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Professional counselor explains how encouraging children to stop crying is emotionally damaging

The video struck a chord with many, prompting several TikTok users to share their own experiences with unhelpful parent responses they received while growing up.

Professional counselor explains how encouraging children to stop crying is emotionally damaging
Cover Image Source: TikTok/psyko_therapy

With the ongoing effort to destigmatize mental health, people today are much more vocal about mental illnesses and comfortable about discussing their emotional trauma. This, in turn, has revealed how childraising practices followed by our parents and grandparents may have contributed to our mental health woes. Gentle parenting came into the picture as a result and although it is often wrongly criticized for making children too "soft," what it actually does is ensure young ones grow up in wholesome environments that equip them to better recognize and process their emotions. 


Jax Anderson, a licensed professional counselor with over a decade of experience, touched upon this in a now-viral TikTok video explaining how parents should handle their children's emotional outbursts. In the video—which has been viewed more than 814k times since being uploaded, Anderson begins by demonstrating what's an "unhelpful parent response" when a child is crying uncontrollably and the parent doesn't know what to do. "You're fine. You're safe. There's literally nothing to cry about. Everything is fine. You're going to be okay," the parent in this scenario tells their wailing offspring.


Doing so, Anderson explained, is "unhelpful because they are responding from a place of their own feelings of their inability to stop their child from crying, to fix what's going on with their child or to even understand why their child is crying." If the parent continues with their unhelpful response, she said, they "communicate to their child that there's something wrong with them." Therefore, instead of asking a child to stop crying, Anderson recommends a different approach. A helpful parent response, according to the counselor, would be something like this: "It's okay to cry, honey. I'm gonna sit here with you while you get it all out. And then we'll talk."


"A helpful parent compassionately lets their child know that it's okay to cry. That it's emotions and it is okay to let them out. That they'll be there with them and talk with them after they are done," she explained. Anderson's video struck a chord with many on the video-sharing app, prompting several TikTok users to share their own experiences with unhelpful parent responses while growing up. "My mom used to do that until I talked to her about it and after that she'd let me cry it out until I was ready for us to solve the problem together," commented Sofia Garcia.

"This!! To this day my mom absolutely doesn't tolerate any crying. My whole life she's insisted the only time I can cry is over a death," shared Alaina Thrasher. "My mom constantly making me feel like I couldn't cry and I had no reason to cry is the reason I've only JUST NOW at 26 learned how to sit with feelings," revealed chamomilekelsi. "This is so great! As a child, it was frustrating to be told nothing was wrong for me to cry. Sometimes as a kiddo you get [overstimulated]," commented Dare Bear. "When I cried my parents yelled at me which made me cry harder and then they told me I'd have to do a writing assignment if I didn't stop, and I cried harder, and they just kept raising the sentence count and I kept crying more and it got to an impossible number and I was just bawling because I didn't want to write that. They were confused," shared apophis_rising.


Meanwhile, some TikTok users revealed how implementing helpful parent responses in situations where their child is struggling with their emotions has worked for them. "I often say 'it's okay to cry and feel upset, but we are safe. Do you want a snuggle?' Both kids get really scared by thunder," commented The Darcinator. "I tell them it's okay to cry, and it's okay to be upset but they are trying to speak while that upset so we take deep breathes and say ok now tell mommy," wrote Andrea. "This new generation of parents is going to be amazing! I truly believe so many of us are going to stop these cycles and give healing to generations," shared Dana Marie.

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