Her father is diagnosed with cancer. And she is only 10 years old.
The doctor says her father only has about 6 months to live.
She’s worried what is going to happen when her father passes away.
In fact, what makes her worry is not her but her mother.
She is concerned about her mother who might be taking up extra responsibilities as single parent. Will she cope?
With all the worries that she has, she doesn’t know how to express to her mother.
She becomes quiet and short-tempered.
What makes things worse is she feels that she shouldn’t cry in front of adults – regardless of how sad she is.
She gets this impression (ie: not to cry) because whenever she cries, the parents and grandparents tell her not to.
For adults, it’s normal that when a child cries, we console and ask him not to cry because we don’t want them to be sad for too long.
But that doesn’t help. As shown by this girl, she takes the message and interprets it as crying is not allowed or encouraged. That we should not cry even we are truly sad.
But when situations warrant it (such as this girl facing the death of her father), crying can help to soothe emotional imbalance and can act as stress reliever.
Because of that, the girl has to cry in private. Since she shares a room with her grandmother and has no room of her own, it’s quite a challenge for her to cry without being caught by adults.
What can she do?
She reveals that she cries when taking shower.
Yes! In the shower.
Sometimes she cries in bedroom when her granny is sleeping. If she finds her crying too loudly in the room, she will use pillow to cover her mouth to lower the noise.
That’s how she cries!
As absurd as it may sound, this is what happens when parents do not allow children to express their feelings openly and safely. Though sometimes we don’t mean it but letting children to go through their feelings (be it good or bad) is utmost important.
After all, we are human. We have feelings. Suppressing them does not help. We have to allow the feelings to come and go naturally. Acknowledge them, feel them, and let them go.
Take home this: Give your children a safe avenue to express their true feelings freely. Let them cry, baby.
The story about the girl is a true story. I didn’t make it up.
Want more tips to raise emotionally healthy children? Check out “The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting.”
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