A Teenage Son Stopped Talking To His Father For A Week After Being Told To 'Man Up'

Even as young boys, we're taught to 'be tough.' Historically speaking, a man showing emotion has always been considered to be a sign of weakness — and real men must never be weak.

Thankfully, more and more men are beginning to realize the inherent harm that comes from this type of thinking. It's precisely what compelled a teenage son to stop talking to his father for a week after being told to 'man up.'

The phrase 'man up' has been a running joke in our collective pop culture for decades.

Unsplash | Alex Sheldon

When someone tells a man to 'man up,' what they're essentially saying is for them to stop showing emotions; mainly sadness and/or fear. 'Real men' are hard as granite and tough as nails. Their strength is defined by their inability to be affected by their feelings.

Over the past three decades, we've come to understand that this outdated way of defining masculinity is detrimental. And that when a man is made to feel weak by the society in which he inhabits — dangerous results ensue.

All across the globe men are taking their own lives at an alarming pace.

The global suicide rate for men is 3.5-5 times higher than that of their female counterparts. Yet ironically, data shows that depression affects more women in North America than it does men. If that's true, then why is there such a disparity?

The answer is simple: men aren't talking about their deepest, darkest, most vulnerable thoughts for fear of looking weak. Because since they were old enough to walk and talk, men have been told to 'man up' and that boys don't cry.

A teen Redditor who goes by the handle imaginehavingIFunny recently encountered a similar situation with his father.

The young teen explains how he was feeling sad after being cut from the school soccer team. The boy says that he did his best to conceal his emotions but that his parents eventually realized that something was wrong.

He sat down to explain to his father the reasoning behind his tears, and instead of being sympathetic — his dad became irate. The boy's father started lashing out at his son, making him feel even worse.

His father began by chastising him for not working hard enough.

Unsplash | engin akyurt

He began by laying into his son for not being fast enough on the field. From there, he moved on to critiquing the boy's water intake and diet — all the while growing more and more upset.

"Finally, he says that he finds it stupid that I'm crying over it and that I need to man up," the teen explained via his post. The father then went on to explain how when he himself was a child — crying wasn't allowed.

After the argument, the teen chose not to speak to his father for a full week.

Unsplash | Amy Tran

The boy was pressured by his mother to break the silence but he held firm. The overwhelming response on Reddit was not only supportive but incredibly vocal regarding the dangers surrounding toxic masculinity.

One Reddit user wrote "He's trying to push his internalized toxic masculinity on you. Crying is healthy, expressing your feelings is healthy!" They went on to explain how life can often be a series of disappointments and that it's OK to cry about it.

According to expert Emma Morton at the University of British Columbia, fathers should be encouraging their sons to express emotions.


“In the long run, working with a psychologist or other mental health professionals to identify healthy ways to cope with stress and develop more flexible and self-compassionate thought patterns is key to maintaining good mental health,” Emma explained to Bored Panda.

She says that we need to work to give men the tools required to be able to properly express themselves in a safe and healthy manner. More so, we need to let them know that they won't be judged for being vulnerable.

So the next time you tell someone to 'man up,' think for a moment about what you're actually saying.

The era of the strong silent type has come to an end. We can't continue to celebrate men for their stoicism and utter lack of emotion. Instead, we as a society must seek to find new ways in which to allow our men a safe avenue of self-expression.

Just like the young teen who didn't make the soccer team, all men need to be assured that having emotions doesn't make them weak; that shedding a tear isn't something to be ashamed of. It's time we realize that real men have emotions and boys do cry.