Sunday, 13 April 2014

Have Questions~Have Answers? # 13- Why do children cry?

The sound of children crying affects us in many different ways as the sound of their cries vary and produce different emotions within each one of us. There are times when it is necessary to try and calm children down quickly whereas on other occasions children may be left to cry 'for their own good.' A debatable point.

In small babies crying is their first form of direct communication- I wonder why we learn to cry so much sooner than we learn to laugh- couldn't nature have nurtured these two fundamentals simultaneously? Maybe it was meant as a subliminal message,' life is tough so you may as well get used to it!' or- 'He who cries loudest and makes the most fuss is more likely to get what he wants fast!' This idea might sound far fetched but as babies we only have a set of lungs to use to alert people to our hunger or other forms of discomfort. All subsequent communication is learned communication.

As parents, you will need to make decisions as to how you will handle your crying child. This will depend upon the situation, age of your child, their level of understanding and your personal views. So many parents do everything by the book, probably because most of us no longer have regular access to the extended family where traditional childcare flows effortlessly between generations. Instead, we rely upon the childcare experts for guidance and what a minefield that is!

How you handle tears will determine the way in which your child is likely to use them. If a child gets what they want when they cry, whether seeking the parents' attention or a treat, they are likely to cry a great deal more than children who are encouraged to resolve little difficulties- from picking themselves up following a fall to sharing toys with other children. Sadly some children are always given what they want immediately so fail to learn the art of sharing and negotiation, gaining a reputation as a cry baby. If you think you are doing your child a favour by making life easy for them, think again- you are actually complicating the process. What happens when your child goes to school? Very often they will be picked on by the 'bullies' because they cry at everything which satisfies the unhealthy power desire in other children.Over protected children may well lack confidence and find it hard to stand up for themselves or even speak up in class.

Tears are a natural part of our persona and many things will bring tears to our eyes from physical pain to emotion. Tears have a cleansing value acting as a physical outlet for bottled up feelings- we shed tears of anger and tears of joy. Children have tears for the same reasons and we may need to help them to identify the deeper emotions behind their tears. Sometimes children will enter new phases, particularly the birth of a sibling or major move and need help adjusting. For all of us, life is a matter of identifying the way we feel and finding different strategies to cope rather than blaming other people for our fears and upsets.Emotional independence leads to happier people and we can encourage this in our children.

In summary~ Children always cry for a reason. There is always a cause but how often they cry may well be down to us!

Jaz McKenzie

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