management.
The guidelines also note that men can be hesitant to express vulnerability and less inclined to seek therapy. The APA has previously issued guidance for working with specific groups including women and girls, older adults and transgender people.