As a parent, you will know that young children have very intense emotions. It is possible that when there is a stressful time in parenting, you have caught yourself saying inappropriate phrases to your children. They are phrases that do not give emotional support and what is worse, they could emotionally hurt your little ones for a long time, almost without you noticing.
Children are learning to understand their world and their own emotions. It is normal for them to get tired, angry and frustrated. This will almost always lead to tantrums and crying. It is possible that at some point you feel that it is too much for you, but it is essential that as a father or mother you know how to keep your composure and guide your children in their emotions.
If you say phrases like: “Stop crying”, “Stop it”, “Don’t be a baby”, “As long as you don’t stop crying, I’ll make you cry, but with good reason”… Stop doing it. These phrases will only make your child feel worse and also, he will feel emotionally abandoned because you do not understand him.
Say phrases that provide emotional support
Perhaps you think that there are only two options in these cases: give in to your child’s crying and negatively reinforce this behavior or scare him into obeying you and stop crying. Neither of these two options is valid. There is a much better third option!
It is as easy as giving your love and offering phrases of emotional support … It is an option that brings empathy. The parent will feel better helping their child and the little one will feel understood and respected.
Crying is ok
When you tell your child to stop crying, he really won’t stop crying! It needs more support from you, not less. Do not ignore your child’s feelings and tell him that crying is okay, it will make him feel better. Crying is a natural and healthy emotional release for children. By telling children to stop, we are basically saying that their feelings are not important.
A child’s perspective of the world is very different from ours. Something that means nothing to you for your child can be a whole world. Therefore, he understands his emotions and allows him to express them freely, teaching him to do so in a positive way.
As children get older, they will learn to handle their feelings in a more socially acceptable way, but for now crying is totally “appropriate” for their developmental level. So if we all agree that constantly telling our kids to stop crying isn’t going to help, what positive phrases can we say instead?
It may take a little getting used to using these new positive phrases… but as with any parenting education strategy, practice makes perfect. Next we are going to tell you some phrases that you can say to your child when he cries or feels bad. In this way, you are teaching him empathy and he will feel understood.
- “It’s okay to cry.” It will give you peace of mind because you will not feel like you are doing anything wrong.
- “I see you are upset about …”. You will feel understood.
- “You are angry (or frustrated).” This way he will understand his emotion and your positive attitude will make him feel better and realize that you are by his side to give him all your love whenever he needs it.
- “I know you are tired, I’m sorry my life.” Sometimes children collapse just because they are tired, in this case, tell your child that he will soon be able to rest (for example, if you have spent the day away from home).
- “It’s normal for you to feel scared, but I’m by your side.” Sometimes children cry out of fear, and if they feel you by their side all the time, they will get over it sooner.
- “I’ll help you figure it out.” Sometimes things do not go as planned, but when you are little this generates a lot of frustration. If you find that your child is having difficulty completing an assignment, offer your help and guide him through the process.
- “I know, it doesn’t seem like it’s fair.” Children only follow rules, they don’t create them. They do not have much control over their day to day, so they may feel that many of the things they live are unfair. In this case, it is better to offer all your empathy.
- “Tell me what you want, I’ll listen to you.” This is essential for your child to feel understood. Let him tell you anything he needs, this will help him overcome negative emotions and know that you will always be by his side to support him.