Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boys Need Emotional Support Too

Boys are supposed to be the "tougher" of the sexes, but new research shows that they have emotional vulnerabilities as children that, when not addressed, can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, and behavior problems

When children reached 39 months, parents answered questionnaires about their child’s current behavior problems.

Moms and dads who were apt to punish their kids for their fears and frustrations were more likely to have children who were anxious and withdrawn at the time of the second assessment. And the effect was especially pronounced for boys who had been identified as having a high incidence of negative emotions at 33 months, she said.

“When parents punish their toddlers for becoming angry or scared, children learn to hide their emotions instead of showing them. These children may become increasingly anxious when they have these feelings because they know they’ll face negative consequences,” Engle said.

Children learn how to regulate and express their emotions through parental guidance. If that guidance consists of punishment or being told to "shut up," the child may experience difficulty in emotional development, which can lead to problems with anxiety and depression down the road.

In a society where mental health problems are prevalent, it is good to know that we are figuring out ways to not screw up our kids.

Sometimes a little guidance goes a long way.

No comments: