Males think that talking about problems is a waste of time

Males think that talking about problems is a waste of time

By William Smith

Males have difficulty discussing their problems with others because they tend to not think it is particularly useful – according to a new study.

Dr. Amanda  J. Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri and researcher for this study says ‘For some years, popular psychologists have insisted that boys and men would like to talk about their problems but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak’.

‘However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls.  Instead, boys’ responses suggest that they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity.’

Four different studies were conducted by researchers that include surveys and observations of nearly 2,000 children and adolescents.  They found that girls had positive expectations for how talking about problems would make them feel.  These expectations included feeling card for, understood and less alone.

Boys, surprisingly, were no more likely than girls to say that talking about problems would cause them to be embarrassed or worried that they would be teased.  Instead, boys reported that talking about problems would make them feel ‘weird and like they were ‘wasting time.’

Rose said ‘An implication is that parents should encourage their children to adopt a middle ground when discussing problems.  For boys, it would be helpful to explain that, at least or some problems, some of the time, talking about their problems is not a waste of time.  Yet parents also should realise that they may be ‘barking up the wrong tree’ if they think that making boys feel safer will make them confide.  Instead, helping boys see some utility in talking about problems may be more effective.’

The findings may play into future romantic relationships, as many relationships involve a ‘pursuit-withdraw cycle’ in which one partner (usually the woman) pursues talking about problems while the other (usually the man) withdraws, Rose believes.

The paper will be published in a future edition of the journal Child Development.

Source: University of Missouri 

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