Big Kids

Mum hits back after she's slammed for running to help her injured son

Publicist and mum-of-three, Jaime Primak Sullivan was at a school basketball match when her 8-year-old, Max, was hit in the face with a ball. 

Instantly, Sullivan's mummy-instincts kicked in. 

"I saw his eyes widen and then squint from the pain – he looked around trying to focus," she wrote. "I knew he was looking for me."

She jumped from the seats and ran to the side of the court, where Max met her. He was fighting hard to keep back the tears: 

"He couldn't catch his breath. My feet couldn't move fast enough. As soon as we connected, I got down on one knee.'Catch your breath buddy.' He tilted his head back. 'Max, breath. It's okay.' He finally took a breath, and I wrapped my arms around him as he cried into my shoulder." 

All was going well, until Sullivan registered a voice behind them saying "You need to stop babying that kid."

She did not take well to that sentiment and climbed back to her seat, her "hands shaking" with rage. 

It's not about "babying" her son, she wants to make sure that he grows up to be open to emotion, not to hide it like so many boys are taught. According to Sullivan, this notion is "damaging to them long term."

"The belief that any signs or gestures of affection will somehow decrease their manhood – this pressure to always "man up" follows them into adulthood where they struggle to fully experience the broad scope of love and affection.

"The only emotion they healthily learn to express is happiness then we wonder why they are always chasing it." 

This emphasis on telling boys to "man-up" follows them later in life. By not allowing boys to express negative emotions, like when they're in pain, it can affect how they interact as husbands and fathers in later life: 

"They're taught that sadness is weakness, that talking about their fears or short comings makes them less than. They don't mourn properly. The struggle to grieve. They're afraid to cry.

"It all spills into the way they husband and father and I hate it." 

For Sullivan, there is a proper distinction between love and babying.

"Love is a verb. It is something you do. It is not the same as babying, coddling or spoiling. It is something my son deserves.

"I will always love him when he is hurting and my prayer for him is that he is always open to receiving love so he can love in return and keep that cycle going."

Other parents have agreed with Sullivan, saying that we need a healthier parenting attitude towards boys: 

It's an important lesson that all mums of boys can really think about. 

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