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cheebdragon's avatar

Are little boys usually very emotional?

Asked by cheebdragon (15442 points ) January 30th, 2014 from iPhone

My son is 8 years old and I’m pretty sure that he is more emotional than I have ever been in my entire life. Just using the wrong tone of voice will make him cry or hurt his feelings. He wants to argue about everything but when you get to the point of being even slightly aggravated by it, then he starts getting very emotional. Sometimes it feels like he is trying to manipulate the situation but othertimes it seems like he is just very sensitive. Is this typical boy behavior?

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18 Answers

janbb's avatar

I had two boys – one was something like that, one not. I don’t think there is a typical boy.

dxs's avatar

I was. I guess it’s just development.

pleiades's avatar

His amygdala is well developed. He’ll get to a point where he understands the differences of your tone when he’s well more informed about your expectations and his capabilities of meeting those. For now, it’s developed to the point of his survival. Later on when he’s able to control his emotions you’ll see he has a knack for easily “reading” people and having a heightened sense of their mood. Perhaps one day see if he’s interested in being a psychiatrist later on down the road!

Cruiser's avatar

Like @janbb I had one that was highly sensitive and one that was very independent. In hindsight certain events early on could have had an effect on my one son that caused him to be more emotional. Do not take this personally but do take the time to do some research into highly emotional children and the role a parent can play in not only influencing this behavior but how you can learn ways to teach your child better coping strategies and yourself on how to best parent a highly emotional child. I wish I had at that age and would have saved me 4 years of pulling my hair out not knowing why my son was so difficult and emotional.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Boys are sensitive and emotional until unevolved self-important others teach them that they are inadequate and abnormal for caring about their own feelings and the feelings of others. They are often easily conditioned to avoid scorn and criticism by hurting others when they feel these feelings or observe them in other boys. As long as we fear that boys with turn out gay if they acknowledge or express tender feelings. Sad but often true!

livelaughlove21's avatar

What is a “typical” boy? Would you be equally as concerned if he were a girl? If not, then leave him be.

Is it typical boy behavior? Well, it’s typical human behavior to have emotions, and some humans express theirs more than others, so I guess so.

Not all boys are rough, tough, emotionless creatures. Not all girls are dainty and sensitive. And that’s a good thing.

cookieman's avatar

I was very sensitive. Cried at the drop of a hat.

Is it typical? I think there is no “typical”.

cheebdragon's avatar

There are times when I ask him to do something, he starts arguing, I tell him why he needs to do it, he argues that he doesn’t understand why, so I explain it again, but he still wants to know why, this will go on until I finally snap and say something like “jesus, no more talking! at all! just do it”....then he cries and wants to know why I was mean to him….and inside my head I want to scream. I usually try to walk away from the situation before it gets any worse. It is so fucking frustrating sometimes…..he is so much like his dad.
With his dad, if I’m trying to tell him about something and I give him all the details that I know, he will still ask questions, I just told him everything I know, so why in the fuck would asking a question suddenly make more knowledge of an event appear in my mind?

Maybe it’s me and I just don’t like questions.

Cruiser's avatar

@cheebdragon Keep things simple and under your control. His repeated questions are his way of getting attention. Acknowledge his wonderful curiosity and his smart young man questions and then give him only two choices for what you want or need him to do and only give positive feedback when he makes a correct one. If he persists in his questions or objections…ignore them! Do Not react to his additional objections…walk away if you have to. He should soon respond more to your positive praise of his expected behavior.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t all boys are usually anything, consider each as an individual.

funkdaddy's avatar

It is so fucking frustrating sometimes…..he is so much like his dad.

He’s just starting to figure out who he is, and probably doesn’t want to be “just like” anyone, especially if that person frustrates you. You’re the most important person in his world.

If he’s asking too many questions, turn it around and ask him a few things. What does he think the best way to tackle the task you gave him is?. Who else is going to do it if he doesn’t? What does he want to do after he gets done?

He doesn’t want to be dismissed.

anniereborn's avatar

Sounds like maybe your issues with his dad are making thing worse between you and your son.

gorillapaws's avatar

@cheebdragon This is just an idea, but try using the Socratic method. Instead of telling him why, ask him leading questions so that he may discover the truth for himself. Caveat: I’m not a parent, and would probably be a pretty lousy babysitter, so feel free to disregard this suggestion.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ I am a parent and enthusiastically endorse the use of the Socratic method.

@cheebdragon: Explain only once. When your oh-so-clever son then asks, “Why,” ask him back, “Why do you think”?

snowberry's avatar

Just another thought: By asking lots and lots of questions this could be an attempt to change the subject, and maybe he won’t have to do what you want him to do. And then of course when he’s forced to do it anyway, he cries. Sounds like something one of my kids would have done.

You could try saying, “You know, I’d love to talk all about this…AFTER you’ve done the job. Now hop to it so we can have that chat!”

cheebdragon's avatar

I hate the “why are you being mean to me?” thing, I keep telling him I’m not trying to be mean…..this is our conversation last night and pretty much everytime he argues it follows a similar path…
“I just explained why you need to hang up your clothes, I just washed them and put half of them away, you can help by hanging up a few of them”.....“but I don’t know how”...“you’ve done it before, I know you do”....“I don’t know how”....“then I will show you again, see”....“but why do I have to do it?”....“because I need you to help me right now, it’s only a few items of clothing, please just do it”...“but I don’t know how”...“we went over this 30 seconds ago, you do know how.”....“I don’t understand why I have to”.........at this point I get pissed. “Monroe just hang up the clothes please! I have a lot to get done today, can you please just help since they are your clothes!”....“why are you being so mean to me?” And he starts crying…...“Monroe, it’s just clothes, it’s not that big of a deal for you to hang up a few clothes, please stop crying”....“that’s not why I’m crying”...“then why are you crying” ...“because you were bei g mean”...“I explained why you needed to do it, I explained how to do it, I explained why again, but you still wouldn’t do it, Im not trying to be mean, but you need to help me with this today. End of discussion, please go do it!”...“but”.....“no more talking Monroe”....“but”....“no”....“that’s not even what I was going to say”....“what were you going to say?”...“I love you”....“I love you too Monroe”....“then why are you being so mean?”......at this point I’m thinking holy fuck Why did I quit smoking?

gailcalled's avatar

The only non-declarative sentence in your description above is “Why did I quit smoking?”.

Stop telling him anything.

Some suggestions;

“Luv (or “sweetie), do you think we have a problem?”

“What do you think our problem is?”

“Why do you think I am asking you to hang up your clothes?”

“Luv (,,,) do you have any good solutions?”

“Why do you think I’m being mean? Can you tell me how I can ask you to help without sounding mean?”

“Where would you like to help? Hanging up clothes? Making bed? Drying dishes? Taking out the trash? What do you think is fair.”

There is “Do you think I should do it all and you nothing”? but though better of such a loaded question.

This is a technique that forces the partner in the conversation to respond very differently than when you are making blanket statements. Your way of doing things has certainly not worked, has it?

snowberry's avatar

This kid is manipulating you. When you get mad, he cries. It’s been working for him for a while now, and at this point it’s like a dance. You both know all the steps, and when you say, “pick up your clothes”, the music starts and you both begin your dance.

You are the one who sees the problem, so it’s up to you to change it. You’re going to have turn into a broken record. Try having this conversation at breakfast: Tell him that if he wants to talk about “why” he has to do chores, it will only happen after the chores are done. Explain ahead of time what’s going to happen if he insists on arguing (that’s what he’s doing you know). Tell him that there are two options. He can sit in a corner or he can pick up his clothes (or whatever it is you’re asking him to do). When he’s done sitting, he must pick them up, and only then you’ll talk, or go for ice cream, or whatever treat you want to hold out to him as incentive.

He might cry at first, but YOU know you’re not mad at him (he knows it too in his heart), and it’s his own choices that makes him sit in his corner, or go without the ice cream, or cry for that matter. Keep it up until he gives in, not you. It may take a day or two, but if you are consistent, you’ll get the message across, and you will both be much happier. Above all, don’t get emotional yourself. Just be a broken record to him, and do not indulge in any other conversation with him other than “You must sit there for 8 minutes** and then you may pick up your clothes. If you don’t go into your room and pick up your clothes when the dinger goes off, you will go back to your corner and I’ll set the timer for 8 more minutes.”

**I chose 8 minutes because he’s 8 years old.

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