Episode 68: Supporting the Emotional Development of Boys

In this episode of The Family Couch, we talk with Tosha Schore about boys and aggression.

We dive in and talk about how this passion developed for Schore.  Schore started off as a women’s studies major. She became an advocate for boys when she realized that as much as women work on themselves and the progress that has been made for women, everything is still mostly on mom in the family world.  As a mom of three boys, Schore wants to be raising a generation of men who are doing great things in the world but also emotionally intelligent and excited to co-parent and be models for their own children. Since she works with a lot of dads, she sees their vulnerability and that there is a lot of pressure on them.  Schore mentions that she has had so many parents come to her with their son kicked out of preschool. She feels that it is our job as adults to help young boys who are struggling and wants to show people who work with young boys that these behaviors are calls for help. If we can recognize the calls for help, we can connect and help them move beyond the behaviors to help raise this generation of boys who will become emotionally intelligent men.

We next discuss how Schore does see parents coming to her that are terrified that their child will be someone who rapes a girl behind a dumpster on the college campus.  They are worried about their young boy that is struggling with aggression, like hitting or not following directions. The parents have tried reward charts or punishments and are not getting anywhere.  When they feel like their child is out of control, they are worried he will becoming a juvenile delinquent and do not know what to do. Schore feels that most parents and teachers of young children are not “demonizing” boys by looking at them as future delinquents.  She believes that there is a true desire to help life be better for these children but most people do not know how to do it.

We discuss how comments are sometimes made about boys being “too sensitive.”  Schore discusses a time one of her boys was playing in a soccer game when he was about 12 and was hit very hard with cleats.  He burst into tears, and his coach told him he was being too emotional and threatened him to not be able to play in the next game.  Schore thought that if this was a girl, the situation would be different. It makes people so uncomfortable to see a boy crying and being emotional that they will do almost anything to make it stop.  If this coach had just let her son cry, the release of emotion would allow the boy to get back on the field to play stronger and harder. Bottling up the feelings makes it harder to function.

Schore works with parents of boys from ages 2-10 and teaches them about the healing abilities of the emotional release process.  There is something very powerful about a good cry. If you are able to cry with someone who isn’t judging you or trying to fix you, you come out on the other end closer to the person who was there for you and also regaining your intelligence.  Your limbic system has flooded your prefrontal cortex when you’re running on emotion. If you let the emotion spill out, the prefrontal cortex comes back online and this is where the higher functioning happens. Many times, moms can get to their feelings more easy generally speaking.  As adults, we have a lot more work to do to regain our access to this process. If you have huge laugh with a friend, you feel so close afterwards. This is a glimpse into the feeling of deep connection as a result of this process. With parents, Schore tries to help them hone in on their own feelings process and help them reclaim that.  Usually it only takes one time of a parent staying and listening to a child when they’re having an upset to see the process working and buy into it.

We talk about how Schore helps parents who do not yet know that they need this reframing because they still believe in the old ideas that in order to get somewhere boys need to be aggressive and fight for what they want.  Schore sees this more in dads than moms. Schore knows that the fastest way to raise an emotionally intelligent boy is to welcome emotion and talk about it. Dads know that bad stuff does happen to boys when they cry in public.  Schore understands this, so she is not saying that you should have your 15-year old crying over his algebra test and this will be okay. She tries to teach parents to use these tools at home because the stress of feeling like you’re being judged by the public isn’t there.  The benefits happen out in the real world. A child who is struggling with algebra in high school would know that he can come home and cry with mom or dad at home instead of falling about in the middle of the test. The point is that there needs to be a safe space for this to happen.  Schore mentions the violent things happening in the US like school shootings. She recognizes that many of these instances involve individuals with true mental health issues, but she notices common threads with them. Many are loners and do not have friends and we are wired for connection. Schore wants to help parents teach their boys to stay connected.  Additionally, they tend to not emote much. They do not have a place where it is safe to do this. If you hold on to your emotions and the stress that life hands to you, you are bound to explode. There is a spectrum of what this means exactly. Schore feels that if these two issues are addressed the issues of violence would drastically drop.

Schore discusses that she was reading the paper one day after her boys were at school and it was one horrible thing after another–rape, murder, terrorist attack, etc.  They were all perpetrated at the hands of men. She had an “aha” moment where she realized that every single one of these men were all born as a sweet baby boy to a momma.  She wondered what happened from then to now. She is aware that it is complicated and there are many issues involved, but emotional release and closeness and connection with a primary caregiver are things that human beings need to thrive.  One of the things that is very hard is that as parents, we are scared when our boys act aggressively. Many women today have had some sort of negative interaction with a man in power. When we have little boys that hit, kick, spit, call us names and get very loud, we become very triggered and scared.  This is the worst thing we can do. The little boy is scared out of his mind and throwing out life preservers in the form of bad behavior. When he sees that as parents we are freaking out, too, he thinks something must really be wrong. Schore lets parents know there is nothing wrong with their boy and he is okay.  Schore wants to help parents find the sweet boy underneath the bad behaviors. She recognizes that the aggressive behaviors are not okay, but we need to help the boys stop the behaviors and have limits. The boys are not bad and we need to not be scared of them. This process is messy, loud and nasty. Schore helps parents to work through their own stuff so that they can come in peacefully and lovingly and bring the limit that needs to be brought to stop the behavior from happening.  The aggression is a pouring out of feelings. If we stop our child from kicking us in a calm way, he can have the emotional release in a different way. Schore believes that parental support is key and she facilitates online groups of parents that are working on the same things with their children.



Tosha Schore is an author who co-authored the book Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges.  She is mom to three boys and an advocate for boys and their families worldwide.  She is also a trainer for Hand-in-Hand Parenting and runs her own coaching business, where her mission is to create a more peaceful world one sweet boy at a time. Tosha holds a BA in Women’s Studies & Language Studies from UCSC, an MA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA, and is a certified teacher and trainer of instructors in Parenting by Connection.



WEBSITE: http://toshaschore.com/

10-DAY RECONNECT: https://toshaschore.clickfunnels.com/pbp-waitlist

OUT WITH AGGRESSION COURSE: https://offerings.toshaschore.com/courses/out-with-aggression/

PLAYHOUSE PARENTING GROUP: https://offerings.toshaschore.com/courses/playhouse/


Be sure to subscribe to the channel for updates on weekly updates!



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShameProofParenting

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ParentSkillz

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ShameProofParenting

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ShameProofParenting



Please share in the comments what you think about the episode, questions you have about the topic, and any other comments you’d like to share.



Watch The Family Couch – new episodes go live Wednesdays at 8:00am PST! http://thefamilycouchshow.com


Want to be on The Family Couch or know someone who would be a great guest? Email us at mercedes@shameproofparenting.com

Speak Your Mind