Six year old Matt missed his turn playing with a toy his cousins had been passing around. “I missed my turn,” he sobbed hysterically.
Matt is the youngest in a family of three.
Birth order: suggests that he may, or may not, be a bit spoiled.
His primarily YELLOW temperament: confirms emotions run close to the surface with an added drama gene thrown in the mix.
Whichever the case, Matt needed some comforting because he was heartbroken in the moment. After a few minutes of consolation, he was back joining in the fun with his sisters and cousins.
Josiah is nine years old – middle child, with a primarily BLUE temperament. He is easily pushed to tears when he is not being understood by someone. He, too, needs some time to re-group and be heard by a loving adult.
Lucy is a firstborn six year old, with a RED temperament. Her tears, more often than not, are out of anger. She, too, needs a few minutes to understand why her parents’ verdict doesn’t agree with her desires. Usually, after rules are carefully explained, she is fine. Her parents recognize the difference between throwing a tantrum and genuine tears.
All of these kids are normal kids who erupt in tears at least a few times a week.
Many of today’s parents have tight schedules, driving from grocery shopping, to rehearsals, practices, summer schools, Vacation Bible Schools or work. A crying child can frustrate and infuriate parents before they have time to stop and listen to the problem. They certainly don’t have time to stop and listen to the reason for the tears.
As a teacher, I have watched it happen all too often where parents don’t take time for a crying child before or after class. They tend to scold the crying child instead of simply taking the time to zero in on the reason for the tears.
I am preaching to the choir! Sadly, I remember doing just that, many times, when our three kids were small.
Now, as a Mimi to ten grandkids, I realize how simple it is to spend a few extra, unscheduled minutes with a crying child.
One mom, admitting to me she is guilty of enormous frustration over tears, complained her kids seem to have meltdowns MORE during summer than the school year.
I asked her if they eat on a regular schedule during the summer. No!
I asked if the kids get the same number of hours of sleep during summer. No!
I asked if they eat more sugar and junk food in the summer. Yes
I suggested she look a little more closely at their schedules and food consumption. Then, perhaps, they wouldn’t be so tearful as often.
Truthfully, tears are a normal part of life for school aged kids and their parents. An observant parent can tell if the tears are simply to get attention. Only if it happens multiple times an hour should you seek outside council.
When our children were small, there was a period of time when I invented a reward system for them if they could go all day with NO tears (or fights). It actually worked that summer. Our kids were more aware of ending their own squabbles so as not to be caught crying unnecessarily! I found myself unusually calm and somewhat suspicious too; but, who was I to question a nice, quiet day?
Next time you have tears interrupting your day, STOP what you are doing and love on your child. I promise you, those five unplanned minutes will not ruin your day. It may make a world of difference to your tearful child.
A couple books of humor come in handy for moms at the end of a day of tears!
God’s Most Precious Jewels are Crystallized Tears or Daily Splashes of Joy:365 Gems o Sparkle Your Day! Both by Barbara Johnson.