When our children are crying, it is almost instinctual to tell them to “stop crying” of say “you have nothing to cry about.” These are common responses from parents, who are trying to get the crying to stop. This is likely due to the fact that our children’s problems seem so trivial in the eyes of parents who have to worry about paying rent or dealing with a problem at the workplace. We believe that our children live in this perfect world with no responsibilities or cares, all they have to do is play. What could be so bad about that?
However, there are numerous reasons why we should not be telling our children to stop crying. It all comes down to empathy and understanding that just because their problems don’t seem as “big” or “bad” as ours, doesn’t mean they are not valid.
Emotions Are Emotions
When children cry, it is for a reason. It may not be a reason we understand or empathize with, but it is for a reason. According to Psychology Today, when we are constantly telling our children to stop crying we are suppressing their emotions and indirectly telling them that they should not feel. This can be harmful. When children are crying or letting out any expression of feelings, they are building social-emotional skills and they shouldn’t be halted.
When we tell them not to cry, we are telling them that it is not ok to feel how they are feeling. We are also telling them that their feeling’s don’t matter when they have no understanding of the concept of “adult problems.”
Teaching Them To Bury
When we tell our children not to cry, we are also setting them up for a lifetime of suppressing their true emotions, according to Educate Inspire Change. Children are innocent beings, and they have no concept of the real-world and the problems that adults face. In their world, the loss of a cherished toy is tragic, and this is likely their first time processing the feeling of loss and deep sadness. Even if we, as adults, do not think this is a big deal we need to show them that these feelings are OK and that they can show them.
If a child is constantly told not to cry, or to show emotion over something that bothers them then they will continue to do that when they are an adult. They will begin to believe that it is never OK to show how they are feeling, and holding in emotions can be detrimental to mental health.
Being told not to cry when that is what they feel in their gut is incredibly confusing for a child. They are unable to process emotions. They feel a deep pain in their “gut” and they know that they need to let it out, but they are unsure of how to do that. They have been told not to cry, so they may try and express their feelings in another way.
This could include anger and even violence in certain situations. Feelings have to escape, and it is a parent’s job to guide them on how to healthily deposit those feelings, and crying is one of those ways.