Crying is a normal response to strong emotions. If your child is demonstrating excessive crying or a change in crying frequency…Try these strategies:
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Acknowledge that crying is okay
- Avoid phrases like, “boys shouldn’t cry” or, “big kids don’t cry”
- Explain that crying is how we process big emotions
- Discuss emotion at times when things are calm
- Remind them of other times when the child has overcome obstacles
- Describe how a familiar movie, television or book characters handled their emotions.
- Attention or rumination often reinforces crying behavior
- When the child is crying set a timer for how long you will indulge the topic causing the tears
- Provide a safe place for the child to cry without an audience
- Emphasize that emotions will come and go. Talk about the visual of emotions acting as waves on a beach, it will wash in and wash out.
- Problem solve with your child
- Count to ten
- Take deep breaths
- Take a break
- Use positive self-talk (e.g., “I can do this!)
- Label the issue at hand, identify sensations they are feeling in their body due to the issue, identify what they need to do to feel better immediately (e.g., nap, take a walk), and brainstorm what they can do to calm when they feel this way. For example,