Parents Need To Drop The Phrase 'Be A Man' To Change The Dynamic Between Men And Women

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Ask any man, and he's probably been told to "man up" at least once in his life.

It's a term often thrown around when a young man is crying in physical pain or caught complaining. And it's damaging.

In the 2014 documentary, "The Mask You Live In," former NFL player Joe Ehrmann got real about the phrase that has shaped masculinity and boyhood in America.

"The three most destructive words that every man receives when he's a boy, is when he's told to 'be a man.'"

Time and time again, boys are told to prove themselves: in front of their peers, coaches, teachers and parents. And this comes with pressure to hide all emotion. Tears, sadness and frustration are often seen as a feminine quality that can make a young man look weak. As a result, these boys feel ashamed, and trap their feelings inside, never to talk about challenges.

And this isn't right. What can we do to destroy this term from our parenting vocabulary and make sure boys feel more secure and safe with themselves growing up?

group of boys

In the video above, author and clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary says parents need to teach their children about shifting the dynamic between boys and girls and adopt "an androgynous approach."

This begins with dropping the phrases "Come on, 'man-up,'" and "Don't act like a girl."

Dr. Tsabary says it's time we teach our daughters to tap into their masculine and assertive side, and tell our sons it's OK to show emotion and be vulnerable.

Because being a man is being able to express yourself to the fullest.

For more, watch the video above.

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