Why the Differences?  Here’s one reason

How many times have we heard the lament, “But he never talks about his feelings.” And in many ways this lament is the truth but most people don’t have a clue why. Enter Shelly Taylor, PhD of UCLA. Taylor did the first research specifically on women and stress and found that women respond significantly differently from men. While men are more prone to “fight or flight” Taylor found that women are not inclined to follow suit. Women, she found, are more likely to “Tend and Befriend.” That is, women are more likely to move towards other people and interact. In other words they are more likely to talk about it! All too often this leaves women wondering why men and boys don’t do the same thing. But alas! Men and boys have very different ways to process things. You can learn more about those things by reading Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: Understanding The Unique World of Boys. Find out the ways men and boys use “Fight or Flight” to process their upset.

Striving for Status

“My son wants to win. Nearly all the time. When he doesn’t he gets upset. He won’t quit playing his video game until he reaches level 22. Food, rest, drink, nothing stops him.” I hear this often from parents. They scratch their heads about their boys being intent on coming in first or as close to the top as he can make it. Why is this?

Improved research techniques have revealed that testosterone is less about aggression or violence, and is more about striving for status. Wanting to be on top. This has been fuel for men for centuries to compete against each other to do things such as explore, research, create music, architecture or just about any other endeavor. Cultures worldwide have been created through this sort of energy. So when you see your boys striving for status understand they come by it honestly.

BIG BOYS DON’T CRY – and the good reasons for it

The first reason is that when boys go through puberty and get elevated testosterone levels their access to their emotional tears goes down. Basically, when boys are 12 they lose some of their connection with their emotional tears. My experience in working with boys and young men in therapy has shown me that they continue to experience the same emotional pain, but don’t have the tears as a way to release the pain. Boys that just a few years before could cry very easily, and did, now find it more difficult. The tears seem to have dried up. Big boys don’t cry.

The second reason is that boys and men live in a hierarchical world. The same testosterone that seems to have limited their tears now is pushing them to strive for status. Yes, for years scientists have unsuccessfully tried to tie testosterone in with aggression but that never worked out. The present view on testosterone is that it pushes boys and men to strive for status, to win, to compete, to come in first. So tell me, is crying in public a sign of winning or losing? If you cry in public do you appear dependent or independent? Clearly you look dependent and boys will work to avoid appearing this way since our culture, and most women, value them for their status not their emoting. Therefore boys and men will continue to strive for status in order to succeed and to impress the women.

If women were to suddenly shift and want to marry and have sex with men who were sensitive, and emotional you would likely see men change very quickly. But the way it is now, men are valued based on their status, how much money, power, prestige they might have. Crying in public is the antithesis of that. Big boys don’t cry.