First Friday Q&A for March — Is it OK to Let Them Cry?

What a great question from Elexa, a caregiver in a toddler grouping.

(And I’d like to say those stacks of books behind me are waiting to be shelved because I’ve been such a voracious reader lately, but they’re actually left out after being used as weights for some fantastic fort building….)

(This video can also be viewed directly on YouTube.)

When children become upset, it isn’t about us controlling their emotions, it’s about us respecting their emotions and helping them build their own emotional regulation and self-soothing techniques.  Sometimes that includes giving them their space.  Verbalize, validate, and be available, but allow them to express their emotions. Of course there are boundaries on this, they are not allowed to hurt people or property in the process and they may have to find a more appropriate place to express those emotions, but be present if they need you and give them space when they need it (though that does mean you are still available).

Our objective isn’t for children to be perpetually happy, regardless of the cost.  Our objective is to teach them to recognize their emotions, feel they are validated, and learn to appropriately express and regulate their emotions for themselves.  This gift of emotional health offers happiness that lasts much longer.

Here are some great resources on the topic:

Parent Do-Overs: 7 Confidence Building Responses {Janet Lansbury}  (Pay attention to #1 on the list!)

Attachment Parenting Debate (For Crying Out Loud!) {Janet Lansbury}

7 Reasons to Calm Down About Babies Crying {Janet Lansbury}

Babies and Crying: What’s a Parent to Do? {Regarding Baby}

A Toddler, a Tantrum, and a Firetruck.  Lessons from the Trenches {NJC}

Teaching Children How to Handle Their Emotions: As Simple as PIE {Simple Kids}

Parenting Preschoolers: A Starting Place for Social Grace {Simple Kids}

**Edit 3/3/12:  I had to add this link via Lisa Sunbury on Facebook:

Validating Children’s Feelings {4 C…For Children}


What are YOUR thoughts on today’s topic?



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