Finding the lost toy.
Rushing to find treats.
Anything to STOP the flow of tears and meltdowns.
Why do we do this?
Is it a bad thing to cry? Why does it make us, as adults, feel so uncomfortable?
Were you allowed to cry as a child? Maybe you were, maybe you weren’t.
The more we go out of our way to make our children happy at all costs- the more we teach them that crying is not ok.
What else can we do?
Listen. Let them cry and say things like, “I can see you’re sad. Do you want to tell me why?”
Validate feelings. “It’s ok to feel sad.”
Relate. “Sometimes I feel really sad too.”
Hug. If they allow you and it makes them feel better, then why not? Hugs are not a “reward” for bad behaviour. They’re a physical human need!
Do you cry?
When you cry, as an adult, do you say things like this:
“I’m sorry I’m crying!”
“I’m so embarrassed!”
“I don’t want you to see me like this.”
“This is so silly!”
How can you change that hidden belief that it’s not ok to cry?
Why do we cry?
Crying doesn’t mean we’re “broken”, it doesn’t mean we’re “weak”.
Crying signals to others that we are feeling emotions. Sadness, frustration, anger and sometimes joy! When others know we are feeling something, then they can be signaled to help fulfill a need.
How healing does it feel to have a good cry sometimes?
Sometimes I purposefully find a sad movie just to have a good cry!
Is it manipulative?
Often parents say they don’t want their children to use tears to manipulate. Manipulation implies getting someone to do what you want them to do by using any means possible.
Why would children use crying to get their own way? Well, if it’s worked in the past and someone has given in purely because of the flow of tears, then they’ll use it again.
Can you blame a child for trying to get their own way, when they’ve been taught that that’s a way to get it?
Big news! We actually give our children messages all the time by the way we react, that reinforces their behaviour.
If you don’t want you child to manipulate with crying, then don’t give in to crying. Let them feel disappointed and be there to support!
Let yourself cry, let your children cry, let everyone cry!
Next time you hear yourself saying, “Stop crying.” “Ok, that’s enough crying for now.” or “You’re ok!”
Stop. And maybe think to yourself, "Why must they stop? Why can’t they cry?"
CPASA Founder, Ripple Effect Parenting Owner