This B.C. Mom Thinks That Shaming Emotional Boys Could Breed Emotionally Stunted Men

Oct 25, 2019

Four days ago, an Abbotsford, British Columbia, mother named Caitlin Fladager posted a photo to Instagram.

In it, she's hugging her son. 

But he doesn't look joyful. 

Perhaps he's sad, withdrawn or tired. Who knows? Kids have a lot of expressions.

The reason she posted the picture was to discuss manhood, masculinity, parenting and the future of men. All in one picture. 

She wrote in the caption: 

"I'm so tired of being told I 'baby' my son. Ever since I had him, he's been a momma's boy." 

It turns out, he's four years old and people in her orbit have a lot of opinions about how a boy his age should act.

In short, they want her boy to be more 'like a man.' And this mom is basically saying "um, no." 

On Raising a 'Momma's Boy'

The caption continued, "Now with him being four, he gets hurt? Her runs crying for mommy. He's sick? He wants all the cuddles. He's overtired and fighting his sleep? I'm climbing into bed with him until he calms down."

This is how she parents, but as you are probably well aware — there is no one way to parent, but there is no shortage of opinions on how to do it. 

In the end, everyone is figuring it out as they go along, right? 

On Masculinity 

Fladager has a lot to say about manhood, because her child is a boy and she feels like, well, he's a boy so he doesn't need to act in any other way than he does. 

"I’m constantly told I need to let him 'be a man.' Or let him learn he can’t cry. Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s a load of sh—t. ⁣⁣He will always be my baby. I will always validate his feelings. I will always kiss his boo-boos better. I am teaching my kids that their feelings are important. That they can cry when they are upset. That they can call on me anytime, and I will come running with arms open. I’m teaching that to both my daughter and son."⁣

She's Ready to Ignore You

There's an old saying about opinions, which you've probably heard. It ends with "everyone has one" and truly, it's true. But what this mom has decided to do is cut through the clutter and ignore opinions about her boy. They aren't hers, and she doesn't agree with them. And her parenting style — of letting her child emote — doesn't seem to be hurting anyone, so she writes:

"So, I will ignore your judgmental looks. ⁣⁣I will ignore you telling me I baby him too much. ⁣⁣I will ignore you telling me I need to 'toughen him up.' ⁣⁣ He is my child. He is not 'weak' or less than for showing emotion and needing me. I am raising him to know men can cry too. Men can have needs too. Men can get overwhelmed too." ⁣⁣

The Future of Men

I think any parent who is bombarded with opinions is probably emotionally and mentally fed up. Some people just thrive on giving unsolicited feedback. But this mother worries that the messages she's getting are part of a larger problem — one that could be responsible for the emotional capacity of these boys when they grow up into the men they were supposed to be at the age of four. She finished her post with these words, which many commenters found quite powerful:

"Maybe if tearful little boys were comforted instead of shamed, we wouldn’t have so many men struggling to emphasize with emotions."

What do you think? Do you have a different opinion about raising boys? What does 'be a man' mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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