What do we do with child’s tears?

Some of us find it hard to handle children’s tears. If the tears are a response to pain or fear or sickness, go with your heart and give the comfort they need. But are the tears, tears of frustration? There are always many gaps between what a child wants and what they are able or allowed to gap. As parents and grandparents, sometimes we are the cause of that frustration as we place boundaries for their own good.

So a weep may be a way a child is processing their grief, their anger, and their frustration. It resets them emotionally and is a self-comforting tool. Maybe we don’t need to do much more than just be sympathetic. Get down to their level, listen to their frustration with your heart and let them know that you care.

You might not be to do anything to relieve their frustration but you do care. Also, you can sympathise without actually agreeing with their opinion on what’s causing the frustration. “I can see you’re upset. This is tough, eh? I know you want an ice block – but not today, honey.”

Building these boundaries are so good for children to learn and develop we don’t need to cave into their frustration tears. Stay strong and give support if necessary.


By John Cowan, The Parenting Place

Improving and equipping families to thrive.

Read more from John and The Parenting place here.