Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Time for an emotional education for young men

How much, I wonder, does the lack of an emotional education contribute to depression among young men? asks my That's Men for You column in today's Irish Times.

By an emotional education I mean an education in, among other things, how to cope with the emotional pain that accompanies the major disappointments we all experience from time to time in life. The column is part of the Irish Times premium content so I can't reproduce it here.

Young women get a sort of rudimentary emotional education from each other since they talk more freely about feelings and relationship problems, the column says.

With young men less willing to discuss their feelings with each other, they may be at sea when it comes to knowing how to handle emotional turmoil. Is this why so many young men use alcohol like an emotional anaesthetic?

Alcohol and drugs don't go on working indefinitely. It's when these props stop working that young men are in real trouble.

Is there a place in the education system for a determined effort to provide an emotional education for young men and young women? Mightn't it pay off in reducing damage to young minds and bodies?

If we want to improve the emotional health of young men and, indeed, young women, then perhaps we need, as a society, to do more educating and less preaching.....

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