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Crying is an emotional response to a distressing experience or situation. It is a healthy release of the child’s feelings. 

Why Do Children Cry? 

All children cry and they cry for a reason.  Children cry for many reasons; they cry in response to pain, fear, sadness, frustration, anger, and inability to express their feelings. When the child’s communication skills are exhausted, crying becomes the automatic and instinctual solution.. In addition to frustration, crying can occur for other reasons. If children are hurt, frightened, or confused, they will often cry. 


Children choose to whine because they have found it an effective way to get their needs. Whining is the attempt of the child to wear down the parents’ patience and make them give in. It is used in a similar way as temper tantrums, the more it works with their parents, the more children will use it. Whining must not be allowed to become a way of controlling the parent and however hard it is best ignored and not given into until the child understands that it is not a method which gains response.

It is important to understand the difference between crying which is the child’s genuine reaction to fear or distress and whining which is a behaviour issue and needs to be handled appropriately.

Letting out feelings is not shameful, nor is it behavior that needs punishing. It is a cry for attention, a shout-out for sleep, or a call to action and requires comfort not discipline. 

Parents should know that feeling upset, or frustrated, and releasing such feelings by crying is very permissible and understandable. It is only when the child repeatedly uses crying as the only outlet for their frustration that parents need to help the child get in control. 

Dealing with Crying:

Childhood is the perfect time for parents to develop and adopt good skills that will provide the honest and direct guidance that their children will depend on for years to come.

The following are some tips to control crying in children: 

  • Patience becomes the first rule when confronted with these early bouts of crying.
  • Set a daily routine to enable the child to anticipate what is expected of him. That is the beginning of discipline.
  • Punishing whining or crying can encourage children to continue these behaviors. If the child wants attention badly enough, he will prefer punishment to no attention at all. 
  • Telling children not to cry or whine will be just as ineffective as telling them not to through a tantrum. 
  • Praising the child’s ability to delay or withhold crying. Teach alternative behaviors to distressing situations. Encourage the child to express his feeling using words to explain what is upsetting them.
  • Active listening is another technique that can helpful with crying. Active listening means that the mother recognizes the reasons for crying and tells the child that she understands how he feels.
  • Never tell children to stop their crying or call them names because this will make the child realizes that he is bad, rather than that his behavior is bad.
  • Helping the child to build his self-esteem; by reinforcing good behavior and praising the child when he appropriately expresses his feelings, using words rather than crying. 
  • Remember, children get easily upset, but it is the job of parents to help teach them controlling their emotions and find healthy ways to express their feelings. 

At a young age, children are learning how to cope with their emotions. This is called emotional intelligence. Also remember that crying will not last forever because as the child develops additional coping and problem-solving skills, crying will become less frequent.

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