I am a movement artist, a mom and an advocate, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with Terrence Real, the author of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression,” about some parenting challenges we have been facing.

I wanted to pass forward what I learned with other parents of boys. Our generation of moms is breaking the cycle of damage from generations past – those of the “man up” mentality. I see you, millennials, and I offer my solidarity.

Real empowered our family and our son’s future by coaching us on two aspects: encouraging and supporting our son’s sensitivity, and “socializing the savages” (by standing up to the grandiosity and entitlement that come up). It is the parents’ and the school’s responsibility to respond to offensive and difficult behaviors, and we are often left to wonder how to be proactive moving forward, post-pandemic.

Sensitivity is a superpower, and it is time we nurture and encourage it in all children. When my son shows aggression in the future, I will ask him; “What does x (what you did just now) feel like to y (the other person)?” This tool will teach our son empathy and to pay attention to other people.

I look forward to reading Terrence’s books and hope this empowers another parent the way it helped us.

Betsy Haskell
Topsham


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