Our boys are in a crisis. Toxic masculinity and tough guy-ism are on display daily from our leaders, and we see anger, dysfunction, violence, and depression in young men who are suffocated by harmful social codes. Our young sons are told to stop throwing like a girl. They hear phrases like "man up" when they cry. They are told "boys will be boys" when they behave badly. The "Girl Power" movement has encouraged women to be whoever and do whatever they want, but that sentiment is not often extended to boys.
But we can treat this problem-and the power lies in the hands of parents. It's not only possible to raise boys who aren't emotionally stifled and shoved into stereotypical gender boxes; it's vital if we want a generation of men who can express their emotions, respect women, and help nurse society back to a halfway healthy place. We can reframe manhood. From Aaron Gouveia, who gained viral fame after tweeting his support for his son's painted fingernails (and who knows toxic masculinity very well), learn practical and actionable tips such as: don't accept different standards for moms and dads; teach boys that "girl" is not an insult and retire phrases like "boys will be boys"; and show boys that expressing their emotions and being physical is a good thing.