Crying. We, as parents, all hear it. Our children might cry as babies, they might cry and whine (or even throw things!) as toddlers, or our children might whine/cry as they move into their teens (with a splash of attitude they did not have before). The tears that are shed with each child, in each unique stage, communicates something your child may want or need.
The burning question is, how can you best respond to your child crying?
Well, the truth is, it has little to do with what to DO and way more to do with how you FEEL about the crying. What do I mean?
Crying is a huge TRIGGER (or in Son-Rise terminology a ‘stimulus’). It can bring up alot of beliefs and emotions that we may be holding. Our own discomfort gets in our way of calmly and easily helping our child while they are crying and it gets in our way of modeling this calm and ease that can be a pillar for your child to move towards.
The real question is- what are you making it mean to you?
Does any of this sound familiar?
When my child cries it means:
* I am not a good parent (I am withholding, not giving enough, not disciplined enough, not capable enough).
*My child is in pain.
*My child cannot handle this- this is too much for him.
*I must be doing something wrong.
As I mentioned before, as long as you are experiencing your child crying through the lens of any of these beliefs (or a myriad of any others) and therefore feel uncomfortable/stressed, you become paralyzed in helping your child.
Here is a simple 4 step exercise to help you feel more comfortable when your child is crying:
1. Go to a quiet place (you might have to leave the house) so you can reflect in a focused way about what you believe about your child’s crying.
2. Take at least 10 minutes and write down your answers to this question:
What does my child’s crying mean to me?
(Don’t think too hard, just write like a stream of consciousness, it does not even need to make sense right away).
3. Go through what you wrote and with a bright marker circle all of your beliefs that you wrote down and write those beliefs on a separate sheet of paper, under the title, “What my child’s crying means to me.”
4. Share your beliefs with a friend/partner and see if you really see those beliefs to be true (Am I really a bad mother? Is my son really not capable of handling this? Is it truly bad for him to cry?). Challenge and let go of any beliefs that you do not really hold as true.
Sometimes simply having clarity on why you are uncomfortable about your child crying will create a shift to help you feel more at ease and therefore inspire that ease in your child. Either way, you will be able to most effectively help your child when he is crying if you have the calm and ease yourself first.
What can I say folks, at the end of the day, it always come back to us. At least that is the one place we actually have control. This is where you are truly empowered and can offer empowerment to your child.