Have you ever wondered what to say to your child instead of ‘stop crying?’
If you have kids, you will know what it’s like to be in that moment where you do not have time for tears. Maybe they no longer feel like scooting their way home, but they don’t want to push it either. Have they fallen on the floor in the grocery store and have attached themselves to your ankle, like a human mop?
The question is, is it OK to tell your toddler not to cry? Are you wondering what to say instead of ‘stop crying’?
In this post, we are going to take a look!
Is it OK To Tell A Toddler To Stop Crying?
Generally speaking, you can tell your child to stop crying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will. You can fall over and cut your knee and tell it to stop bleeding, but it is unlikely to suddenly scab over and dry up just because you told it to.
So what is the use of ordering an emotion to change, especially to a child still learning to process their feelings?
By telling your child to stop crying, you ask them to withhold their emotions and that it isn’t appropriate to express them if they feel they need to.
We send a very incorrect message that their feelings aren’t valid and instead come across as annoying or ill-timed. Instead, it would be best to teach your child about emotions and helping your child to deal with them.
Instead of Stop Crying, Say One of These 10 Things To Crying Children
When you are in the moment, it can be difficult to think of calm ways to support your child in their current state. You might not want to sit and have a heart-to-heart with a 2-year-old in the middle of the street but guess what? Sometimes I have.
In fact, I recall having a lovely conversation with my son in the middle of town, and I also remember being stared at by passers-by, who must have thought I had gone crazy.
But what happened? We paused. For a few minutes. We got to the bottom of the problem, and we shared a hug, and off we went.
But it is possible, with a little patience and understanding, there are some very empathic ways you can deal with a crying child without telling them to stop it!
I’m Here For You
First thing’s first, you are there for them. Through the tears and sadness, getting that message across is the most important. If your child knows they aren’t alone, they will automatically feel comforted, even if all they want to do is keep crying.
Sometimes kids may not want to talk about it right there and then because they are overridden with whatever the cause for tears is. As long as they know you are there, it will go a long way to them feeling better.
Instead of stop crying, why don’t you say ‘I’m here for you’?
Do You Know What Is Making You Feel Sad?
Funny how replacing ‘stop crying’ with ‘do you know the reason you are sad?’ can make a world of difference. I phrase the question this way because sometimes they might not know.
Kids can be tired, and all it takes is a small trigger like they dropped a chip to cause a breakdown or the chip that broke the camel’s back. There are hundreds of reasons why you are dealing with children crying.
If you ask this, there is a chance you could actually do something to help. Is it a blister? Is there a stone in their shoe? Do they need the toilet? Ask away, see what answer you get, and from there, you could work on it and dry those tears right up.
This Has Happened To Me Before
When my son is upset, sometimes he says to me, ‘Has this ever happened to you before?’ Desperate for somebody to understand him, I reply yes.
It could be a paper cut or if he has an upset tummy. It doesn’t really matter what it is; the fact remains that he might get a little freaked out from time to time and wonder if he is the first person on the planet to experience the consequences.
When faced with crying kids and wondering what to say, offer sympathy or reassurance where you can. It works wonders.
They will gaze up at you and want to know all the details, and that is your chance to tell them how it made you feel. What you are doing is offering ways by which others cope. Sometimes you might even receive a laugh or two!
It Doesn’t Seem Fair, Does it?
Kids and rules don’t always mesh well together. When the rules apply, yet you have no power to change them, then the control is firmly out of your hands.
Yep, you guessed it, absolutely not fair.
A child who is still coming to terms with their development and emotions isn’t going to stand well here all the time.
If your child feels overwhelmed by this, you can understand why. This was you one day, with your injustices pouring out of you in the form of tears and tantrums. As you age, you learn to understand that rules are necessary, but a toddler who cannot put his shoe on and who has to go out with mom to the shops isn’t going to have that cognitive awareness yet.
Instead of ‘stop crying,’ cut them some slack and let them know that you know it isn’t fair.
It’s OK To Feel Sad
We have a winner. ‘It’s OK to feel sad’ is imperative for validating your child’s emotions. Imagine telling a crying them ‘You’re fine, stop crying,’ and really think about the message you are giving them. I’m sure some parents may even think they sound reassuring when they say it’s OK, but if your child really was alright, then why are you dealing with a child crying?
A far better option, and without offering alternative things to say, is to offer them the time they need to let it out. Sure, something isn’t fair or well-timed, and they are upset, but sometimes, do we as adults cry if we are frustrated? We sure do. And that’s OK too.
Do You Want To Talk About It?
Talking goes deeper than speaking words. Any chance you give to allow them to feel like they are being heard will help immensely. If a child needs to talk, such as witnessing somebody hurt themselves or seeing somebody shout, there are bound to be times where your child will benefit from a heart-to-heart.
This also shows that you care and have compassion for them. They might say no as well, which would be OK. But to know you are there and an open book will show them that when they are ready, they can.
Instead of stop crying, talk about it instead!
Would You Like A Hug?
The vast majority of people love a good hug, don’t they? If times are tough, we know we can rely on being held and told that everything is OK without a word muttered (although that alongside a hug is equally appreciated).
You are your child’s nurturer, so they know your hugs mean the world to them. Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything!
Children have this heartbreaking ability to collapse into our arms if they are overwhelmed. Have you ever been to a place where your little one is happy as Larry, pottering about, and then suddenly they trip or fall and hurt themselves?
They get up, they scan the room for you, and they run and jump on you. You soothe them and hold them, and they sob until they feel better.
That Must Have Been Upsetting/Sad/Frustrating
You are there with them. Did you see something happen together? If they are coming to you for comfort due to a sad or frightening experience, remind them of what it was.
Teaching your children to process their emotions based on association with a trigger is a crucial gift to offer.
Instead of stop crying, validate the emotion!
I Can Help You Work This Out
A problem shared is a problem halved, and you can consider your child’s feelings by helping them work it out. There are times where lending your hand to help your child can work wonders. Our aim as parents is to encourage them, but step in if they ask or are frustrated, and sometimes all they need is a little verbal guidance, ‘Wiggle your foot down and push into the shoe.’ Anything to remind them you are there.
It is never nice to feel alone, especially if you are feeling under par. Offering help is showing you are on the same side, and you can work together. Growing up, this is a great approach to show you have their back.
If You Need A Little Space, Know That I am Right There When You Are Ready
Sometimes our emotions get the better of us, and we need a little time to process what is going on and how we feel. Firing 20 questions their way when they are sad will only confuse them and scramble their brains, which isn’t conducive to calm in frustrating situations.
Although children’s minds are still growing, they are getting to know themselves and all the emotions they experience. Finding a little space in the house for quiet contemplation is always a nice idea; a small, quiet book corner with some fairy lights and soft cushions will calm excess energy. It can seem hard to step back and allow them to figure it out for themselves, but sometimes, it is what both they and you might need.
Conclusion – Be There
Stop crying simply doesn’t cut it anymore, even if you are running low on time and patience! Get used to other things to say instead of ‘stop crying.’ By not helping out when it happens, you are making your job harder for the future.
The take-home message is to be there, plain and simple. It might be something you never had when you were little, and sometimes that can be hard to push down, especially if the crying is upsetting or frustrating for you.
Practice patience, and in time, these moments of sadness will get easier to deal with as and when they occur.
Crying doesn’t have to be bad, and it doesn’t have to be the result of something bad. It also doesn’t have to elicit rage in a parent. Take your time and consider your response.