Children cry. Adults cry. We all cry. Most traditional teachers and classrooms don’t want children to cry. They find it “problematic and disruptive” to the educational environment and other students. Of course, I understand and appreciate the need to teach — but isn’t learning emotional and social skills at the crux of successful living? I would say, YES. So recently when a slew of parents from my postman to long-term client stopped me to ask, “My child cries at school, what do I do?” I took a pause, and realized maybe this is something I need to write a blog on…
Why do children cry?
Of course, every child is different but crying means they’re upset (i.e. overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, sad, feeling disappointed). Crying is an easy thing to do. It immediately relieves the energetic pressure a child is feeling. But when “you know better, you do better” as the motto goes. So these children aren’t yet aware or trained in other ways to handle their fast-moving, intense and need to exit energy. For example, my 8 yr-old client, Maddy, cried every time she was in third grade math. She became so frustrated, and angry that she doesn’t “get it” the way her teacher explains it. But after working together, I taught Maddy new ways to exit her energy (let her frustration go) such as deep breaths and also helped her see the situation differently. The good news is Maddy learned how to better manage her energy and the daily crying in Math disappeared.
What can we do?
So crying is healthy and natural. I would even say it’s a good sign. Tears are healing and certainly from an energy standpoint release pent-up energy. They are also one way of handling a situation when their are many to choose from. Giving our highly sensitive kids more choices, and helping them see their situation differently — whatever is happening, will be a powerful part of helping them to develop the emotional and social skills they need to thrive.