… The researchers found that girls had positive expectations for how talking about problems would make them feel, such as expecting to feel cared for, understood and less alone. On the other hand, boys did not endorse some negative expectations more than girls, such as expecting to feel embarrassed, worried about being teased, or bad about not taking care of the problems themselves. Instead, boys reported that talking about problems would make them feel “weird” and like they were “wasting time.”
Shocking, I know.
… parents also should realize that they may be ‘barking up the wrong tree’ if they think that making boys feel safer will make them confide. Instead, helping boys see some utility in talking about problems may be more effective,” Rose said. “On the other hand, 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.”
The takeaway for parents: Encourage boys to realize that sometimes talking is helpful and remind girls not to dwell obsessively over their problems.
What about college application essays?
Students writing their college application essays are often encouraged to write with great feeling about a problem that they overcame. Boys might tend to have more difficulty with this topic. Dr. Helen wrote about this in her post titled Does the College Essay Suck the Life Out of Boys?
One thing that caught my eye was how hard and depressing it was for the son to try and write the college essay. Many of the colleges ask for an essay about the student’s “inner life”–usually a buzz word for some kind of sappy self-absorbed nonsense where the student “took a risk” of some kind and went on to become a better person or some variation of that theme.
I can relate to this story and perhaps other parents of sons can also. Not to worry, this is where essay tutors who charge $2,500 for 5 one-hour sessions can help you out.