When your child is unhappy

Posted by Samantha on October 5, 2011 in Empathy, Feelings, Happiness, Unhappiness |

Our goal in parenting is to guide our children to peaceful and contented lives.  It’s a long-term goal.  Our children may be desperately unhappy in the moment but that doesn’t mean we’re not still guiding them towards happiness.

In fact, if we’re doing our job right and keeping our long-term goal in mind, then it’s a certainty that our children will sometimes be unhappy – frequently with us.

We can cope with our children’s unhappiness.  It doesn’t mean that we’re failing them, or that we’re doing something wrong.  In fact it may mean just the opposite – that we’re doing something right!

It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them either.  It’s normal for children, and that includes boys, to cry when they’re upset.  We don’t need to stop them crying so that we can feel better.  It won’t actually make them feel better either if we stop their tears too soon.  We can learn to let our children cry when they’re unhappy and not feel the need to fix or change anything.

Depending on our child’s age and temperament we can handle their tears in many ways.  We might hold them close, offer a tissue, stroke their hair or just sit beside them and give them the space to cry.

Many of us were not allowed to cry as children.  As a result we may only cry when we’re alone.  We may feel ashamed when we cry.  Or we may have learned to swallow our tears completely.

We don’t need to repeat this with our children.  We can let them cry as much as they need, knowing that a happy and contented life still contains tears.

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