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ok first i want to say that i have NO desire to teach him to NOT cry. i do NOT want him to *stop* this behavior, i want to help him process it. i suppose this might not even belong in GD, but i couldn't think of anywhere else to post it. if it's better somewhere else, please feel free to move it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
ok...so my son is and has always been very sensitive. he's about to turn 3 in a couple of weeks. we have a new DD who is 3mos old and he has been fabulous with her, though obviously doing a bit more acting out since her birth. nothing major, and nothing at all directed TOWARD her.<br><br>
about 1month ago he started doing something that makes total sense to me, but i'm not sure how to help him process it. he'll start to cry and it looks like he's mostly pretending, practicing feelings. of course there are times he cries for real, but these are different. they start out like he's playing and acting something out like he's pretending that his toy is stuck in the mud or whatever. then he'll start crying *for* the toy...like he's the toy and he's doing his part. does that make sense? anyway, so he'll start out like that sometimes and then it grows into a real cry with tears, etc...<br><br>
sometimes it's not him acting out the part of the toy, but he still really seems to be just practicing his emotions. he'll look in the mirror and watch himself escalate...<br><br>
i hope i'm describing this correctly. anyway, when he does this i always go to him and hug him or hold him and ask him why he's sad, if he's hurt, etc...he'll usually just sort of hold me and sometimes he'll smile or giggle a bit and resume crying. you know, like big crocodile tears. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
now, like i said, i do NOT want him to *stop* this. i think it's important that i encourage him to explore his emotions. i realize that what i may be thinking of as practice is actually not, and he's really feeling sad/hurt/whatever. which is another reason that i don't want to stop him. most of the time he starts doing this when i'm busy with ava or something, and part of it is probably just an attention-getting tactic so i'll go hold him. which, honestly, is ok with me. he does need attention and he needs to be held.<br><br>
BUT - i think i'm not doing a good job of helping him process when he's REALLY sad and when he wants to sort of practice his feelings. is this something i should be doing? if so, how? what kinds of things can i say to help him process how he's feeling in the moment. like i said, i don't even know if that's something i should be doing or if i should just treat every one as though he really is sad/hurt. which i'm happy to do. i just thought that maybe i was missing an opportunity to help him understand his emotions a bit more.<br><br>
any advice? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Well, if he's practicing feelings (which I think most children do) I think it would be helpful to him to have you practice empathic responses, trying to match the degree of playfulness he is bringing to it (that is, when he stops and giggles or whatever, so do you, letting him know that you both are playing and you're willing to play).
 
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