10 Things to Say Instead of Stop Crying
Honor is much older now, but like any other child, she gets her whining and crying in. I've learned a lot over the last four years, about what works and what doesn't with her. I've learned that with Honor, positive re-enforcement goes so much further than me loosing my cool. It makes sense though, right? I'm a sensitive person, and when I'm upset or feeling some type of way, I don't want to be told that my feelings are invalid. Someone yelling at me certainly wouldn't solve the problem. I've tried to think about that when approaching Honor's temper tantrums and it works in our home.
I'm a big believer in doing what is right for your own journey, but I also think we should take the time to share ideas and thoughts with one another. It makes mothering so much easier when you have a jumping off place from lessons already learned. With that in mind, I decided to jot down some of the things you can say to your little ones instead of "stop crying."
1. You are entitled to your feelings.
I will never tell Honor that her feelings aren't legitimate; I don't have the right to do that. I want her to know that for whatever reason she is feeling what she is feeling, it is okay. It doesn't mean that if I've made a decision that led her to be upset (ex. not giving her dessert), that I will change my mind.
2. I see how upset you are.
Acknowledging her feelings is the first step to me helping her learn how to work through them. I don't want to shut them down, because that's not a healthy practice to have later in life either. I want to help her, and that starts with letting her know I'm seeing her.
3. I'm here for you if you want to talk to me.
Sometimes when I'm upset, I don't want to talk about it. Okay, that's not true, I always want to talk about it, but sometimes it takes a few minutes for me to get to a place to be ready to. I want her to know that when she gets to that place, I'm available and she is a priority.
4. Don't be embarrassed.
I never want her to feel embarrassed by her thoughts and emotions. She is a smart, important person, and what she thinks and feels has value. I want to manifest that into her little spirit at an early age.
5. I know it doesn't feel fair.
This goes back to acknowledging her feelings. I'm not telling her that what is happening isn't fair, I'm saying I understand it doesn't feel that way. By starting off where she's at, I can help her move forward, through her feelings, to understanding.
6. Tell me about your feelings.
I don't even want to name her feelings for her. I want her to tell me what she is feeling, and then I can jump in from there. "I hear you say that you are angry. Why are you angry?"
7. I'm listening.
I don't let distractions get in the way of this time with her. I'm always on the move, on the phone, in a meeting, go-go-go; but she needs to know that in moments when she needs me, she gets all of me. I'm here, I'm listening, you are important.
8. It's okay to be upset.
This is a great opening statement for also teaching our kids how to handle those feelings of being upset. "I know you are upset. Let's talk about healthy ways to express that."
9. I know this is hard for you.
Maybe your child is upset because of something completely out of your control. That as a parent I think is one of the hardest scenarios. Sometimes all we can do in those moments is acknowledge that what they are dealing with is hard, and we know how strong they are for going through it.
10. I love you.
I think sometimes all we need is a little validation and reassurance that we are in fact loved, and the best time to give that is when someone is at their most vulnerable. It's easy say I love you in the good moments, but it's important to say it in the hard ones.
I hope these messages of reassurance and understanding resonated with you, as they have for me on my parenting journey. It's been trial and error, and will continue to be as Honor gets older and we try to navigate new territory and lessons. I'd love to hear how you handle emotional moments with your family and avoid the "Stop Crying". Share below!