And for good reason.
I think it all started with this, which I have mixed feelings on, but which I think possibly holds the potential to teach an important message.
I was talking with a child-free/child-less friend a few weeks ago about how frustrating it can be when a child gets upset. Their well-meaning yet clueless advice was:
"Well, can't you just not upset them? Or make sure you avoid things that upset them?"
In short, no.
Sometimes toddlers cry for really crazy reasons. Now, it's important you don't let the toddlers know the reasons are crazy because that would be disrespectful to them and would be invalidating their feelings, which I don't think we should do. Eventually, as time passes, they will stop crying about these things. Until then, you just have to be sympathetic and respectful of it.
But as far as whether or not you can PREVENT these things, the answer is a firm no.
Here are some examples of why my almost-4-year-old has cried in the last week:
- Another kid had a blue shirt on
- Thread exists
- One juice box does not contain the same juice in another juice box, and juice boxes need to be opened in order to get to the juice
- He only has two feet
- I'm incapable of flying
See what I mean?
Here's a much, much longer list by another blogger.
So to answer your question, no. I cannot simply just avoid upsetting my toddler or create a perfect world for him where I can rip the blue shirts off strange kids because my son wants me to, or completely erase the existence of thread just so that he doesn't get upset. The best I can do is get him through it and hope to God he grows out of it.
The silver lining of all this, is that every episode of crazy crying is a teaching moment, both for him to experience emotion and learn to cope with disappointment, and for me, to learn how to show respect toward him when he's upset and to validate his feelings. Because someday he's going to be crying for reasons that aren't so crazy, and he needs to know that's ok.
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