The function of crying
These words are among the most common words used with kids.
The truth is that crying is a distinct form of communication which we use from our first day into this world.
Additionally, here are few ways in which crying helps us:
- The caregiver is biologically wired to respond to it
- Crying helps us express pain
- Crying helps us express overwhelming emotions from grief to joy
- Crying helps us, our minds and bodies, process pain and emotions
- Among many other tools, crying helps caregivers and children attune to each other
Then why do we ask children as a norm to stop crying?
Because the same thing was asked of us?
Because we experience intense discomfort when the child cries?
Because we feel the social pressures if we are in the presence of others?
Whatever may be our reason, can we breathe through the discomfort and ALLOW the child to experience, express and process pain or emotions or communicate? Such attunement is crucial for the healthy development of our child.
Instead of giving verdicts of ‘crybaby’ or ‘gender associated labels’ or ‘weak’ to our child, can we ask the question, what need/discomfort is my child communicating through crying?
- Identify the intensity of discomfort you feel when your child cries around you on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.
- Experiment: next time your child cries, hold the child close to you in a way which is comfortable for your child and allow the child to cry while you breathe through the discomfort (for as long as the child needs). Note your observations and discuss them with your partner.
- While your child cries and you breathe, observe what labels come to your mind naturally for the child. Let them go and ask the question, what need/discomfort is my child communicating through crying?