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My 6-year-old still cries like a baby

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Seriously, the kid breaks into wails that can be heard around the neighborhood---for something as benign as an accidental stray squirt with a spray bottle during water play. It's so embarrassing.

 

I know that sometimes there are things worth crying about, but how can I teach him to control himself to save the crying for when he is actually hurt, and then to keep it at a reasonable volume?

post #2 of 9

I think it's okay to cry, for whatever reason.  Sometimes it can be irritating to listen to, sure.  

What's your concern about him crying?  Why does it embarrass you?  

I also think there's no need to 'save' it for when you think it matters most.

 

If you think that his reactions are alarmingly inappropriate, I wonder if you have any thoughts about whether or not he might be highly sensitive?  Some highly sensitive children WOULD be undone by a stray spray of water whilst playing.  It can be that big of a deal.  It might be as big of a deal as if he'd been punched in the gut.  

 

I'd try to stay curious and open-minded about his crying, and look at your own reaction.  Is it a trigger for you for some reason?  Are you particularly sensitive to noise?  Was is not okay for you to cry as a child?

 

Staying curious myself ... 

post #3 of 9

aaah mama. there are so many types of hurt. hurt is  not just physical pain. it is emotional pain. pain of disappointment. pain of failure. 

 

6 is a very emotional age. VERY. has he always done the wailing or is it new?

 

i really dont have any clue of how to stop him. i have a feeling age will help as he will mature. 

 

you can give him reassurahces while he weeps will be very helpful support.

 

maybe turn around the way you look upon his crying. he is so able to express his feeling without bottling it up 

post #4 of 9

I have to admit that I sometimes have had a hard time dealing with children crying when I don't know what is going on.  It can actually trigger various emotions at times, depending on my own emotional state when it is going on.  I might feel angry and take it personally, as if it's anger and recrimination being directed towards me.  Or I might feel unsettled and annoyed, like I have to fix it when there is really nothing that I can do, as I see it.  And sometimes just pure exasperation at feeling like my child has no coping skills at all.  I'm sure I've said that plenty of times, and I went through a phase where I really wanted to take my kids to volunteer in a refugee camp in the Sudan, or something, so they could just gain some doggone perspective. lol.gif

Part of what I ended up doing was just acknowledging the pain I felt my child was trying to express, and then if the crying was just loud screaming or tantruming, telling my daughter that she was allowed to scream and be angry, but she was hurting my ears with the volume, and she needed to go to another room.  Or I would go to another room if that's what it took. There was a point in time where I feel like there had to be a screaming meltdown and then a cathartic cry before equilibrium was restored.  It's also important to give yourself empathy too with some internal self talk acknowledging how stressful you find the situation.  That is the first part of non-violent communication. 

 

It's really hard when the hypersensitive child is also the hypercritical and blaming child who can very easily dish it out, but not take it.  Sometimes it felt like my daughter would cry in a forced and artificial way over, and carry a grudge and become insulting over some small issue that I feel she should be able to take in stride.  I have no idea how many proverbial straws have already broken for her before that point, but I do feel frustrated when it feels like she has no respect for me or my feelings in a situation while demanding I care about her. And I did want her to understand that we can all have strong emotions, but not react in the same way, but it doesn't mean we feel any better or less about it.  So while I acknowledge the emotion she is feeling, I don't want the crying to become a learned response to indicate that she believes she is suffering more because she is crying.  

I don't think that's what you are talking about, per se, but it's interesting how something will work for awhile, and then stop working, or become more of a hindrance.  I started using some of the 1-2-3 Magic techniques that a therapist recommended, and it's basically my way of saying feel your emotion, get out your feelings, but I'm not going to continually engage with you over this issue, and I'm not going to listen to any verbal abuse.

The thing is, she was much more stoical in the presence of others.  So at school if something happened, she was not the loud one, and the loud one, the one that seemed to be the most hurt was the one that got the attention, and the one not crying is usually considered the perpetrator, so that may have been part of the dynamic that she was witnessing, and which was influencing her. I have been around other children who seemed big and old, but would break down into hysterics over certain things, and I had to remind myself that people have different personalities and ways of expressing themselves, and personal feelings and cultural forces are shaping how I see this behavior.  

So for me, it was best not to take it too personally, not get into a protracted discussion, and with the outside forces of other adults and what you believe they are thinking about you and your child, not to let that get in the way. What helped with my younger daughter and her meltdowns was that she would spend a lot of time writing down what was bothering her.  She might not talk in more than squeaks and growls in certain states of mind, but she would spend a lot of time writing down angry feelings, and then explaining what was going on for her.  That helped me understand her as well as helping her by giving her an outlet.  My older daughter never did that, however.

post #5 of 9

My dd has always been a crier.  It drives me BANANAS.  She's 7 1/2 now and honestly, there are times she cries as much as she did when she was 3.  About 2 years ago I made a rule that she could cry as much as she wanted, but she had to do it quietly. I still talk her through it and validate/problem solve her issue, but she must not screech and moan.  She's a very hands on child, she needs a lot of touching.  So when she's upset and goes off the rails, she's in my face, hot sweaty, snotty and sobbing adding in the loud crying makes it impossible for me to comfort her.  If she howls and carries on, she must go to her room or remove herself from the group.  I know it's harsh, but trust me, MY reaction to her howling and sobbing turns it into a nightmare. Obviously I could handle it better, but for the love of all that's holy, sometimes she's so ridiculous I can't even begin to empathize. 

 

Lately it's foot stomping instead of loud crying.  I dont' know I'm going to make her stop this one.  

 

I wish I had better advice, crying quietly is the only thing that i've come up with to help her (mostly to allow me to help her). 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to thank those of you who have replied. I don't have time to respond in detail right now, but I resonate with reactions from a couple of the perspectives represented so far. One thing I will add is that his crying outbursts are not just for when he's gotten a little bump or scrape, but also when he doesn't get his way in a game or feels that another player has acted unfairly. Or when there's a race and he loses (and it's always unfair because he wasn't ready, or he fell, or whatever). He goes from 0 to 100 in an instant---wailing and weeping alligator tears. Pretty much when things don't go his way, he brings on the theatrics. Sometimes, it feels manipulative to me. Sort of like "Well, fine. If you're not going to do things my way, you're going to have to listen to some noise."

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Viola View Post

It's really hard when the hypersensitive child is also the hypercritical and blaming child who can very easily dish it out, but not take it.  Sometimes it felt like my daughter would cry in a forced and artificial way over, and carry a grudge and become insulting over some small issue that I feel she should be able to take in stride.  I have no idea how many proverbial straws have already broken for her before that point, but I do feel frustrated when it feels like she has no respect for me or my feelings in a situation while demanding I care about her. And I did want her to understand that we can all have strong emotions, but not react in the same way, but it doesn't mean we feel any better or less about it.  So while I acknowledge the emotion she is feeling, I don't want the crying to become a learned response to indicate that she believes she is suffering more because she is crying.  

I don't think that's what you are talking about, per se, but it's interesting how something will work for awhile, and then stop working, or become more of a hindrance.  

Actually it is a lot of what I'm talking about. Hypersensitive, hypercritical and blaming...yeah that would pretty much describe him.

 

Why is it embarrassing...well...I guess because when I look around at other 6 year olds, it seems like most of them have a handle on this. So I feel embarrassed that my kid is taking longer. Is my embarrassment legitimate? Maybe not. But it is what it is. I feel like there are other areas where I'm ok with my kids taking longer, but this one seems to hit a nerve with me. Maybe because it's so obvious, while things like not being able to ride a bike yet aren't as blatant.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilliepepper View Post

Actually it is a lot of what I'm talking about. Hypersensitive, hypercritical and blaming...yeah that would pretty much describe him.

 

Why is it embarrassing...well...I guess because when I look around at other 6 year olds, it seems like most of them have a handle on this. So I feel embarrassed that my kid is taking longer. Is my embarrassment legitimate? Maybe not. But it is what it is. I feel like there are other areas where I'm ok with my kids taking longer, but this one seems to hit a nerve with me. Maybe because it's so obvious, while things like not being able to ride a bike yet aren't as blatant.

 


I just wanted to chime in about this last bit. I know it's hard when it seems like all the other 6-year-olds don't do this anymore, when they know how to do something, handle somethings, behave differently and maybe "better," but every kid develops differently and comparing can be a slippery slope. My son is quite an explosive personality and though he's not prone to crying fits, he can be very loud, very forceful and at 8 years old he can't tie his own shoelaces or put himself to bed. Try to talk about his behavior to him and how it impacts you and the other kids when he is calm and receptive. Remain calm and supportive when he cries. I know it's hard, my son is a very loud and vocal kid and it can get overwhelming, especially in public.

post #8 of 9

I have a 7 and 1/2 year old daughter who does the same thing! It's particularly annoying because she really DOES seem like the loudness is a punishment for us for her not getting her way. We live in an apartment (top floor) and she will stomp in an attempt to annoy the downstairs neighbors (who we don't know) and bang on the shared walls. Whether it's a developmental delay or hypersensitivity or what, it's really affecting a lot. Really hoping it goes away soon. Hugs to anyone who is also dealing with this behavior!

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post

 Or I might feel unsettled and annoyed, like I have to fix it when there is really nothing that I can do, as I see it.  And sometimes just pure exasperation at feeling like my child has no coping skills at all. 

 

This! I think you just put into words why crying can get under my skin. 

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