Yes to crying!

We encourage crying in our family.  Not alone but with someone providing ‘love’ at the same time.  This might be a hug, labeling how they feel to show empathy or even just being there with them.

Crying is a physical way of releasing the energy from emotions that you feel.  And as emotions are ‘energy in motion’, it is very important to let these feelings out so that they don’t get trapped in the body.  Children innately know to do this.  It is only by adults telling them not to cry that we as adults forget how calm and clear your head can be when you’ve cried all the feelings away.

Of course we then talk about the situation that lead up to these emotions to understand better what just happened.  All in the name of better emotional intelligence!

2 thoughts on “Yes to crying!

  1. Hi Heidi,
    I just found your blog. I have a 3 and 2 year old.
    I like the idea of encouraging crying and feeling emotions but where do you draw the line between allowing them and encouraging them to feel the emotion they are experiencing and feel safe and supported AND not encourage whinging or positively reinforce with attention the behavior of crying in general.

    I am not being negative of you either. What you express would be what I would want to do and have thought for myself a number of times but the reality is that both my children respond to reinforcement so strongly. When there is sickness or something that MUST get done I use the television and my son will whinge when he wants more or a different show than we are watching. So I started saying that when he whinges he will need to go settle down in his room. In a day it did wonders for the whinging level.

    My daughter when she doesn’t get her own way slams her head on the ground. She screams and I struggle with what exactly to do.

    I believe in appropriate reinforcement and ignoring of behavior because part of a parents job is to teach children what is and what is not acceptable or appropriate in your interactions with people. And I support not bottling up emotions because there is nothing shameful about emotion and to encourage them to develop properly and ideally learn to recognise how they are feeling. These motivations don’t seem to co-exist well when raising young children.

    Any thoughts or insights?

    You have a four year old so you have been a parent a whole year longer than me. My son is 3 and my daughter is 2, 14 months between them.

    • Hi Emily
      I’m sorry for the delay – frantic week!
      My post was more about the times when your child has ‘flipped their lid’ (the whole-brain child book is great for strategies about this), when they can’t think straight and past reasoning with or even talking to. So the main aim them is to give them love and calm them down, be with them if they need to cry.
      There are sometimes different ways to manage behaviour. For example, smacking might achieve a child to comply (but they will feel shame and the relationship between the parent and child will never be the same). You could also get them to comply by explaining in age appropriate language WHY and help them to work through feeling disappointed/frustrated/upset and then maybe distracting them onto a different activity until they have truly gotten over it. THEN talk more about it or do a drawing.
      So whilst it might work to send your son to his room, I’d probably be explaining that everyone needs a turn, like we all take turns doing x and then giving him options like ‘sit here with us and watch or go play x’. And then let him deal with it.

      I’m happy for you to put a certain scenario out and I could give you more specific ideas! But the main thing is to talk about it, name his feelings, and help him to deal with it in a more normal way (eg watching a show with you, or accepting the show and choosing another activity) rather than sitting in his room.
      It’s harder when they’re two. I’d be just hugging her, naming her emotion ‘you’re upset aren’t you, you wanted that x’. Then giving an explanation that she can hopefully understand. Like ‘time for swimming, pack away now’ or ‘time for bed, out of bath, you pull plug or mummy?’. The other thing to think about is, is it a power struggle that doesn’t need to happen. I have to do it a lot in my head with my 2yr old – does it really matter? If not, let them do it as they are so proud and it develops their self identity so well when they feel like they are in control. The main things to say no are safety and respecting other things and people and for the rest – can you let it go? Most of my issues are when we dont’ have time. So I talk about something exciting in the next activity…

      I hope that helped!

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