Here's why anxiety in boys can look like anger, and how some famous role models can help them get through it

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  • andrewsmith908 Newark, NJ
    Aug. 26, 2018 11:48 a.m.

    Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to teach youth real coping skills how to communicate and deal with stress as arises. Interesting article.

  • mdreader Laurel, MD
    Aug. 24, 2018 10:36 p.m.

    @mominthetrenches
    Your experience sounds so much like ours! Our second son just started on Prozac because he was so panicked, therapy didn't stand a chance. The only therapist we could get into - most had multiple months-long waiting lists - was young and female and pretty clueless. We're struggling to figure out what to do next. Wishing you the best as you find solutions for your son.

  • dgw Clovis, CA
    Aug. 23, 2018 7:28 p.m.

    GZE: There haven't been many males advocating for change (until recently), because they were told to "suck it up", or hit with "male privilege".

    portlander: I think you missed some of the key points of the article. In life, a person (boy or girl) can't always just avoid whatever brings them anxiety or discomfort. Some things can be avoided, but some have to be faced, and people have to learn to cope with them. Too many people have turned to addictions, drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc. to "avoid" things that trouble them! As we learn to correctly cope with these challenges, we grow.

    The article nicely addresses that the coping mechanisms, though individually different for each person, may be generally different for males than for females. Having role models that face similar issues and have success, is very valuable to all people, especially to teens that are just learning how to deal with themselves, their feelings, and society around them.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    Aug. 23, 2018 6:02 p.m.

    Hey, "be a man!" As the old line goes. The story says males avoid whatever causes them anxieties. And I agree with that approach. They should avoid whatever bothers them. If something bothers you, causes you to have some anxiety, some discomfort or whatever, then I totally recommend that you avoid it. Goes for girls too! And guess what. It works every time it is tried!

  • DavidMiller American Fork, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 1:29 p.m.

    I see my son in this story. We've been to a good therapist for a couple of years but we have never once talked about anxiety in all that therapy (likely because he never voiced it as such - I'm sure our therapist would have explored that). Until I read this article it never occurred to me that his behavior was anxiety induced. Now, I consider that a strong possibility that deserves a closer look.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 11:19 a.m.

    Very informative article and brave of the examples used, who shared their very personal, real struggles to inspire others. My son is also on Vyvanse, for a nebulous ADHD diagnosis. It helps him, but I would rather have him talk through things, the way Kaleb's story discusses. I don't think medicines are the answer. What kind of therapist helps with these things? We tried going once, with my son, and it was not helpful at all...therapist was young female, didn't seem to have the knowledge about mental illnesses or how to answer my questions about anything we were dealing with.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 11:13 a.m.

    For about a decade now, popular culture has been demonizing masculinity as "toxic" and promoting all sorts of special treatment for women. Society has also become so overprotected and concerned with establishing safe spaces" that we temporarily lost sight of the fact that there is a certain "harshness" to reality. Many things, including other humans, really will kill you if you are weak and timid. The role of masculinity is to forcefully face and tame to harsh forces of the world. If we deny males the value of their role, we create an existential anxiety.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 10:59 a.m.

    First I want to thank the Deseret News for at least covering the angle of anxiety in boys (after so many articles that seemed to focus solely on girls).

    I get only about a quarter of the way through the article before I have too many things in my mind wishing to escape. I have found writing helps me through my anxiety; which is why I comment on Deseret News so much. But, that coping mechanism is something I picked up later in life.

    When I was a child, yes I was expected to simply "avoid" the stressful situations. If someone was bullying me, I would be the one removed from the classroom (instead of the bully); I was placed in classes with lower age students to be closer in size to them; I was moved to different buses; etc. Then when the pressure would build up too much and I would burst and lash out, then only I would be punished; not those that instigated the pressure.

    It is no wonder that mental illnesses were formed in my childhood with such environmental factors. I can't remember the first time I had a panic attack; or went catatonic; or many other symptoms I have since learned to identify and put a name to, but it must have started quite young.

    And already run out of room.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 10:08 a.m.

    Last time I checked, "society" included a lot of men. Do you think "society" started addressing the needs of girls and women spontaneously? No. Women pushed for change. If the needs of boys are not being met, where are the men who are advocating for change?

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 9:43 a.m.

    Wow, great article. Thank you. There are so many insights mentioned in the article, it's difficult to know what to talk about, but I'll focus on one. The alternate reality of video games, social media, and entertainment media is alluring precisely because it fills a need felt in the real world, but it's a counterfeit. The perceived satisfaction is illusory and temporary. Humans were made for the real world, not a counterfeit.

    See the June 2010 article by Elder Bednar: "Things as They Really Are"

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Aug. 23, 2018 8:47 a.m.

    "Few anxiety-specific studies focus just on boys. "

    That's because our society doesn't really care about boys and their problems. Boys are pretty left to their own devices to solve their problems. They are considered to enjoy "male privilege" so they don't warrant any special attention.

  • P5Proud Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 23, 2018 8:28 a.m.

    About fifteen years ago, I had the opportunity of working with a group of performing artists who were recent college graduates or a little older (postgraduate students). Very nice people, but (being about twenty years older than they) we did not hang out together for the most part. For me, hanging out together would have involved have a drink or getting together for dinner and conversing--but following a performance, the young men in this group would find three or four others and head over to an apartment for an evening of Madden 2000. They invited me to come over once. And once was all it took. These very nice guys were not interacting with each other, they were not communicating. This was not "boys being boys" unless you count the times they would intercept a pass and call the other player a homosexual (slur). More than anything else, I noticed--there was no talking with each other. And this seemed to be present in our daily working lives as well. If one performer had a question, wanted to try something, had difficulty with another performer, they simply "ate it" and took out their frustrations on the video game later on that evening.

  • Sports Nutz Smithfield, UT
    Aug. 23, 2018 7:22 a.m.

    Great story. Jalen is a great young man and has always been a great example for those around him. Having watched him play and interact with kids from a very early age, it was more impressive how he never acted like he was better than anyone even though basketball wise it was clear. He has many people that are pulling for him and others who are in this fight. I am very happy to know he is doing better and proud of how he handled this situation. I have no doubt he will handle this and help others along the way.

  • DGDENTON Gainesville, TX
    Aug. 23, 2018 6:33 a.m.

    Our society is causing anxiety in boys by telling them that males are to blame for all the things wrong in the world. Boys have no clear definition of the role of a male. They would better off changing their gender to female who are suppressed by the male dominated culture.