What to say to your child instead of 'stop crying'

There are more effective ways to calm your child down...

January 29 2019

How do I stop my child crying without telling them to... stop crying?

In a post published on the blog, Happiness is here, mum of four girls, Sara, says those two words can be interpreted in so many different ways to a child. Stop crying, can be heard as: “Don’t be silly”, “Stop that noise, right now!” or, “Shh, everyone is looking at you.”

When in reality, all they want is to feel understood.

“Every time you dismiss or minimise your child’s feelings, you actually make your job harder,” says Sara who completed a masters degree in Clinical Psychology.

“If you don’t hear the message they are trying to send you, the messenger just gets louder and louder until you do.

“Children are looking for empathy and understanding. If they don’t get it, they’ll keep trying.”

Despite society giving sadness a bad wrap, Child psychologist Dr Louise Porter told the Canberra Times our emotions have a part to play.

"Emotions get us moving in an attempt to meet our needs," said Dr Porter. "So the pleasant emotions tell us that our needs are being satisfied and the unpleasant, what we sometimes call the negative emotions, tell us something is going wrong for us and we need to do something different to meet our needs."

"If we didn't feel them [emotions] we wouldn't know we needed looking after."

It can be difficult for parents to watch their child in pain or sad, but Porter says the best thing they can do is resist the urge to fix things.

“Resilience comes about not from avoiding challenges or avoiding obstacles," explains Dr Porter, "but from encouraging them with support."