Something that a fair amount of parents struggle with is a child who cries a lot. It can be really draining to always be helping your child not be upset. Let’s talk about how we can handle this.
How do you handle a 7-year-old who cries a lot? Children who cry a lot generally have a lot of pent-up emotion that they have not let out. Laughter helps to release emotion in a positive way. Letting your child also cry out their emotions can be helpful as well. Sometimes that is what is needed.
There could be many reasons why a child may cry. Sometimes it is in excess and needs to be figured out. Here are some thoughts covering all realms of why children may cry.
Why do They Cry?
From what I researched, it could be that your child is just very sensitive. Let me explain.
We all have emotions and things that we feel. We experience “big feelings” as some people have put it. Now an adult can handle those things because of experience but also our brains are more fully developed, specifically our cerebral cortex is fully developed.
Young children have these “big feelings” as well but it is a lot harder for them to process them than it is for adults. Your child may be experiencing this in their life right now.
They may have the fear of being left out or not important. They may be upset that they don’t have a special job or assignment in social circles. All of these things and more are very real and scary to a child.
Here are some ways to help cope with these huge emotions.
How to Help Your Child
You want to know how to help your child. I want to help you help your child. Let’s do this!
One of the best medicines out there is laughter. If you are not getting a good laugh out of life once every little while, then you are doing things wrong. I recommend laughing to anyone. I love it. I am always trying to make a joke and enjoy life.
How can this help your kid you may ask? Well the most important thing I have to say is laughter helps to release pent up emotion.
People can bottle up their emotion and they will if they aren’t comfortable with someone. We want to have an audience (usually one person) to share our emotions with. This is why in some cases, people cry or share their thoughts. I’m sure that you can relate to this.
Well anyways, your child may bottle up all that happens at school and elsewhere. They need someone to they can trust with their emotions. I hope that you have that kind of a relationship with your child.
If you do, they will be able to share with you what they are feeling. Take time to be with them and laugh. Enjoy a good time together. This helps release bottled up emotion.
A Safe Atmosphere
Another thing I would do is create an atmosphere where your child or children can safely and confidently share their emotions. Make sure that they know they will be heard.
There are four different, main parenting styles out there.
The best one in Authoritative. This is a respectful relationship between both the parent and the child. I think this helps the child develop best.
The worst one, in my opinion, is Authoritarian. It is controlling in nature and most likely parents like this don’t allow emotion or teach their kids that emotions are weak and will be punished.
Let me say once an for all, emotions are good. They like everything else in life must be taken in moderation. In a good parent-child relationship/atmosphere, emotions should be allowed and understood.
Children need to be taught how to be emotionally mature.
Sometimes even good intentions could go wrong. For example, Attachment parenting (AP) is a philosophy that a parent should be responsive and physically close with their children. This sounds a good idea, right?
Well, it is. BUT! Sometimes parents who have that style will hurry to hush the emotions of that child leading them to believe that emotions should be avoided at all costs.
Other parents based on their style raise children who may not cry but are quick to anger. The feelings will burst out sooner or later regardless so it’s better to raise them in a safe and respectful environment.
This is a problem because we need to be raising our children now and our children in the future to be emotionally intelligent individuals. If a child cannot express their emotions well and handle them well, there is a possibility that they will lack the ability to handle them maturely in the future.
This can affect their entire lives. Please, raise your children in an atmosphere where emotions are safe and respected and taught.
Just Let It Out
I thought about making a reference to Frozen about letting your emotion go, but that’s been overdone for about four years now, so I’ll save you the pain.
In connection to the last one, allow your child just to cry. I mean it’s gotta come out somehow. These big emotions are gonna come out eventually. Maybe your child is overreacting, but whatever. It allows them to get everything out.
Send them to a quiet place where they can let it all out on their own time. This could be their room or yours or anywhere really. Just let them do their thing. They will either grow out of it or learn to control and condense it later on in life.
Soothing Your Child
Soothing your child is a great way to lower their anxiety level. When an infant is crying and you physically try to sooth them, their brain responds by strengthening their own neural pathways to soothe themselves. How neat is that?
Stop telling yourself that they are overacting. Yes, they are but move on from that fact. Your child doesn’t think the way you do. Let them think it is huge and then when you comfort and soothe them, teach them to see things as they really are.
It may also be good for you to teach your child to soothe themselves through uplifting thoughts. Teach them to think and believe that they will be okay and they will make it through. This will help while they work through emotions.
Teach Your Child to Think Positively
I have a little sister who thought very negatively growing up. She is doing much better and that is because of my mom. My mom taught her so much. I want to share somethings I noticed with you.
The main thing I remember is my mom teaching my little sister to reverse her negative thoughts. Turn them on their heads and make something positive of it. I’m sure my mom had had it up to here with her attitude so she went about to change it.
My little sister would say something negative and my mom would ask her why she felt that way. My mom would interrupt her inaccurate thoughts and teach her to correct her habitual negative thoughts. It took time but my younger sister is really learning a lot and becoming happier and attached to reality.
Another thing my mom would do is teach her how to be happy after she was done being upset. Somehow, after crying her eyes out, she was more reasonable and willing to listen.
If you try these things and your child still struggles, I would recommend a cognitive therapist. They are incredible and they can help to rewire and change the bad patterns of their brain.
Thinking positively is so important to being happy and curbing the crying habit. The switch to channeling positive emotions will be a long but rewarding process.
If your child is still holding onto something that bothered them some time ago and it still makes them cry a ridiculous amount, I would just sit them down and ask them to tell you the story and what they felt. Maybe they just need somebody to talk to.
I know that I have felt this way. We want to share our emotion and we need to from time to time. Sometimes an ear to hear and a shoulder to lean on is all we need.
If you show your child that you care, they will grow much closer to you. They will trust you more. This will help in the long run during this process. Validating can’t really go wrong.
Crying Throughout Different Ages
And I don’t mean throughout time since it began. I mean through the early lifespan of life.
Generally, babies just cry for everything. This is a given. But babies have to because they aren’t able to speak and articulate words. Because of this, they have to be able to send signals that they are distressed.
Whether it is pain, hunger, or being separated from an adult, they will cry because that is the only way they can communicate.
Older children are similar but different. They can use words now. They can express themselves. Yes, they can still cry if they are hurt or feel emotion. They may cry because of fear even.
There is a bigger array of emotions that an older child may feel, like guilt or remorse after bad behavior. Older children are also able to notice who does and who doesn’t respond well to their crying.
Crying is something that does happen and from time to time. It is extremely helpful. It can help to heal or release pent-up emotion. I have experienced that myself. If your child does it in excess, you should work with them to overcome it.
Sometimes your kid can just be uncontrollable and it’s humiliating when you can’t seem to get a handle on the situation. Here are some things I have learned about temper tantrums.
Most of the time when people think of temper tantrums, they think of the kids who act out to get they want. You know the ones. The ones that will flail around on the floor at a Walmart until their parent is too embarrassed and gives them what they want.
I’m NOT talking about those kinds of kids.
I want to speak on the subject of children who actually struggle with handling their emotions and not those that act out to get what they want. Because there are children out there who’s emotions seem bigger than they are.
A reason why a child could start having temper tantrums is that they were never taught not to. A huge reason is that they are not taught how to handle their emotions. I am not saying that it needs to be bridled and never shown, but children need to be taught how to be emotionally mature. I advocate this.
Children need to be taught how to be emotionally mature. This is crucial for them to learn how to curb their temper. Sometimes emotions are just out of whack because your child is tired or hungry or it just happens.
As a parent, walking your child through an emotional cooldown and talking to is one of the most important things a parent can do for their child at this moment. It establishes trust and comfort for the child to know that their parent(s) are there to help them.
I firmly believe that as a parent, it is your job to teach your child emotional intelligence. All of these things that I have written about involve the parent teaching their child to emotionally intelligent. It will have far-reaching positive effects on their life going forward.
A child who is falling apart is not always like the ones at the store. It is not a flailing of arms and wailing. That can happen but that is not always the case.
Sometimes the child just can’t handle a situation and freezes up. Their brain won’t function correctly in these circumstances. They are struggling to see how they can even make it through this experience. Sometimes fear just takes control of the child.
All of these things and more are something called “amygdala hijacking.” It’s when your brain and fear sensors go into “fight or flight” mode.
We have another post that goes far more in depth about this subject. This is just the surface. If you want to know more, click here.
Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, coined the term. He believed that despite how far we have come as a species, we still have a primal instinct of “fight or flight.” How true that is. Otherwise, we would get hurt far more or unable to succeed in tough situations.
That term is very popular and it is known by many people. I think one of the reasons why it is so popular is because we all understand it and have felt it in ourselves.
Teaching your child emotional intelligence is the best way to help your child overcome the hijacking. It will teach them to see reality. Teach them what has helped you. There are also many books on this subject that you can find.
If you aren’t a neurosurgeon, you might be wondering what or where the amygdala is located. The same post I linked to above has the information.
Basically what you need to know about the amygdala is that it is connected to the fear circuit in your brain. It is also involved in memories and storing them.
So to recap, humans can have their Amygdala hijacked and all notions of reason are out the door. They freak out for a period of time. The way to combat this is teaching your child emotional intelligence.
How do I stop my 7-year-old from whining? Figure out why they feel the need to whine. Listen to what they have to say. Sometimes your kids may just need someone to listen to them. Acknowledge your child’s need for attention. Who else are they gonna talk to? The mailman?
Teach your child to address problems or questions in a better way and then fix it. Even teaching them that they need to stop commenting and how it really is not as bad as they think it is. Once again, emotional intelligence is super helpful for this.
How do you deal with a highly emotional child? I think one of the most important things you can do is validate their emotions. Let them cry it all out if they need to. After they have calmed down, then teach them how to handle emotions and try to see things realistically.
Create a supportive environment. Even teaching them to count down or up when they are stressed can help to distract them from whatever emotion they feel.
Is it OK to cry every day? It is not normal to cry every single day for no discernible reason. That should be check. If your child is struggling in this way, I would take them to a doctor or a therapist.