Teasing Boys, part 2

boy on chair, hiding face

One of the posts that has gotten the most attention ever on this blog is 8 Ways to Tease a Boy Out of a Bad Mood. A few days ago, commenter Taariq made this point:

I wonder if this doesn’t teach him to suppress his real feelings and emotions.
Bad moods, like good moods, come and go quite naturally.
So maybe we can learn and pass on to our kids that like all else, “This too shall pass”.

My first reaction was “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that before.” Which led to an interesting train of thought that I’m going share with you, Internets. Hubby has to listen to me enough already. 😉

I am completely fine with boys having bad moods and tell them so regularly. I don’t believe that any emotion is “good” or “bad”. Anger is not good or bad on its own. Rather, what you do when you’re angry is important and it is right for people to be held responsible for their behavior when angry.

There are two reasons why I work to get boys out of bad moods.

      1. To give them some tools they can use on their own

2. To help them get “unstuck” from a bad mood.

It’s sad to watch the boys sabotage their own day because they’ve taken the “I’m angry” stand and don’t know how to retreat. Heck, I get stuck in moods sometimes and even though I want to cheer up it’s very difficult without some outside help. Hubby, by the way, can be merciless when it comes to this – he’ll tease until you laugh so you may as well join him and make the first joke. Yes, that can be mighty irritating at the time, but I’ve come to believe that sacrificing my pride to return to balance and contentment is a worthwhile exchange.

Early in our marriage I found myself repeatedly confronted with the choice to joke or pout. Joking seemed like a classier way of handling things (I’ll admit that early jokes were quite pointed), and from there I learned not to take life so seriously.

As a dyed-in-the-wool Type A very…ummmm “structured” personality, learning to be flexible in my outlook has been a long and difficult process. I hope to spare my boys some of that difficulty by teaching them young to laugh. I’ve got a long way to go, but I do like me now much better than the person I was 13 years ago. So that’s why we tease the boys when they’re in bad moods. 🙂

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to help boys be cheerful.

Image courtesy of Myrrien via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Ginger December 16, 2008, 9:51 am

    Hi Amy, just read your blog on GNMParents and I just wanted to let you know, I hear you and I’m proud of your son (and you), too! I sometimes say I’m looking forward to my son driving so I can take the car away as a consequence to whatever may arise in those teenage years! Thanks for your great blogs — missed the entitlement one but can’t wait to read it… the bane of my parenting existence… — Ginger

    Reply
  • Amy December 17, 2008, 12:49 am

    Ginger,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it. 🙂 As for waiting for driving to take the car away…that’s a good one. But you don’t have to wait, assuming your kid is 12 or older. Get a ratty bathrobe, a shower cap, and some bright red lipstick. All you have to do from there is put it on and show up in public somewhere to embarrass your kid. For bonus points, drive a really ugly car and pick him up from a social event.

    Heh, heh, heh.

    Reply
  • Mogs December 18, 2008, 5:33 am

    True, “bad moods” may not be bad; but generally if we had a choice between the two we would choose to be in a good mood. As such suppression is not the answer; but like you said helping them develop tools to help them actively control which mood they (at least partly) choose to be in.

    Reply
  • Amy December 20, 2008, 5:44 pm

    Mogs, yes! Excellent points all. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

    Reply
  • Kim December 23, 2008, 10:51 pm

    I agree with helping kids (boys and girls) get “unstuck” from a bad mood. Our emotions are valid; it is what we choose to do with them that makes a difference.

    As for suppression vs getting “unstuck”, once the high drama of the situation is over, a lucid and calm discussion can be had with the child. This has worked so very well with my students over the years. I make sure they understand that I value their emotions and allow them to tell me how they feel in respectful and useful ways rather than in a grumpy and combative manner. Then we talk about how to resolve the situation that lead to the emotions.

    Reply
  • Amy December 26, 2008, 7:26 pm

    Kim, your students are very blessed to have someone who can help them through rough spots with so much love and respect.

    Reply
  • Old Watch Lover February 18, 2009, 1:01 pm

    Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  • Vintage Rolex Dude February 19, 2009, 8:57 am

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    Reply
  • Amy February 22, 2009, 12:54 am

    Old Watch Lover, you’re welcome.

    Vintage Rolex Dude, you’re welcome to quote a snippet with attribution and a link back. 🙂

    Reply
  • Applebees February 28, 2009, 7:06 am

    I must say that you provide genuine, quality information. Thanks for this!

    BTW, dpn’t you think your blog needs a better wordpress template?

    Reply