Let's imagine the following scenario: You are in a playground and you let your child play with several children. At one point, your child comes to you crying. The reason he cries may be trivial, and you, as an adult, may not understand why he is doing so much ... and then, what are you doing?
- Do you tell him that he has no reason to cry?
- Do you give him logical explanations by which you want to make him understand that he has no reason to cry, that things are not as he sees them?
- Or do you let him cry, control your emotions and understand that you are near him and that you understand him?
What do you think is the best option in such situations?
Last day I was meeting several moms and I was talking about this topic. The children were in another room and playing, and we shared and shared our experiences with mothers. At one point, a little boy with tears in his eyes entered the room. He was scared because he didn't know where his mom went.
When he saw her, his face lit up and the tears seemed to stop.
"What's wrong with you? I'm here! Stop crying! You cry in the morning," the mother's words came. She was irritated by the crying of the child, quite rightly, especially considering that it was in a safe place, where all the children played very well.
My mother's intention was very good. He wanted to hug his child and show him that he had no reason to cry. But who do you think were the effects of her words?
The boy began to cry even louder. Tears were streaming down and he looked at us with such a sad look! In order to calm him down, the mother had to dress him and leave that place.
I'm sad about this incident. Looking back, when my children were young, I often did the exact same thing. But how different today I see things!
As mothers, we want to help our children be strong and confident and strive to show them what is good and what is bad, but how often do we stop to think if what we really do is in this direction?
When a child cries, all he needs is to be understood.
Whether or not I, as a mother, agree with my child's emotions, he will still feel what he feels. In our desire to set limits for our children, to teach them what is good and what is bad, we do not realize that we can set behavioral limits, but in no way can we set limits regarding what I feel.
When your child is crying, the best thing you can do is to stand next to him, hold him in his arms, if he lets you, or just sit next to him.
You can also tell her: "I understand that you are sad. And I would feel in your place as well if I knew what you suffered." In this way you help him name the emotion he feels and validate it. You help him understand that he is okay with what he feels, that he is "not flawed", that he accepts and loves him no matter what emotions he feels at that moment.
Otherwise, if you really want to appease him and give him logical explanations for which he should not cry or, worse, for sure, the child will come to the conclusion that "it is defective", because he feels something that the mother says that he should not feel.
You may also feel unaccepted and unworthy of your mother's love, and this is terribly painful for a child, regardless of age. Then you will have very little confidence in him and what he feels, which you certainly do not want for your child.
What to do if your child cries, even if the reason is "childish"?
Be with him with understanding and acceptance. Help him name the emotion he feels and validate it. "I understand you're upset. I would feel the same about you."
It is very important to say these words when you truly believe them, that is "after you put on his slippers, as a child" and understand that his problem is very important to him. Otherwise, if you just say the words, without feeling it, the child will know that you are not sincere and will lose their confidence in you.
Once you have validated the emotion, you can set a behavioral limit, if what you did is not acceptable from your point of view. "I understand you, but that doesn't mean it's okay to do what you did."
By following these steps, you will see, your child will gain more confidence in you, he will know that you respect his feelings and he will see in you a true friend, who does not judge him.
Business & Life Coach
PS: we talk about such things at our parent workshops.
In these workshops, parents discover through exercises and games many things about themselves and their emotions. Thus, they become aware of their emotions and the emotions of their children and can support their children to find the best solutions for themselves, regardless of the situation.
If you are curious about what is happening at these meetings, go to the topic Choose to be a wonderful parent!
Tags Emotions for children