Saturday, August 29, 2009

Messages about Crying

Here are some messages about crying that are commonly given to children:

“There there, don’t cry.”
"I can't deal with you when you're like this."
"Go to your room until you're done crying."
“Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
“Don’t be such a baby!”
“You always overreact to everything!”
“You’re so melodramatic about everything!”
“You’re a faker baker!"
"Oh, it’s not that bad!”
“Hush, hush, we’ll get another one.”
“What are you crying for, silly willy? Look, I have a fun game over here!”
“Cry baby! Cry baby!”
“Stop crying and use your words.”
“Big girls don’t cry.”
“What a little drama queen you are.”
“Wow, you’re so tough/such a big girl, you didn’t even cry when you ____.”

Some of these are obviously cruel. Some praise not crying. Some simply distract from crying. While distraction is sometimes appropriate, when used too frequently, it can give the message that tears are unacceptable, when in fact they are a valid and healthy way to release big emotions.

Here are some more positive alternative messages to consider:

"I love you."
"I'm listening."
"You're safe with me."
"I will stay with you."
"It's okay to cry."
"You're very sad because ____"
"You're very sad. It looks like you need to cry."
"I see you scraped your knee. That looks like it hurts."
"It was scary when you fell down."
"You can cry as much as you need to until you feel better."

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