A dad’s perspective on how to support a boy’s wellbeing
For the most part, men are still not expected or encouraged to spend time focusing on their feelings, or acknowledging that they may need support for their mental health and wellbeing.
However, there is an upside to this – dads could be the best people to support their own sons. As a father, one of the most important things you can do is simply open the lines of communication.
Here are 5 tips to help you get the conversation started.
- Express yourself first
Let your son know this conversation will not be a one-way street.
- Consider your environment
Time and place is important. Try not to put your son on the spot – he may become defensive
- Resist the urge to ‘fix’
If he needs advice, he’ll ask.
- Listen without prejudice
Effective listening involves empathising, and avoiding judgmental comments.
- Give it time
Don’t give up. Dads who role model and persist in helping their sons to open up and seek support are vital in changing young men’s ideas about, and attitudes to, their own mental health and wellbeing.
Sam Loy is a youth worker with a wealth of experience working with young men and boys. He is a speaker and also produces the popular Human/Ordinary podcast. This article is about Wellbeing
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