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‘Boys need to know it’s ok to be human.’ Help them learn emotional intelligence in 5 ways

Emotional intelligence is important for kids’ success.

Stereotypically, boys are taught to be tough… to push through the pain and pick themselves back up. Perhaps even hide what they’re really feeling. This common perception of masculinity is being challenged by individuals like former Philadelphia Eagle center, Jason Kelce.

During a recent press conference announcing his retirement, Jason, along with his brother Travis Kelce, displayed a level of emotional openness that is often considered atypical for men. This public display of emotion begs the question, what did mama Kelce do to raise such emotionally available boys?

Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson shared her insights.


The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Heather shared research that shows that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than IQ when it comes to children being successful. However, societal pressures often suppress boys’ emotional expression, hindering their ability to develop a high EQ.

Although we’ve made a lot of progress within the last decade, Heather believes boys have been told in the past, and even sometimes now, that emotions are bad and should be suppressed. This societal pressure creates a huge gap between what boys actually feel and what is deemed acceptable for them to express.

As a result, boys start at a deficit, struggling to reconcile their true emotions with societal expectations.

Encouraging Emotional Expression in Boys

To help boys develop a higher EQ, Heather said it’s important to create a safe space for them to express their emotions. Parents and grandparents may need to put extra energy towards helping boys understand and manage their emotions.

“We want to teach our boys not just, ‘oh, you’re feeling mad,’” Heather said, “We’ve got to teach them what to do with that emotion. But they have to have the space to feel first.”

Heather believes arranging opportunities for boys to play with girls can be beneficial. When boys play with girls, they get to see a different side of emotion and learn from it.

While it’s important to encourage emotional expression in boys, it’s equally important to avoid extremes. Boys should be taught to be self-reliant and strong, but also emotionally available.

Heather said, “We want a really great balance. We want them to be self-reliant. We want them to be strong and tough in the right ways and also know that it’s okay to be human.”

Raising emotionally available boys requires a balanced approach that encourages emotional expression while also teaching boys how to manage their emotions effectively. Heather said that by doing so, we can help boys develop a higher EQ, setting them up for success in the future.

To contact Heather for counseling, email blog.familyvolley@gmail.com, or visit www.familyvolley.blogspot.com.

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