“He’s a sensitive boy, no?”
I’ve heard more than once in the past couple of years in situations where my son is seen crying. Honestly, I don’t even know what the remark means. Do they think he shouldn’t be crying because he’s a boy? Or is crying just plain not okay, anymore?
It’s not that they say it but when it’s said that pinches. When people say he’s sensitive when someone has said something mean to him or when he cares too much or when he feels bad at departing from those he loves I’m left wondering at what other reaction people expect of a child ?!
I hate to even consider people expecting a different emotional response from a boy than a girl because in my eyes at that age a child is just a child. Innocent and inquisitive.
So let’s just talk about the fact that he’s not even six yet! He is still discovering how to process feelings. And unsure of how else to express he’s upset or get what he want, he cries.
Many a nights we talk about what situations warrant what reaction.
It is not okay to cry – if you just don’t want to do do something. If it’s time to leave play time or time to go to bed or not get something you want.
It is okay to cry – if you feel hurt in anyway, physically or emotionally. Like if you bang your hand or you are scared or lose some thing you care deeply for or if someone says something really nasty. That of course has us working on what is hurtful because unfortunately to a 5 year old anyone not agreeing with them is mean.
I’m sure we will come across many new situations to discuss. Everything in life is always subjective and my job as a parent is to ensure he eventually appreciates that. Sure, it gets a tad embarrassing at times but most parents understand that it’s a child. They very kindly don’t make an issue of it. They even kindly try to distract him out of the loop of sadness.
I’m just happy that he never resorts to being mean back or lash out physically in response or act as if leaving someone he likes being with isn’t upsetting. These too are fine by the way,(according to me) for with some kids that’s the only way they know how to express their dissatisfaction. And mostly it’s just a difficult phase. And as I said, kids are, well kids!
When did people start expecting maturity of a 5 year old anyway?
This is the same child who cared about me when I was pregnant, who hugs me when I’m crying(yes, I cry too), who helps in chores without asking, who brings me medicine when I need it, takes care of his sister, asks if they are okay when other kids get hurt, is always nice to younger kids, who can’t bear to see his sister or any other kid for that matter being scolded. I’d say that’s a kid who is mature and sensitive enough for his age.
When someone said it more than once in an unwarranted situation, I had to reply smiling proudly, “The world needs more people who are sensitive, people who care. ”
Under no circumstance should any child to feel uncomfortable of expressing themselves, specially to those close to them. It IS in fact okay to cry. It is absolutely fine that he learn to express every emotion, through words, action or yes crying even. Sometimes crying is the only expression and then you just have to get over whatever it is that hurt. That’s healthy. That’s mature. There’s nothing wrong with being sensitive.
I will honestly be glad if instead of a cold and calculating person whose only out for themselves (and I have seen too many such people in my life) he grows to be a person who empathizes and has a beautiful soul.
Ps – If you have a child whose going through any kind of phase, remember that as long as you are working on figuring out what’s best for you, all is fine. And find solace that there are always others in a situation similar to yours.