This mum's post about the way we raise our boys is a must-read

"This notion that boys can never hurt, that they can never feel, is so damaging to them long term," writes mum Jamie
"This notion that boys can never hurt, that they can never feel, is so damaging to them long term," writes mum Jamie  Photo: Getty Images

When a US mum was accused of "babying" her eight-year-old son after he was injured playing sport, it made her realise that there's still a fundamental problem with the way we're raising our little boys. 

In a post to her Facebook page, writer and producer Jaime Primak Sullivan, writes that her son, Max, was hit in the face with the basketball during a school game. 

"I saw it happen like it was slow motion," she describes. "I saw his eyes widen and then squint from the pain - he looked around trying to focus."

I knew he was looking for me, Ms Sullivan writes, adding that she instinctively jumped up to help him. At the same time, her injured little boy was running in her direction, trying to catch his breath.

"As soon as we connected," she says. "I got down on one knee." There, Ms Sullivan reminded her little one to breathe, wrapping her arms around him so he could cry onto her shoulder.

And that's when she heard the voice behind her - and the comment that left her fuming.

 "You need to stop babying that kid."

Sharing that her mind "registered the sentiment", Ms Sullivan explains that she focused on her son, cleaning his face and wiping away his tears, before sending him back to his teammates.

And then came the anger.


"This notion that boys can never hurt, that they can never feel, is so damaging to them long term," Ms Sullivan writes. "The belief that any signs or gestures of affection will somehow decrease their manhood - this pressure to always "man up" follows them into adulthood where they struggle to fully experience the broad scope of love and affection." 

Our boys, she writes, are taught that sadness is weakness and that talking about fears or failures makes them "less than."

And the consequences of this, in their formative years, reach well into the future.

"They don't mourn properly," she writes. They struggle to grieve and they're afraid to cry.  "It all spills into the way they husband and father and I hate it," Ms Sullivan says.

"Love is a verb," she writes. "It is something you do. It is not the same as babying, coddling or spoiling. It is something my son deserves. I will always love him when he is hurting and my prayer for him is that he is alway open to receiving love so he can love in return and keep that cycle going."

The New Jersey mum's powerful words have struck a chord with her followers, many agreeing that we need to encourage our boys to express - and not hide - their emotions. And to stop telling them to "man up".

"You didn't "baby" your child," one commenter wrote. "You COMFORTED him because he was hit in the face and it HURTS. You made sure he was okay. You simply LOVED your child. You also showed compassion. Sometimes, there seems to be so little of that these days!!"

" I teach my sons that it's OK to cry and show emotions!" another shared. "It's what makes us all human! They don't have to be strong all the time! And real men cry!"

Read Ms Sullivan's post in full below: