Jason had experienced the death of his 16 year old best friend to suicide two months prior. His parents were worried about him. They hadn’t seen a tear from him and that just didn’t make sense to them. He didn’t talk much about it either. They thought that maybe some therapy would be good for him. Jason didn’t think so. That was the last thing he wanted. So the parents went to see a therapist on their own to try and get some ideas about what they could do for their son. They were shocked at what they heard.
The therapist told them that with the onset of higher levels of testosterone in puberty that young men cried much less than their sisters. The testosterone basically diminishes the boy’s ability to get his tears flowing. He has the same emotions but no tears to release them. Apparently this impact of testosterone lasts for much of a man’s life. As his testosterone levels begin to drop he starts to get his tears back but even in his 60’s or beyond he may still not have the same access as his wife. There is a huge variability with this. Some men will have plenty of tears but most will be like this young man. The therapist basically said don’t worry about the tears, worry about his actions. Is he getting out? Is he being with his friends? They found out that Jason was more likely to be working out his grief with his peers than with his parents.
Learn more about this in Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: Understanding the Unique World of Boys. There are many other reasons that Jason is not showing tears and not talking about his emotions. Know them and you will get closer and he will really appreciate it!