From a very young age, boys were always told to "Be a man" or "Men don't cry." Even when they were playing and they fell down, they were told to stand up, dust themselves and be strong. "Men are strong," they were told.

Now it has reached a point they cant express how they feel to their own dads leave alone other people. These are the reasons why:

1. They consider it to be too mushy- When men grow up, these notions of being a man and being strong stick in their head making it extremely difficult for them to articulate their feelings.  To verbally express their love to their dads becomes an impossible task and makes them feel soft.

Father and son hugging. Photo: Courtesy

2. It gets weird- Most men don't have a stable relationship with their fathers and this makes it incredibly difficult to articulate their feelings. They would rather buy them a gift or send money. And because saying "I love you" is not common they don't know how their dads will take it. It is also something makes both parties feel uneasy.  

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3. Men's love language- Men express their love by either protecting or providing but professing is never in the equation because of how they have been raised.  A good man is one who pays the bills, provides for the family and protects them. A good man is one who has a stable income. The list ends there. When boys grow up knowing this is the true expression of love, they will certainly find it hard to verbalize and will instead opt to use actions.

4. Culture-  When the tables are turned, men are comfortable telling their moms they love them. In fact men love their moms and often say it.

Furthermore, the term " I love you" in their mind has a very precise context. It is reserved for romantic relationships and in most traditional African homesteads its not to be discussed in public.

Bottom line:

The onus is on parents to raise their children, both girls and boys, to be expressive of their emotions and provide them with a good example.

Fathers should especially ensure that they teach their sons all that encompasses manhood, including expressing their emotions.  

Feature image: father and son. ( Source, classic105.s3.amazonaws.com)

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