Let the Tears Flow: What to do when your child cries

It is not wrong to cry, but many people still see crying as a form of weakness.

When most parents see their children cry, they rush to comfort them, saying not to cry and to ‘shhh‘. By doing this, I think children are taught there is something wrong with crying; that there is something wrong with showing their emotions because something about tears is shameful.

Nothing about tears is shameful. Tears let us release frustrated or hurt feelings in a natural and healthy way. When children are told not to cry and they stop crying before they are ready, feeling an unconscious need to obey their parents, some of their feelings are left clenched up inside them. Worse yet, some children learn to sob in secret, or forget how to cry altogether.

Emotions that need to be let out and are kept inside can fester and lead to violent behavior or spite. Grief will turn to anger as children are left unable to cry their feelings out, feeling as though there is something wrong with shedding tears.

This happens to adults as well and can leave them depressed or stressed.

It is natural for parents to tell their children to ‘shhh‘ because, over the centuries, those have been the words on the lips of many people, and they have now become second nature for us to speak in response to tears.

But try changing and denying those words. When your child cries, hug them but do not tell them to stop crying. Say anything but ‘shhh‘.


Hold your child and let them cry; the tears will cease naturally. Rub your child’s back. Silent comfort is still comfort. Smile, if you can, for smiles can help your child return to happiness. And, if you are also feeling hurt, shed a few tears with your little one!

The tears will cease naturally and your child will feel comforted and happy, without feeling ashamed or feeling “weak”.

So the next time your child is sad, do not “shush” them, but rather empathize with their emotions and offer the comfort they need instead of the response you want to see. If you do not have any children, acknowledging your own grief and letting your tears flow is as good a practice. It is good to be aware of and support our grief in runnings it natural course.

Introduce another happy, emotionally healthy person into the world!

35 thoughts on “Let the Tears Flow: What to do when your child cries

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  1. Crying is so therapeutic – for adults and for children! I’m always encouraging my children to ‘have a good cry’ and to feel no shame for doing so. I was from the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ generation of children and this seemed to apply to crying too! Thank goodness we’ve moved away from that now xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Any thoughts on fake crying? My two-year-old daughter does this all the time because her baby brother gets attention when he cries. We’re having a regression and the fake crying is hard for me to deal with when I have a baby who needs me. Also, love this post, it’s so important!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Crying is a natural thing and it helps people process sometimes. I found myself feeling so much better after crying. We shouldn’t be shamed for it. If we feel hurt, we need a way to let it out. I love these words of comforting. Thank you for sharing the encouragement to have people cry it out. This is something we need to practice more often in society!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is lovely, Jaya, and I agree 100% with you. I’ve always let Flora cry as she needs to, I’ve occasionally asked her to calm down when she was hysterically gulping but never asked her to be quiet. As you say, physical contact and cuddles are the best comfort. And far better to let everything come out rather than fester inside. Great post! Lisa x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so important! I’ve always hated crying in front of people — even though I have strong emotions and cry easier than most. I hate feeling so ashamed of it, it’s weird how showing sadness is one of the least normalized emotions even though we all go through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this, it’s completely ok to cry but growing up it’s something that shouldn’t be done outside, people blame you and tell you others have it worse… sigh. I’m glad I read this and you gave great examples on what to say

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an important issue to discuss. Thank you for the different things to say when people cry too, the different approach really makes it easier to discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

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