Courtesy of Kelly Green

I'll Never Tell My Son To Stop Crying, Because He Has A Right To His Own Feelings


My child is still pretty small. He’s 2 years old, so he cries more often than an older child likely does. He will cry over not getting a second popsicle. He will cry over not getting a third popsicle. He will cry because he’s awake, and he will cry because he doesn’t want to go back to sleep. He cries, I suppose, as a way to express EVERYTHING.

He has learned from the master, because I do the same. Anger, sadness, joy, extreme hunger or extreme desire — for me, these emotions have always resulted in tears. I don’t know how to experience an emotion unless it's accompanied by hot tears flying down my cheeks. When I'm done crying, I can clean myself up and move forward. But tears are a necessary part of my day-to-day functioning. They are a way for me to process all of my emotions. And I will never deprive my child of the opportunity for him to experience a wide range of emotions, both the good and the bad. For that reason, I will never tell my little boy to stop crying.

Even when my child is kinda being a jerk and is crying as a result of a demand that he knows he shouldn’t be making and that I definitely won't give in to, and even when his tears are the result of him acting like a wild little monster, they are still borne of true emotion. Most of the time, that emotion is frustration. And I sympathize with that.

Courtesy of Kelly Glass

It must be so frustrating to be a tiny person. You have to constantly rely on an adult to fulfill your needs, and sometimes you have difficulty communicating those needs to begin with. When I want a third popsicle, here's what happens: I f*cking eat it. I don’t have to beg anyone or negotiate with them or clean my room first or eat a plate of broccoli or even say please and thank you. I just take it out of the freezer and I eat it.

Children have no control over any part of their lives. If you ask me, that's worth crying about.

Even though I rarely actually eat popsicles, I wouldn’t want anyone in the world to tell me I can’t have a boatload of them. And yet I tell my son that he can't have something he wants every day.

You know how people always talk about their childhood like it was the good ol' days? How every memory appears to be covered in sunshine and glitter? Well, I think it probably sucks to be a child. Children are literally controlled by adults: by their teachers, their parents, storekeepers. The list goes on and on. They have no control over any part of their lives. If you ask me, that's worth crying about.

Courtesy of Kelly Green

As long as his impulses are not violent, I want to allow my son to express himself in whatever way he needs to. He can cry buckets if he needs to, over whatever he needs to. And to all those people who claim that children cry in an attempt to manipulate adults, let me just tell you that you're wrong. Yes, some people cry to manipulate others — but those people aren't 2-year-olds, they're sociopaths. Normal people don’t cry and puffy eyes and red noses to make you feel something. They are feeling something, plain and simple.

I believe that everyone has the right to express their emotions, especially children.

I’m not going to say that I like the sound of my child crying. I have not liked it since the day he was born. It is a horrible sound. I’m also not going to say that I won’t try to stop the crying by offering him various treats and trying to comfort him. I will try every trick to get him to stop crying in the book. And if his tears go on for a while, I will also probably lose my patience, and I might have to leave the room and cuss a little bit.

But I believe that everyone has the right to express their emotions, especially children. There is nothing uglier and more insensitive to me than telling another person how to feel. To do so is to deny them their right to their own existence. I want my child to learn that his feelings are valid, and that he deserves other people around him to respect his feelingd. I don’t ever want anyone telling me to stop crying, so I will not do that to him. Instead, I will encourage his tears to flow freely. And I should probably buy stock in Kleenex.