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  • Teach your children that it’s healthy to cry

    Our society has such a powerful stigma against crying. It makes many people simply uncomfortable. Many parents will tell their children “don’t cry” with the best intentions. Understandably, we want to protect our children from suffering. But we’re actually not protecting them at all. Nobody’s life is free from some kind of sorrow and pain. Crying is a natural and healthy response. Children (and adults) need to feel their emotions and release them. Then they can move forward and work on solving their problems.

    Unfortunately, children receive the message that crying is bad, wrong, and shameful. They push their feelings down. They may act out with anger and aggression. Anger is a mask that covers the sadness within. All emotions are valid. But we often don’t let our kids BE sad when they feel sad. Especially boys.

    But what if we taught our children that it’s actually ok to cry? More than just ok–actually normal and healthy. Our tear ducts are there for a reason. Crying is an evolutionary response to the trials of life. It’s cleansing. And freeing. You will feel a little better after processing and releasing your emotions.

    Many highly sensitive children and adults tend to cry easily. Or tear up easily. HSPs are deeply moved by the arts. So watching a poignant or touching moment on a show (or even a commercial) may cause a HSP to tear up. We really feel it all.

    The hallmark features of HSPs (as researched by Dr. Elaine Aron) are encapsulated in the DOES acronym–Depth of processing, Overstimulation, Emotional responsivity, and Sensitivity to subtleties. This may look like “overthinking,” being conscientious, stressed by excessive noise, chaotic situations, or deadlines. Empathy, reacting strongly to feedback, and noticing small details. And yes, crying more easily than others. With all these thoughts, sensations, and emotions swirling around in ourselves, it’s no wonder that we need to cry to release them.

    Whether your child is highly sensitive or not, give them the gift of your unconditional acceptance of all their emotions. Validate their feelings.

    Let them express themselves. Your child will be better adjusted in the long run.