Why It’s Crucial to Model Emotional Intimacy for Boys
Emma Brown in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On
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In this episode, Andrew is joined by Emma Brown, the author of To Raise A Boy, to discuss what can be done preemptively during childhood to curb toxic masculinity.
From the episode:
Emma Brown: There’s some research that suggests that boys who believe more strongly in traditional ideas about masculinity, about toughness and strength and so on, are less likely to ask for help for their mental health needs. And that could be a reason why we see those really astronomical suicide rates among men. It’s also pretty amazing—there’s this research by a scholar at New York University who studies friendship among boys and adolescents, who found that boys want these deep and intimate relationships with friends just as much as girls do.
But when they reach adolescence, when they become sort of middle teenagers, they lose those friendships in many cases and can’t get them back and crave them. And it’s just at that point when she noticed that boys are starting to lose those intense and intimate friendships that the suicide rate first spikes over and above girls. And so for me as a parent, I think it’s really important for me and my husband to model emotional intimacy with our son and with one another and with the friends that we have in our lives, so that he gets to see what that looks like and what that feels like.
Emma Brown is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post. In her life before journalism, she worked as a wilderness ranger in Wyoming and a middle school math teacher in Alaska. She lives with her husband and two children in Washington, DC.