"Come on son, be a man about it! You can do this," are some of the common words that we might hear from a father or mother to their son. The question here is - is the son is not defining a man when he cries about something? Does it make him less of a boy? Parents, please keep in mind that similar to us, genders don\u2019t play any part in children\u2019s real feelings as well.\u00a0 What Is Toxic Masculinity? Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Through time, the specific meaning of toxic masculinity has evolved. The following definition is used in a study in the Journal of School of Psychology to clarify toxic masculinity: "The constellation of socially regressive characteristics that encourage dominance, women's devaluation, sexism, and misogyny." In today\u2019s society, people have been using the word toxic masculinity to describe exaggerated masculine characteristics that have been generally embraced or glorified by several cultures. This negative concept of masculinity also places a strong emphasis on 'manliness' depending on: \tLack of expressing emotions \tToughness and strength \tExtremely self-reliance \tDominance\u00a0 \tAbilities to conceive A male who does not show enough of these traits may fall short of being a 'true man,' according to stereotypical toxic masculine values. These perceptions of what it is to be a man are constantly reinforced by young men. Toxic Masculinity Can Cause a Mental Health Problems to Your Son Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Parents, your child might feel pressured with all the confrontations and rules of what it is like to be a man and fails to do so.\u00a0 The American Psychological Association mentions the disadvantages of continuing to commit to these exaggerated male characteristics. Men and boys who are pressured to adhere to these characteristics often have detrimental consequences and may face difficulties, such as: \tOften in distress \tDepression \tInsecurities \tSocially dysfunction \tDrug abuse Photo Credit: Adobe Stock As a society progressing towards achieving gender equality, it is important to free your sons from being stuck in toxic masculinity while at the same time, empowering your little girls. What is really important here is your children\u2019s mental health and emotions. Let them show their sensitive side as much as they want, instead of keeping it to their own and\u00a0unhealthily bottling it up.\u00a0 But What Can You Do? Here are some ways that you can try to raise your kids without implementing toxic masculinity. Encourage Your Sons To Express His Sensitive Side Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Usually, men rarely express their feelings because they see that as a weakness. This causes them to keep it inside and stay emotionless. Trying to suppress feelings can have a negative effect on your son, resulting in mood swings, rage or depression. Sadly enough, sons are never really encouraged, right from the start, to feel and express their emotions. Fathers need to teach their child that being aggressive and expressionless is not normal.\u00a0 Stop Telling Your Son \u201cDon\u2019t be a girl and be a man about it.\u201d Photo Credit: Adobe Stock That\u2019s the most common thing that I hear any father telling his son, implying that a man is aggressive, emotionless and cannot cry, Said Dr Debmita Dutta, a consultant for parenting and founder of What Parents Ask. Parents need to know that their child can be hurt in the process by such a misconception of manhood. \u201cAsking your son to be a man is an irresponsible shortcut of parenting without truly knowing what he really wants\u201d, she added. Generally, sons are only motivated to play manly sports or take part in adventure activities thanks to their parents, just so that they can depict strength and manliness. But what do the parents do not know is failing to realise that the relentless pressure to \u201cbe a man" will suffocate their son\u2019s sense of individuality.\u00a0 Stop Giving Offensive Remarks Photo Credit: Adobe Stock \u201cGirly\u201d, \u201cSissy\u201d, \u201cYou cry like a girl\u201d. Stop calling these names or remarks to your sons when they are expressing their vulnerabilities or crying about their feelings. Belittling your son's problems would not solve the problem and would worsen the situation. Do not just think about yourself, think about your child too. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Teach your sons that it is not feminine or weak to cry. What you can do is to comfort, support, and let him talk about the problems instead.\u00a0 Educate Him to have Compassion, Empathy and Respect Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Gender equality can only be a reality if we continue to show people around us empathy and compassion, regardless of their gender. As we all know, it all starts at home. Mums and dads should start showing these kinds of morals to their children when they are still young so that they will grow up being compassionate and have empathies towards others. Teach your sons to respect women and do chores together without labelling which gender has to do it. This will bring a big effect on a boy's attitude towards any woman in the long run.\u00a0 Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Lastly, love and treat your sons and daughters the same. Be a supportive parent as they will always need you. Remember that a happy and harmonious family starts with you.