Mothers joined their teenaged sons on day one of a free conversational virtual workshop held yesterday by Childline Trinidad and Tobago, which explored the topic of toxic masculinity and its effects on society, the family, and women.

The two-hour-long event titled: Tackling Toxic Masculinity in Boys and Men: Be the Change You Want to See in Society, engaged participants ranging from 15-years-old and over, in some sensitive topic areas, through the use of PowerPoint and video presentations.

The young men who attended the workshop were schooled on what was sexual consent, the value of effective communication, anger management, the impact of socialisation, toxic masculinity traits versus positive masculinity traits, dealing with rejection, men supporting men, and how to ask for help.

Childline representative Aaron George said the aim of the workshop was to stimulate discussion on ways men can better themselves. And noted the importance of such discussions as they could only serve to raise awareness among men so that the necessary changes can be made.

Referring to a story where a young man who regrets never telling his father he loved him until he died, George spoke about the need for men to treat each other with love and respect as too often, they were encouraging negative behaviours one to another and often weaponised, each other’s vulnerabilities.

Listing several toxic masculinity traits, he said there were still too many wrong ideals of the socialisation of men, which left them detached from emotions and practising unhealthy and toxic behaviours.

Such wrong ideals George noted, were displayed daily on television screens and via local urban radio station programmes, which insisted on encouraging toxic masculinity among the nation’s young men.

His colleague and Childline outreach officer, Makemba Whitley, performed a dissection on effective communication between men and women which he said was paramount in their co-existence as men and women view and process things differently. While this was so, Whitley said what must be taught, was how to accept and respect these differences, while finding positives ways to work through them.

During his presentation, Whitley also outlined how men should positively handle rejection. Stating that rejection for a man can often result in feelings of shame, depression, anger, rage, insult and hurt, he said the constructive process, would be for the man to allow the natural emotional process, examine his role in the rejection, and take the steps to heal.

Childline T&T is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to the protection and care of children and young adults up to the age of 25-years-old.