How to Respond When Children Cry

How to Respond When Children Cry

It's no secret that children cry over everything. Whether big or small, our kids will inevitably break into tears from time to time. Hearing and watching our kids cry is one of the most heartbreaking moments of being a parent. But since crying is unavoidable, how should we, as parents, respond to their crying that doesn't escalate the situation while attending to their needs? 

Learn how to respond when children cry and what not to say, and check out 4 practical tips to help guide your response.

Stop Responding with "Don't Cry"

The common phrase, "Don't cry," surprisingly enough, does not provide comfort to our kids. Why is that? Well, for starters, when we respond to our kid's cries with the phrase "don't cry," it tells our kids that crying is not okay and not welcomed. Though this might not seem like a bad idea, as it gets your child to stop crying, however, the long-term impacts of this phrase are quite detrimental to your kid's emotional well-being. It indirectly teaches them to suppress their emotions instead of expressing them. If we want to encourage our kids to express themselves and their emotions, we need to change the way we comfort them and respond to crying. 

1. Validate their Pain and Emotions

Regardless of why your child is crying, it is important to validate their pain and emotions. Make sure they feel heard and acknowledged by you. Don't forget to put a name to the emotion they are feeling. 

    2. Let them know that you are there for them

    Emotions can be scary and overwhelming, especially for kids who don't have as much experience managing and navigating the complexity of emotions. To help them through processing emotions, make sure you create a safe and judgement free space for them. 

    Creating a Safe, Judgement Free, and Comforting Environment

    1. Avoid phrases like: "It's not a big deal", "you're okay" 

    2. Never send them away to deal with their emotions alone

    3. Normalize Emotions!

    Remind them that emotions are normal and that it is 100% okay to express emotions through crying. And yes, that rule applies to boys too! 

    4. Help them Verbalize

    When they are ready, help them verbalize the source of their pain. If appropriate, help guide them through the problem-solving process. 

    Learn about the Research

    GoZen! (2021, October 12). 11 ways to respond to your child's tears with empathy. Motherly.

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