Monday, November 29

Why You Should Stop Telling Your Kids “It’s Ok” When They Cry


When our children cry and their little eyes flood with tears, we would give everything in our power to be able to save them the pain. We do not feel comfortable when people around us show emotions that we consider “negative”, especially if they are our children, and so we try to avoid them at all costs.

No problem” O “do not Cry”Are just some examples of phrases we use when we see children cry. But what are the implications of this type of message? Are we really helping them calm down?

Denying emotions doesn’t make them go away

The psychologist Rafa Guerrero explains that we spend our lives saying to our children: “Don’t cry, please.” And we do this because “we are very afraid and we do not know how to manage it,” says the psychologist. But it is very important that let’s validate and respect emotions of our sons and daughters, so that through their connection and legitimation, we may be able to redirect them.

Denying the emotions of our children they learn that they should not express them, but repress them Pexels


By telling children that “nothing happens”, when it does happen for them and it is affecting them, we only get deny your emotion and we send you the message that when these types of emotions arise (such as sadness, rage, anger, frustration …) the solution is not to express them. That will not mean that they stop feeling them, but that, when they feel them, they will have learned to repress them.

Begoña Ibarrola, an expert psychologist in emotional education, points out that “many problems of not tolerate frustration they are due to the repression of the anger that it entails ”. That is why it is so important, as the psychologist points out, “to legitimize the emotions our children feel, accompany them, celebrate joy, console sadness, understand anger, give confidence in the face of fear and not ridicule or repress emotions”.

The metaphor of the switch of emotions

Rafa Guerrero uses a metaphor to explain two models of emotional management: the ON model and the OFF model. In the first, emotions are “on”, that is, at home, emotions are expressed, legitimized, understood … In the second, on the contrary, “emotions have no place”.

Regarding the OFF model, the psychologist clarifies that “what is not named does not exist. Therefore, if a child is developing in a context in which conversations revolve around anything except the expression of emotion, we are going wrong ”.

With the OFF model we are not allowing our children to experience certain emotions. Rafa gives us an example: “When I accompany my son to sleep and my son tells me: Daddy I’m very scared because the wolf is going to come and eat me, If I go and deny that emotion, I am doing it with a very good intention, sure, but we’re going against, ignored and eliminating the child”.

“If your child is telling you -because emotions are subjective- that he feels fear, there is nothing to measure, there is nothing to look for: he feels fear, that is his reality and we are not listening to you”, Rafa sentenced.

The importance of emotional education

As Begoña Ibarrola reminds us, “good emotional management provides well-being and helps prevent disorders. As we teach our children to manage their emotional world, we are giving them resources and strategies to know what they can do when they feel scared or sad, what potential that sadness has, and also how to help them get out of it (we will be preventing depression) ”.

“We have to convey to our children that they can feel anything, but they cannot do anything with what they feel.”

Eva Bach – Expert in emotional intelligence

Validating all emotions and allowing their expression does not mean that they can express them in any way. That is, they may feel angry, but that does not give them free rein to hit their sister, for example. That is why it is very important that, as Eva Bach explains in this course on educating with emotional intelligence: “We have to convey to our children that they can feel anything, but they can’t do anything with what they feel. ”

Heteroregulation of emotions

Instead of denying or invalidating children’s emotions, we must help them manage them. “Many times we pretend that children are able to regulate their emotions and control them by themselves, but it is really we who, from the calm, have to help them carry out that regulation and provide them with strategies to help them find that balance. And this is the heteroregulation. Rafa Guerrero gives a great example so that we understand this:

“Let’s imagine that our partner comes home crying and tells us that they have fired from work. In this case, it would not make any sense to tell you: Well, you go to your room right now, update your resume and until you find a job, you don’t go out. However, we do this constantly with children, We force them to save certain situations on their own. But they will only learn to regulate emotions if their reference adults help them to calm those emotions.


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