17 answers

5 Year-Old Cries Easily

My beloved 5 year-old cries at every disappointment. She always has since day 1 and I am worried about her getting teased in Kindergarten. If she doesn't get what she wants, she cries. If someone hurts her feelings, she cries. I have told her you just cry if your hurt, a billion times. I've told her the story of the boy who cried wolf. I'm looking for some suggestions on getting her past this.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi K.,

It sounds like she is very sensitive. Crying is not wrong at all. If the kids at kindergarten tease her she will probably stop on her own. Try to help her use language to express herself. When she cries offer her words to use. For example, "You seem very mad right now. Are you mad?" Get her to say how she is feeling and then give her a hug and tell her how proud of her you are for using her words. Try not to get upset. I know it is frustrating but we all should probably cry more than we do. I know it probably seems like she cries too often but I think it is better to blubber on than it is too bottle it up. The best thing you can do for her is be there for her and help her to use her words. Crying isn't wrong at all but she needs to learn that there are more effective ways to show her feelings. As she learns these ways she will cry less.

Hang in there and I wish you the best.

E.

I do a lot of crying myself and i have to tell you that if that is the emotion she is feeling she is going to cry no matter what you tell her. She is still really little and well grow out of most of that. When she crys does she get what she wants? If she does she is going to go to the crying every single time. Even it only happens a few times that she gets what she wants she is going to try it every time to see if it well work this time. I would just let her know that if she wants to cry it os ok but it not going to change anything.
talk to her teacher too. Some the other kids in class might be giving her what she wants if she crys.
A.

More Answers

I have 2 techniques to share with you.

The first one I use a lot, especially with sibling issues, but it works for other upsets as well. When one of my kids gets upset, I ask them to consider the situation and rate how big of a reaction the incident deserves on a scale of one to 10. Let's say the world blowing up is a ten. Then, somebody giving you a mean look would warrant less than a one, and not getting invited to your best friend's birthday party might be a two. When they rate the level of disappointment (or sadness, or frustration), ask them to make their reaction fit the level they've assigned to the situation. This technique helps to remove the child from a purely emotional state and align their reactions to the actual circumstances.

This other technique is useful for the type of situation where one bad moment starts ruining a whole day. Let's say you had a glorious day at the beach, but as you're leaving your daughter's ice cream cone falls into the sand and the stand is now closed, so you can't replace it. I hold out both of my hands and here's what I say: "Losing your ice cream is a real disappointment, but I want you to remember how much fun the rest of the day was. You have a choice. You can live in this room (holding out my left hand), where your ice cream fell in the sand. Or you can live in this room (holding out my right hand) where you got to go to the beach, found the perfect white shell, played with your friends for three hours, built a great sand castle, and learned to dog paddle (or whatever). Which room do you want to live in?" The child will usually choose the second room. Remind them that it's okay to go into the first room, but you don't want to live there. Just visit, get mad, then move back into the second room for the rest of the day. This technique helps to teach kids that happiness is a choice we make every minute of every day.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

If she gets teased over this in kindergarten it's a natural consequence, and might actually be good for her. However, they are only 5 in kindergarten, so most kids don't think that much of someone crying. Doubtful she'll be teased.

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't have this specific problem with my two kids, but I would like to encourage you to not feel too frustrated. Children are very manipulative (and wonderful) and your daughter may well act entirely different in Kindergarten or finally realize that it doesn't get her what she wants. It'll all be fine! Pray about it and try not to worry. Also, I have found that teasing in school really doesn't start until in later years - at least that's been my experience. I haven't seen or heard of any teasing about anything in Kindergarten or first grade so keep enjoying your angel and relax.

1 mom found this helpful

I do a lot of crying myself and i have to tell you that if that is the emotion she is feeling she is going to cry no matter what you tell her. She is still really little and well grow out of most of that. When she crys does she get what she wants? If she does she is going to go to the crying every single time. Even it only happens a few times that she gets what she wants she is going to try it every time to see if it well work this time. I would just let her know that if she wants to cry it os ok but it not going to change anything.
talk to her teacher too. Some the other kids in class might be giving her what she wants if she crys.
A.

I understand your concern because kids can be cruel. You have a lot of good advice here. Just wanted to encourage you to respect her feelings and re-iterate that crying is actually GOOD for her. However, you may be sensitive to when she really cries because she is sad as opposed to when she cries to get attention. This is where encouraging her to use her words can be beneficial. But crying when her feelings are hurt is probably a good release.

My 4 year old son used to cry a lot. I had the feeling he was sometimes exaggerating the crying to get attention. I used positive reinforcement whenever he used his words at a time when he normally would cry. Now it is very minimal and when he does cry, I just give him a big hug and let him cry.

Best of luck to you,
N.

That sounds like my son. He's 7 now and he has gotten much better at handling his emotions. Here are a couple things that I think have helped:

When he was 5, he moved into the older classes at our church and was around more kids who were older and more mature, rather than younger. I think really helped playing with the kids a bit older, who had already learned how to deal better with emotions and could kindly encourage him to grow up in that respect. They were good peer role models for him and inspired him to mature. (Until then he was used to playing with friends his own age or younger--little sister's friends.)

The other thing I do with my children is demonstrate back to them what it sounds like when they cry and when they cry at inappropriate things. (I do the same thing with whining, which is another problem at our house...) For instance, we play a game and I lose. I'll say, "Oh no, I lost! Can I cry now?" and I let out a wail. They say, "NO! Stop mom!" I don't do it every time, but once in a while. Like at the store, "My favorite cereal isn't here! Can I cry? (Wail) Oh, you're right--I don't cry for that."

It's a little trickier when it's something that does truly make them sad, but it isn't really important in the big picture, like not being able to do some activity that we were planning on, or a favorite toy breaking. Then I model being sad but not going overboard. We can be sad without sounding like we've lost an arm. I let them be sad for a little bit and if they can't get over it reasonably, I tell them to go finish being sad in their room because it's not fair for everyone else to have to watch all that.

Then there are the times when it's definitely ok to cry. This year we have dealt with Grandpa's death and our best friends moving. And I model that too. "I'm crying because Grandpa has died and we won't get to see him again until we get to heaven. Is it ok to cry now? Yes!"

We've been working on this for years (and with a variety of strategies) and have definitely seen improvement. I don't think this is something that your daughter will get past overnight, but with consistent encouragement and training, it will get better and better as she grows. Best wishes.

I was a very sensitive little girl, and remember people telling me to toughen up. But how do you do that when you're feeling alone, sad, scared, and hurt? I would have loved it if one of my parents sat with me while I cried, let me have my feelings, and then helped me to understand them. Instead I got people telling me not to feel what I felt, or that I didn't feel what I felt, and as a result I thought that what I felt was monstrous and tried to push it all inside. With an eating disorder as a result. Not to say that the other advice you've gotten isn't good, just that sometimes maybe your sensitive little girl needs someone to hold her and love her through her hurt, and help her understand it with words and loving attention when the tears are done.

Some kids are just really emotional. There was a little girl like that in my daughter's kindergarten class last year. The kids didn't make fun of her; they seemed to accept this little girl exactly as she was.

You will probably find that as she matures, she will be able to pull herself together and will cry a little less. School will be good for her. (I'm assuming that she is not doing it in order to be manipulative - if that's the case, then the way around it is to not reward the behavior, of course!)

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