THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR CHILD INSTEAD OF “STOP CRYING”
As a parent have you ever told your child to… “STOP CRYING“? I know I have. Isn’t it common for parents to tell their children to stop crying? I find I’m usually telling our son to stop crying over things I find trivial.
Hello! There are bigger things to cry about aren’t there? Like innocent people that are murdered, or people dying of hunger, these compared to a lost toy or because you don’t get to go with to the movies are more serious and worth shedding a tear over. Right?
Unlike adults, kids psyche’s are like a blank canvas, untainted by all the atrocities that adults have experienced or been exposed to. Their minds are free from all the evil that we know the world is capable of. A child losing their favourite toy is as tragic as all of those atrocities combined as their experiences of loss, hurt, anger and disappointment is still at an all-time low. It’s a BIG deal for them and they respond to these situations as we do as adults to our own BIG deal situations. We all want our children to learn how to regulate their emotions, and to trust us with their problems, so we can’t be dismissive of them when they cry!
As parents, we need to stop telling our kids how to feel and when to feel the emotions they experience. By forcing them to feel things they aren’t actually feeling we’re teaching them to suppress their own true emotions, causing confusion and frustration in our kids duplicating the exact same repressive states that we were subjected to all those decades ago. Crying is a NATURAL human emotion. Whether you’re a boy or girl, YOU CRY! It’s a healthy human response to anger, joy, anguish, disappointment, hurt etc. The scriptures tell us that even Jesus wept and cried out in anguish as he was hoisted onto the cross by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
I personally need to get to the point that I stop telling our son to stop crying because I can’t handle the tears. I need to do more of getting down to his level to understand what is making him upset and so emotional. So if it’s because we can’t buy the latest Playstation game or because he slammed the door to his room as he entered the room, I need to make more of an effort to explain to him why he can’t have the toy yet or why slamming the door isn’t right. However, before I chat to him I need to calm myself down so that when I do speak to him I’m not aggravating the situation more and speak to him clearly so he can appreciate what I’m saying. I think for me, the easiest way for me to try and do this is, is to see his side of things instead of how I would react by a seemingly juvenile and trivial event in his life.
Things to say instead of “STOP CRYING”
- Tell me why you’re so upset? I’m listening.
- That was really scary or upsetting, right? What upset you the most?
- I hear that you need some space, I will give you space. I’m right here when you are ready to talk to me.
- I know it doesn’t seem fair.
- The same thing happened to me when I was your age and this is how my dad and I worked it out…
Sometimes as the parent you can just hug them and listen.
The reality is that our kids need to know that we can deal with their emotions and that they can feel the way they do without fear of being reprimanded.
I often subconsciously seem to put a time limit to the whole “I’m here for you son“. When you’re being there for your emotional child be present! If it takes 30 minutes, be there and support your child through whatever emotion they are experiencing, regardless of how long it takes for your child to calm down.
REMEMBER, feelings aren’t ‘things‘ to be avoided, but opportunities for us to connect with each other.
Our kids are still learning how to process their emotions, they need us as parents to be present, patient, understanding and provide them with an environment they can feel safe to express their own emotions and guided to manage the situation that caused them so much grief.