A new study involving the feelings habits of 2,000 children and teenagers was conducted by the University of Missouri that found that boys and men find talking about their feelings a completely unproductive waste of time.
Previously, prior to my actually having a son, I would have argued, like many currently are on the Internet, that this is a “learned behavior” and that we need to do a better job creating a safer environment for our sons to safely discuss their feelings.
Now, five years into parenting a perfectly normal, loving and affectionate son, I kinda think that all that “hating to talk about their feelings” that I’ve experienced in my brothers, father, boyfriends, male friends, coworkers, bosses is just somehow built into their DNA. Some more extreme than others, with those on Autism and Aspergers spectrum on one extreme and a sensitive metrosexual in touch with his feminine side on the other extreme.
When we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys responses suggest that they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity, states the press release.
Not only do males think talking about their feelings is a complete waste of time, they think talking about OUR feelings is a complete waste of time, not to mention irritating, annoying and a total buzz kill, judging from my personal experience.
Girls, on the other hand, the study found, find incessantly talking about their feelings to be endlessly fascinating. But, is it really productive?
I’ve started to wonder this myself, as my daughter has lately sought more and more attention from her negative feelings, wanting me to care deeply about this complaint and that complaint, wanting me to put so much energy in things I really think she should learn to let go. I’ve often told her that people who focus so much on these types of feelings, never find happiness and gratitude. I’ve even made her do chores like clean the bathrooms for expressing her feelings (read: incessant complaining) so continuously that it starts to ruin my day.
The study supports what I had begun to suspect.
Many girls are at risk for excessive problem talk, which is linked with depression and anxiety, so girls should know that talking about problems isn’t the only way to cope.
Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach at www.traceesioux.com. She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.