Are We Raising Emotionally Literate Boys?

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Sherri Rosen

Sherri Rosen began her own publicity firm in NYC (Www.SherriRosen.Com) more than twelve years ago. She gives
a powerful voice to people that are doing great things in the world. Sherri also writes for Gatekeepers Post, Morning Coffee at Sherri Rosen Publicity, Examiner.Com, Mr. BellersNeighborhood.Com and Triiibes.Com. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I think this issue needs to be addressed a lot more. I am very passionate about going out and speaking to these boys and explaining to them that expression emotion is not a weakness. I grew up in the hood, so I know how courageous you have to be to go against the grain to express your true self. I want to connect with a group of other men and go out and speak to these kids. I have stories about my life that they can relate to. I want to help re-define what manhood is so we can bring more emotional balance back to our society.

  2. Perhaps one problem is equating being in touch with your feelings with being in touch with a man’s feminine side.

    Perhaps changing the wording to things like “being strong enough to open up” will get more traction with guys that are conditioned to be tough and strong?

  3. James and Jason I realized after writing this piece I didn’t give any genuine examples of my sons being open. So one example I want to share, about my younger son, Eric, had 2 stepbrothers, and they were both younger than he, and he was so kind to them. He treated them like an older brother. I learned from Eric with his kindness to his stepbrothers. Eric would explain to his stepbrothers why something was wrong if they got out of line. They would listen to him.

    Also both of my boys had a bad taste of anti-seminitism when we lived in downtown Brooklyn, and I took care of it right away so it didn’t expand, but both boys never made fun of other children because they were a different religion, color, culture. They also were used to living in neighborhoods with diversity, and we would have talks about people of diverse cultures and religions.

    I actually went into therapy with the 2 boys when they were young, because i realized I wasn’t doing a good job as a single mother, meaning I was losing my patience with them and not able to support them in the way I had in the past, and therapy helped me give them more support, and helped them understand where my bad vibes were coming from.

    Also my boys were shown honesty and openness by me, unfortunately not by their father. To be honest with you, how and why they turned out to be as honest and upfront as they are I sometimes am in awe. Again, it takes a great deal of courage to be honest and open. The best thing would be if my guys would write their own story for the GMP but I doubt that will happen.

  4. To my mind we raise boys to be emotionally blocked in the usa. Conversely, we raise girls to be emotionally incontinent.

    I think everybody would be a lot healthier if men & women were raised somewhere in a functional healthy middle that taught kids to both express but master their emotions.

  5. a short audio on what this man calls “hypermasculitnity”. check it out and see if you agree from a male’s point of view.

  6. I think Jason will think that the guy hit the nail on the head!

    I think Jason is definitely on to something. Just like I think Joe Ehrmann does, as well.

  7. I’m 56. I don’t recognise that stereotype amongst my friends in all that time, although I recognise the stereotype. There are men who are open and compassionate and I’ve met many women who hard hard and bitter. What we know from psychology is that how infants are treated leads them to feel loved and able to love or afraid and potentially aggressive in adulthood. What I do recognise however is that some women want men to be more like women (the reverse of Professor Higgin’s heartfelt cry in Shaw’s Pygmalion).

    Men are every bit as emotionally literate as women, and as capable of intimacy and compassion. I’m sorry if you haven’t met many, or if the stereotype is more comforting. But it’s every bit as much a stereotype as the idea that women aren’t able to think logically. Please don’t persist in denigrating men in this way.

  8. Dear Martin, it is not my point to denigrate men. I am just sharing my personal experience with how open and honest my sons are and how I have experienced men in our culture, and worried that we aren’t paying enough attentions to our boys. It’s also great to open up a discussion like this. I agree with you that some women are hard and bitter, but we need to find a balance between both. Thank you for your feedback.

    • Hi Sherri, thanks for drawing my attention to your reply. I appreciate your response.

      I accept that it’s not your intention to denigrate men, but I think you might be upset if I wrote an article asking: “Are we raising girls to think logically?”

      The idea that men aren’t emotionally literate is as bad a stereotype as the idea that women can’t think straight. If it’s your personal experience that’s what it is. You can’t really ask the question you have asked based purely on personal experience, not logically. You’re extrapolating from your personal experience to stereotype all men (or boys). You CAN ask “Why don’t I meet emotionally literate men?”, because that’s your personal experience. And that’s all it is.

      I think there’s a tendency in society for some men to think everyone should be like them, and for some women to think everyone should be like them. Some men think many men should “man up” and those men tend to think that women who want equality should be more like men and not emote pointlessly about everything. And that’s no more sensible, justified or empathetic than a women thinking that an “emotionally literate” man would be more like them.

      We do things differently, that’s all. The important question is whether we respect an accommodate those differences in the way we live, work, play and pray in order to reflect the fundamental moral imperative that we all view human beings as being of equal worth.

      • Martin I wouldn’t be upset if you wrote something about women, because you would hopefully be curious and invite other people’s thoughts, feelings and idea into a dialogue.. You are posing a question and asking other people for their point of view. That is how we learn from one another, don’t we?

  9. Tom Brechlin says:

    “The old ways of raising our boys aren’t working—and I worry that the advancement of technology discourages verbal face-to-face communication even more.”

    I will definitely agree with the latter part of this statement but it applies to everyone, not just boys/men.

    Now for the “old ways” comment …. What do you consider the “old ways?” Do you mean the real old ways of intact families? Or do you mean the “old ways” being the family structure since the evolution of feminism where an astronomical number of boys have been and are being raised without an active dad in their lives? Old ways number one being pre-feminist movement beginning in the 60’s and old ways number two being post feminist movement beginning in the 60’s.

    In my case, I am a product of pre-feminism and can say that I am every bit as emotionally literate as women, and as capable of intimacy and compassion. I come from the “real old ways.”

    Curious, how do you think that this article would be received at numerous feminist sites?

    Where as I commend you and the many who write similar articles to benefit the development of our male youth and adults, something I don’t see is any connection much less accountability for 40 years of feminisms and the adverse affects it’s had on our male youth and men.

    Feminism appears to be shown in a radiant light of success yet we see countless studies that have shown the negative impacts it’s had on males. At what point are we going to call it like it is? I’m really getting tired of the “modern” feminists ignoring the role feminism has had in this mess?

    To put it bluntly and I hope the following statement doesn’t cause my response to be disallowed but much of feminism for the past 40 years castrated men, it’s not as simple as sewing their balls back.

    As a grandfather, I can understand your concerns as a grandmother; I have the same for my grandsons.

  10. Tom Brechlin says:

    Hey Sherri, did you know your response to me ended up in the trash? Not exactly sure why, I didn’t see anything offensive about it. Check it out and see if it can be posted again?

    • GMP will try again responding to Tom.

      I agree with you with Feminism. The way it began released women from their prisons but it became something else than when it started and i agree with you Tom that it began to castrate men, and now there is an imbalance in our culture.

      There are some young boys and men that i have met that are open, honest, kind and wonderful. but not many.

Speak Your Mind