Some kids think it's the end of the world when they get a little ouchie or boo-boo. They've probably been taught to voice their feelings, however, at that age, kids are extremely parrot-like when it comes to mimicking behaviors. Say a child saw his friend Timmy at daycare wailing over his boo-boo. When Timmy did that, he got a cookie to help him calm him down. After pondering over this, (give it three, two, one) this baby boy can be found crying now. All of the “calm down, use your words” advice can’t be heard by the baby over his growing decibels of sobs. What to do in this situation? Give him a cookie and let him have his way? Or teach him another way?
When your child was in the toddler phase, it may have been that everyone in your neighborhood gave you the tag of ‘the best mom’ because you were able to tell from your kid’s cry whether your child was sleepy or hungry. But lately, have you been feeling like you are losing that ability because you might not be able to decipher anymore why your kid is crying. Or, are you constantly torn apart wondering whether you are raising a spoiled kid, an overly pampered baby or simply a kid who is being ignored?
A crying kid is merely using that particular emotional expression as a tool to say something that he or she feels can't be expressed otherwise. For younger kids, it happens more often because they are yet to develop speech and coherence. Your goal as a mom is neither to eliminate the crying nor to lose heart and give in to the tears. We are going to help you find a middle ground in sometimes confusing daily situations where as a parent, you can help your kid deal with emotions in a much better way.
20 Let Them Cry: When Refusing To Eat
What tantrums does your kid throw at you the first thing in the morning? Is the kid fussy about veggies on her plate or leaves the bowl of food untouched? Don’t give in to those tears by trying to change what's on the plate, or by switching on the television to entertain him or her while eating.
We would suggest not to promise a sweet snack that will be waiting after the meal is done. Let kids cry it all out because crying will not only have made them tired, but probably hungry as well. Coaxing or bribing your child to eat a meal may make him or her more anxious or more cranky. Offering a different food will give your child the hint that he or she can take advantage of you every time by throwing a fit about choices when it comes to mealtime.
Natalie Caine, a blogger, advises: "When they tantrum, let them know, 'Since you are having a hard time, I am going to help you. I will count to three and I know you can stop yourself ... one, two, three.' If they don't stop, you gently and without words remove them from the table." Child-psychologists suggest a healthy way of parent role-modeling helps children mimic their surroundings. This simply means if the kid sees you eat, or his sibling eat, or his pet eat, he begins to eat too!
19 Let Them Cry: When They Try To Do Things They Are Told Not To Do
Ever wondered why kids ALWAYS do the opposite of what we ask them to do? Who doesn’t like breaking rules? If you tell your kid not to put her hand inside the toilet bowl, well that is a recipe for disaster in the making! Before you know it, she is opening the toilet seat to try something new. And when you catch her and say, “No, don’t do it,” that’s it. The waterworks will probably start. Sometimes it is important to understand why your child is acting defiantly. Is it possible the little one is trying to get you mad? Or are they purposefully doing it to win the power struggle?
We would suggest that you lay down boundaries – such as bedtimes, saying please and thank you and the length of time that can be spent playing on the computer or watching television – and stick to them. Making rules ensures children are aware there are consequences if they do things they shouldn't be doing. Even assertive sentences such as simply asking 'Can you tell me why you felt like ___ (the rule they broke)?' will help your crying baby hear you out, think and come up with an answer.
18 Let Them Cry: During New Or First-Time Experiences
Kids need to overcome their fear and anxiety of trying new things. Every child has a different stress threshold when it comes to dealing with new experiences such as meeting strangers, taking risks or even something as simple as eating a new food. Your child's behavior may vary from situation to situation. The kid may be chatty with a stranger he or she met at a park one day, but another day, shy away or even throw a fit at a birthday party. The first day at daycare, or school is definitely a big crying day for your kid, isn't it?
Crying is a natural emotion that may come out, but allowing your child to experience feelings during first-time experiences, like sitting on a swing alone or sleeping in the crib, will help him or her to become much stronger at later stages. You can help them to become even stronger by appreciating how brave they are by doing these new things by themselves. Constant empathetic communication like saying "I know you like being at home and I hear you, but it is going to be a lot of fun today on the slide at the park," helps assure them that you are listening to them. Helping your child adjust or warm up step-by-step to new places or experiences can be an ideal way to deal with this, minus the tears.
17 Let Them Cry: When They Expect A Cookie To Stop Them From Crying
Let’s face it – your motherly instinct makes you want to comfort a crying child at once. But bribing the kid with a cookie or some other reward makes it easy to cultivate this as a habit for the child to keep manipulating you with these emotions. These are habits you don't want them to develop and keep as they grow older. You won't want to have to bargain with your teenager later on.
The cookie example, in your daily life scenario, is a classic case to test what words you use to diffuse your child's waterworks. If your six-year-old daughter demands a chocolate cookie for breakfast and then follows her request by crying about it, what options do you have? Give her the cookie and allow her to be manipulative or ignore her tears? There seems to be a another way of doing this. You can be empathetic, yet firm about not giving into your child's tears by saying something like, "I understand and hear you very well about how you want a cookie right now. I see that you are upset, but breakfast is not the time to eat cookies. I want you to be healthy. How about something yummy and healthy like some fruit?"
16 Let Them Cry: When They Run From Diaper Change Or Cleaning Up
Most kids like to be messy when it comes to this. As toddlers, they can’t move much. But as your baby grows, they become little speed monkeys who are almost impossible to catch. Imagine those hands and legs moving, especially when you want to change their diaper. Go ahead and let them wail a bit. Diaper-off time is actually a free time for those babies to stretch out their limbs and to feel powerful.
The key to having control here is by having patience and using your voice to tell your kid that it is OK to cry. Some parents tend to use distractions such as playing peek-a-boo or using some songs, but as the kid grows up, it can get tougher to hold them down long enough.
As an assertive mom, you may have to exert all your strength, make it clear to the child that he or she smells bad and that they will feel better after being cleaned up. Having a constant empathetic conversation even when they are upset about a diaper-change can help them feel that you are listening to them. “Does it feel wet and cold, honey? We’ll get you out of this and into a new one quickly, so that you can go back to playing with those cars. How will you drive those cars without a new diaper on? You'll feel better with a new, fresh diaper!”
15 Let Them Cry: When They Want To Call The Shots
How many times have you missed your 8:30 a.m. train just because your kid is crying over the color of the shoes she has on? Sometimes, kids have the urge to feel a sense of independence in regards to deciding for themselves what color clothes they want to wear or what color shoes they'd like. But the novelty of ‘calling the shots’ wears off once kids try to keep changing their decisions just because they find that it can annoy their parents. This is a sign to watch out for – a confused, melodramatic cry when they do not get to call the shots because you chose for them or because they are hurt by being turned down.
The outburst may seem excruciating for you, dear moms, but this is a healthy way for kids to learn to deal with strong emotions, preparing them for bigger rejections later in life. Giving choices will also help soothe your child’s desire to have some control. So next time you’re about to head out, and your kid is ready to get into a standoff—you might want to ask, “do you want to put your boots on first or your jacket?” And when you put on your own shoes and coat, she will model you and feel independent doing her own thing as well.
14 Let Them Cry: When They Can’t Find Something They Want
My two-and-a-half-year-old niece cried every single day last week during evening play time. She wasn’t able to find her favorite Paw Patrol toy and that would open the flood gates for her. After crying for about half an hour, she would stop and go play with something else, as if nothing happened at all. This week, all the crying stopped and I wondered what did the trick. Her mother explained to me, “she scatters all her toys and forgets to tidy up. The next day, she can’t find something specific she needs and that gets her upset. Every time she cried and looked at me. She would scream for me to find her the one toy she was looking for. All I would do is keep pointing at the place where the toy was kept. But instead, she focused on being upset all along as I wasn’t helping her find it. Today she figured out where the toy was, all by herself.” Wow! Aren’t you simply amazed at what a kid who isn't crying can actually do? Give kids the space and time to let their angst out, rather than trying to coax them into shutting off their tears.
13 Let Them Cry: On The First Day Of Day Care Or Kindergarten
Please note this day down in your calendars, mommies! This is the first day your kid is going to step into an alien-looking place and learn new things. The child is bound to cry. But, if you soften and emote right there in front of your kid, that little one is going to wail even louder! The best way you can toughen up is by talking about all the possibilities and fun things the kid will get to explore by going to day care and kindergarten.
“Some kids just have a personality that’s overly cautious or slow to open up to new situations,” says Jaquie Nickoriuk, a psychologist with Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre in Red Deer, Alberta. There is going to be some amount of crying as the child is learning to deal with separation anxiety or learning not to be clingy for the first time. Reprimanding and cooing tend not to work for the child in the long run. You may have to slowly build your own strategy that will help the child develop the habit of not crying, over time. That said, don’t use the cookie technique to bribe your kid. It may come back to bite you someday.
12 Let Them Cry: When They Are Experiencing A Supermarket Meltdown
If it were up to your four-year-old, he would buy the whole Toys R Us outlet in one day. Given the speed at which these little humans make up their mind about toys, you’ve got to be tough to say ‘no’ to a child. This is a good opportunity to help children to understand that they need to work their way to get something they want, rather than demand it just because some other kid has it. In the process, kids also learn to appreciate what they have already.
You are not the first mom to deal with a child throwing tantrums in a grocery store. When you are dragging your kid kicking and screaming, it doesn’t mean you failed as a parent or he or she is the worst kid. To avoid screaming matches and a meltdown, psychologist and parenting expert Sara Dimerman suggests you get down to their eye level and acknowledge what they’re feeling using a calm, quiet voice. Acknowledge their frustrations: ‘I know it’s hard to sit in this grocery cart for a long time.’
The ideal way to tackle their tears here would be to inculcate the habit of a ‘rewards’ system – a disciplined fashion of winning toys for good behaviour and more along those lines. Another way to avoid tears altogether is by keeping the kids well fed before you go to the supermarket, and give them duties to keep them occupied while you’re there. “Can you help mom find tissues?”
11 Let Them Cry: Because They May Be Bored
Impatience, inactivity, lack of attention or when the novelty of a toy wears off – all these can all lead to the child getting bored pretty fast. The things that can leave them bored can be endless, ranging from their imaginary friend leaving the room to Peppa Pig episode 8 ending. And their first response trying to tackle boredom may be to cry it out.
Sometimes, babies can spend an hour trying to find their own fingers. Preschoolers have been found fixing the same puzzle day in and day out. So, can kids really get bored and cry? Well, lets put it this way – kids don't get bored like adults do. “Babies have mechanisms built in to prevent them from wasting time on things that don’t have sufficient amounts of learning value,” explains baby researcher Dr. Celeste Kidd. “You could think of that as boredom."
A lack of stimulation or movement for the kid may lead to boredom, eventually causing frustration or anger within the child.
Rather than soothing or pacifying the kid, try to get the child to use words and say why he or she feels like crying. Or ask kids to become engaged in an activity like drawing, fixing a puzzle or playing with Lego. When you bring their attention towards such practical thinking, they can calm down and get doing the next activity they find. Infant expert and author Magda Gerber in her book, Your Self-Confident Baby, writes this: “I think what is typically called boredom is tiredness. Babies don’t get bored unless parents have conditioned them to require external stimulation and entertainment."
10 Let Them Cry: When It Is Obviously Crocodile Tears
Have you ever marveled at how fast your four-year-old melts into a puddle of tears when you say "no" to something for which she asked or you ignore her requests to hold your cell phone?
Fake crying or crocodile tears, as they are known, is usually a learned emotional response that kids pick up by seeing their mom or dad’s reaction to some action. When you melt and run towards them at the sight of them tearing up, the kid picks that up and registers to continue using similar actions to get his work done by you. When kids understand that their tears have immediate compliance, they resort to crying more often than not! Fake crying is actually the truth.
Kids can fake cry for a whole lot of reasons ranging from wanting attention, going through an emotional phase, a change in routine, an inability to express their emotions using words or even a mood swing! Beverley Cathcart-Ross, founder of the Toronto parenting education program Parenting Network, encourages parents to bypass the guilt that crocodile tears may induce and instead modify their responses by having a dialogue. For example, if the kid has a minor fall, instead of running to coddle the child, you can ask "Are you ok?" and encourage the kid to brush it off and move on. Another interesting way to deal with this would be to call out their fake crying. Kids can be surprised by that!
9 Let Them Cry: When They Go Through The “NO” Phase
In between those muffled sobs, have you often heard your child say “no” to everything you ask? “Are you hurt?” NO. “Are you hungry?” NO. “Do you want help with something?” NO. “Do you want to sleep?” NO. The more you probe, the more they cry and the more they say ‘no’. The biggest reason why kids, especially preschoolers learn to say "no," is because they can. More than understanding the meaning of their negation, it is quite often about them having the power to exercise control over the situation. Trying to tackle a kid opposing you constantly can be a task requiring a lot of patience, but don't take it personally. It may just be a phase they are going through.
A suggested technique by experts includes disciplining your child by using reverse psychology. Giving the child either/or options will help eliminate the options yes/ no when they answer you. When things go to the extreme, they might eventually cry out and yell "No, thank you." It’s a response mechanism that kids develop when they don’t know what they want, but, yet, can’t let go of crying. The best way to deal with this is to actually let them finish crying it out and then get back to talking to you.
8 Let Them Cry: When They Do So Because The Other Sibling Cries
If you catch your little one, all calm and angel-like for one moment and then bursting into tears another moment because his elder sister is crying, that's perfectly normal.
Remember that thing about mimicking or mirroring actions? Children sometimes are not fully aware that they are separate from the people around them. Even when they get clearer about being separate people, they often still think everyone has the same feelings at the same time. Say for instance, a sibling around them cries, they may think that they are having the same feeling and that they should cry too. Another reason the child may burst out into tears maybe due to fear or concern of the other sibling being in danger. Or the kid may just be experimenting to see if crying simultaneously when another kid cries can get enough attention from you.
Studies suggest that emotions such as sympathy and empathy find their roots as early as infancy. This may be one of the ways where your child is naturally feeling empathetic towards his or her sibling. The best way to go forward in such situations is to let the child finish expressing their feelings fully and talk about it when he or she is much calmer.
7 Let Them Cry: Because They Are Dealing With Mood Swings
A child crying for no reason at all is one thing. A child crying for ridiculous reasons is a whole other thing, says father Greg Pembroke, who actually made a website called reasonsmysoniscrying.com. We feel lucky to have a varied collection of such instances on the internet, because it can be reassuring for moms who have been running themselves up the hill thinking they aren't good moms. Don't overwork yourself, your kid may just be dealing with some varying levels of mood swings.
Wondering what mood swing premises may look like? Picture these ridiculous reasons:
Oh, that evil microwave. How dare it do that!
This little girl came out in her white dress ... and ...
That's an honest dilemma. Fitting crayons in your tiny hands can be nightmarish.
And our personal favorite – crying because his mom greeted him in the morning. How dare you say good morning?!
Your kid may be dealing with some serious mood swings if he or she is crying about not wanting to go out when you are not going out! "Sometimes a kid just needs to get his anger out. So let him!" says Linda Pearson, a nurse practitioner and author of The Discipline Miracle.
6 Let Them Cry: When They Get Frustrated With Themselves
When you crave a snack, you know exactly what you can buy or cook. Well, your kid can’t do the same. In their heads, kids think they can do a lot of things (like lift a table with one hand or create things with a magical spell), but they get frustrated when they physically can’t do much in reality. The easiest way for a child to express that is by crying.
A key point to tough parenting in a positive manner is helping children to understand what emotions they are going through. The best way to deal with this is to help them calm down, take a few breaths and encourage them to talk about what makes them feel frustrated.
Empowering them and teaching them that they are capable of moving through the feelings on their own and they’ll come out of the sadness sooner and will also build their self-esteem. Using sentences like, “It’s OK to feel that way and cry. I’ll be here for you if you need me” is reassuring to the child. As a tough mom, supporting the child instead of rescuing them each time they burst into tears helps you and your child develop a beautiful bond in the long run.
5 Let Them Cry: When They Want To Wear Clothes Or Don’t Want To Wear Any Clothes
Fashion wars and clothing battles can become a real power struggle when it is all about crying and having their way, or an opportunity for children to feel independent while making choices for themselves.
The experience of going from feeling warm and covered to being exposed can make your child feel vulnerable and that’s the main source for him or her to freak out while changing clothes. But there are those superhero babies who would love to walk out in only a diaper or underwear, just because they want to annoy you. Some reasons kids love to wear clothes or wear nothing at all range from discomfort, seeking attention, confusion about where to wear what and where not wear or it may also be about the fact that the kid is learning a new skill – to dress all by himself or herself.
While they cry it out and you give them some time to cool off, you can tame your reaction to their tantrums about fashion sense. You can allow children to have some naked time, but also have a conversation giving them choices on what they want to wear next, “Do you want black pants or white pants? You get to choose, buddy!”
4 Let Them Cry: When They Don’t Want To Sleep
Wait a second, isn't sleeping supposed to be the most amazing activity for kids? Then why do some children get fussy specifically around bedtime? The answers can vary widely – from being overly active during the day to trying to be competitive with other siblings to see who can stay awake longer. Sometimes, it can also be related to the child trying to adjust to a change in routine. The ideal way to not have a battle of yelling and crying can include using techniques such as indulging the kid in relaxing activities like a bath, a bedtime story and, eventually, phasing it into sleeping.
There are definitely a lot of useful resources out there that will help you find the best way to train your child to go to sleep . But don’t think that having a crying kid before you during bedtime is a bad thing. Researchers in Australia found that babies in the cry-it-out group (where parents allow babies to cry themselves to sleep) were falling asleep almost 15 minutes faster than babies in the control group (where babies were constantly monitored). The study established that sleep training did not stress kids out and letting them cry essentially tires them. So moms, don’t feel guilty that you are not able to console your whimpering child.
3 Let Them Cry: When They Don’t Cry With The Other Parent But Only Cry When With You
Does your little one get along with your partner easily, but throws tantrums when with you? Experts say it's typical for toddlers to make the parent who's with them the most their main target for bad behavior. As their brains develop, kids learn about relationships and how far they can push boundaries with one individual. The child usually tends to identify either of the two parents as the base caregiver and runs to that one for immediate comfort.
So, what if you are the bad cop and your husband is the good cop for your baby? The ideal way to deal with such a situation is to be vigilant about setting boundaries and enforcing them, especially in the transition phase. Transition phase is just a few seconds/ minutes before or after the big meltdown. Give them a warning like, “OK honey, you can build two more blocks of towers and then we are going to put on our pjs and get to bed. And you know who else is going to be there? Your daddy and your milk bottle!” This way, the child is inevitably prepped to listen to you. And even if it means crying for a bit, the kid knows that this is the plan that you’ve set for the night.
2 Let Them Cry: When Things Are Not In Order
Did your kid notice you standing instead of sitting on that chair? Was the door closed when it was supposed to be open? Or, did she notice that you changed her pillowcase and put her favorite pants into the laundry? Be prepared to deal with tantrums and crying, if things are out of order and your kid is not used to it. However obsessive and compulsive it may sound, consistency tends to give a sense of security to kids. Knowing that things will always be in the same place reassures the child that other things won’t change too – like they will always find cereal in their bowl on their high chair, or mommy and daddy will be home.
Studies at Harvard University found that the 10 percent or so of babies who were the most upset by new noises and unfamiliar people at 16 weeks old retained their finely tuned emotional smoke alarm as they got older. Adds Parents advisor Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: "Some children haven't yet developed that inner brake. When they get upset about something, all their emotions come right to the surface and they get a flash flood of tears."
1 It’s OK To Console Your Child Because Of Nightmares
Children sometimes get spooked by visions they have during sleep time or even by darkness. "Preschoolers tend to have a difficult time differentiating between reality and fantasy hence the fear of monsters under the bed or the boogie man lurking in the closet," explains Kim West, a child and family therapist and author of Good Night, Sleep Tight. Does your three-year-old wake up in the middle of the night, screaming for you and insisting that you sleep next to her because there is someone hiding inside her closet? This is the time when the child needs positive comforting. West states that the worst way to console your crying child who has just had a nightmare is by shaming, teasing, threatening or simply ignoring him or her because you feel that the child is lying about it. You can start by using dim lights or night lamps in the child’s room. Talking about positive and happy things before bed-time can help ease the child’s anxieties. Read a humorous bedtime story! Sometimes, even asking the child to talk out about their dreams or what they are afraid of, may help them be strong enough to face their fears.
Sometimes the key is not to start comforting the kid even before the kid is upset because that just makes the child vulnerable to automatically tear up. The truth is, being the tough mommy is really hard work and you deserve medals for holding up that firmness and raising a really good kid!
Refrences: todaysparent.com | washingtonpost.com | cnn.com | parents.com | mother.ly | parenting.com | boredpanda.com | parents.com | todaysparent.com | cbc.ca | fatherly.com | becomingtheparent.com | emptynestsupport.com | verywellfamily.com