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For mothers with children of the weepy sort...


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DS 7 is a very sensitive emotional soul.  During school, at a split second of frustration, the waterworks begin.  I'm not a very emotional sort myself, so it is hard for me to understand.  Nothing is beyond his level, and he will get the answer to a question...after 10 minutes of crying. He has a tendency to be very self critical, and I don't want to exacerbate that, but I also want him to be able to learn to work at something for longer periods of time without becoming frustrated to the point of tears. 

 

I'd like some input that will help me work toward a solution.  If you're of the opinion that boys shouldn't cry unless they've hit themselves with a hammer (as I've been around for one of those threads), or that I can punish him out of tears, I'd ask you to sit this one out.  I'd really like some strategies to help him, and make a more peaceful experience for us all.

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does he get enough sleep?

does he have a big sweet tooth?  (he may need a yeast cleanse, and it can help a weepy child when it's coming from the toxins produced by the yeast.)

 

9 or 10 hours.

 

We are paleo, so his sugar is extremely limited and comes primarily from fruit.  I will look into that though, thank you.

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He;s still very young.

 

I might try to teach him better coping skills. When he's feeling overwhelmed, he can learn some breathing techniques. He can get up and walk around. He and set it aside for ten minutes. He may have to do these things multiple times during a lesson, but that's okay.

 

He may also need coaching on self-awareness. My dh and dd struggle with this. It's like they don't "feel" the tip off emotions that a melt down is coming, but they just wake up and they are in full melt down mode.

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I have tried breathing and that helps a lot. I also try to stay calm and happy because any exasperation on my part doubles the tears. Mostly just talking them through it and explaining that yes, learning is hard and not always fun, but it is necessary and the hard work will be worth it. The smiles I get after working on something and it finally clicks, are that much sweeter.

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My 6 year old DS is like this.  Frustration = tears with him.  He seems to panic, freeze and not be able to think straight.

 

One thing we do is talk with him about how only he can control himself (with effort), so he needs to calm himself down (we work on techniques, breathing etc.).  I will talk to him about thinking of better ways to solve the problem and we discuss how letting his frustration get out of control only makes the problem worse.  

 

My DH remembers being exactly the same and has much empathy for him, but he also remembers that it took a realisation that he could control himself to help overcome it rather than being enslaved to it.

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9 or 10 hours.

 

We are paleo, so his sugar is extremely limited and comes primarily from fruit.  I will look into that though, thank you.

my 8yo still sleeps 11hrs.  he used to have a hard time sleeping.   sleep did wonders for him.

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My dd is very emotional. Any small correction, especially in public, will cause her to cry. I pull her aside and talk her through it, assuring her she's okay and it's okay to be upset, but we need to settle down. I talk in a calm soothing voice and I ask her to take deep breaths together. To be silly, I'll sometimes hold the breath with my cheeks puffed and cross my eyes. She'll laugh and we'll take a few more minutes to get calm.

 

During school, I ask her to step away from the table, sit on the couch, and calm down. Otherwise, she'd sit at the table, wailing. If the morning is just going poorly, we'll take a break from school and go for a walk. That seems to help her emotional state. Going to bed at a reasonable hour also helps prevent emotional outbursts.

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He shares a room with my daughter. We have lights out at 8, but they talk for a long time and are still almost always up by 6:30. We had a conversation tonight about trying to close his eyes after lights out and not talk to his sister for an hour. She agreed to do the same to try to help him get some extra sleep, and has agreed not to wake him up to play in the morning if he is still asleep. We will try to keep that up and see if it helps him. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm open to anything else I may be missing.

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My dd8 tends to do the same and some of her work is timed(Kumon). The most effective thing that I have done is to consistently point out to her that unnecessary drama just causes her to get a bad time and does not help her solve the problem. That might sound unsympathetic but if she gets sympathy she escalates the drama and tears. If the tears have no effect eventually she settles down and listens to my explanation of what she is having trouble with.

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My son was (still is) quite emotional. When we first started homeschooling, my mom asked him what his favorite part of hs was and he answered that he "could cry whenever he needed to." That really resonated with me. He must have also felt that upset while at ps, - he just didn't feel free to express it. From that point on, instead of getting frustrated at him for his daily freakouts, I'd just give him some time, and when he was ready, he'd come back to the table. I joked that it seemed like he needed to cry once each day, and once it was out of his system, the rest of the day went smoothly. (It doesn't help matters that he's a perfectionist that hates to get something wrong. We switched to Math Mammoth because I needed to be able to print out a new page if he made an error. And heaven help us if I came after his paper with a red pen.)

 

He is now 11 and while the waterworks don't come as quickly, they do tend to come when he's frustrated. I think time and patience are what have helped most. 

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Oh my.  I remember.  My son was a crier.  I thought it would never end.  

 

He got plenty of sleep, had good nutrition, loving family, no excessive stressors, etc, etc....  

 

He didn't cry out of frustration, like your son, but when he was frightened or moved by something emotional (songs, stories, movies, creepy special effects, sad drawings/images).   So, I guess that's a bit different.  ??

 

Nothing we ever did (talking it out, prepping him for possible emotions) helped consistently.  Sometimes we would send him (gently) to cry in his room.  But that didn't prevent future crying.  

 

I know that I regret my exasperation and that he remembers it.  :(

 

He cried a lot until he was about 11.  That seemed very old to me.  But now it's over.  He's still very sensitive, thoughtful, and 'deep' for his age.  He just 'wears' it better now.  

 

My other son was a bit this way, but not to the same extent.  I guess my only advice would be try to be patient.  I wish I'd been more patient.  

 

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I agree that he perhaps would do better with a few more hours sleep, although that's not going to mean he'll no longer be weepy.  If he was my child I would probably take him to a NAET practioner or Theta practioner, but I don't know how alternative minded you are.  We've had great results with Theta for my daughter (19yo) who would freak out and get stressed about paying a bill.  Both of them basically get to the emotional root of the problem and clear or change underlying false beliefs that cause the behaviour.  For instance, to put it in a simple way, he may have at some very early stage felt stressed about something challenging, cried and felt better afterwards.  Perhaps then a belief was set up in his mind that challenging things are stressful and the best solution is to cry.  It's a false belief, as crying is not the best solution as we get older.  The belief, whatever it is, can be uncovered and changed or cleared, and then he is able to more rationally think about a new and better way to deal with challenges. 

 

PM me if you're interested and have any questions.  :)

 

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I agree with the more sleep recommendation. I'm a crier and I'm in my 30s :D. Also allowing him to take a break when he starts feeling frustrated. Maybe giving him a list of things to be done during the day rather than making him finish one subject at a time, if maths is frustrating he can move on to his history until he feels more calm and can go back to it. Or just getting up and walking around or something.

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I put ds4 in my bed and move him later if tgey are keeping each other awake. I also have a curtain that can be used to divide the room. More sleep would help deal with the problem enough you can work on the base issues.

 

My ds6 is amazingly tough physically. He cries so little when he has quite serious crashes on his bike that people comment. Part of it is genetic (not from me) but I think the other reason is he knows he will always get cuddles and sympathy if he needs it and will never be told to toughen up or not to cry. I think it allows him to take greater risks.

 

So I would try more sleep and lay the sympathy on with a trowel if you can do it sincerely.

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My son has a little chart for behaviors in school.  One thing that we focus on is "problem solving skills", which includes how to address things that make him cry. (He is similar to yours, I think.) We started by talking about it ahead of time, saying that everyone cries sometimes, but now that we have the words we need to communicate, it's more effective to use those when we're upset.  Crying simply isn't the best way to get what you want.  

 I don't punish him for tears, but we do talk a lot about how crying will not help him communicate what he needs.  When he cries over something small, I ask him to calm down and then coach him through asking for help or expressing what he wants.  If I think he's overwrought, I let him take a break, because hey everyone needs a breather sometimes.  If he does this on his own - taking a moment to calm down and then expressing his needs - he gets a lot of praise and encouragement from me and a sticker on his chart.

 This is an ongoing issue for us, so it takes a lot of patience from me because I find it to be pretty exhausting.  I have to remind him several times a day that we're working on how to communicate and solve our problems.  I emphasize that everyone cries sometimes and I'm not upset with him for crying, but I want him to learn how to get what he needs.  

 

By the way, I'm not talking about tantrums.  I handle those differently.  I'm talking about when he's actually just reacting to his day with genuine tears. 

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Oh my. I remember. My son was a crier. I thought it would never end.

 

He got plenty of sleep, had good nutrition, loving family, no excessive stressors, etc, etc....

 

He didn't cry out of frustration, like your son, but when he was frightened or moved by something emotional (songs, stories, movies, creepy special effects, sad drawings/images). So, I guess that's a bit different. ??

 

Nothing we ever did (talking it out, prepping him for possible emotions) helped consistently. Sometimes we would send him (gently) to cry in his room. But that didn't prevent future crying.

 

I know that I regret my exasperation and that he remembers it. :(

 

He cried a lot until he was about 11. That seemed very old to me. But now it's over. He's still very sensitive, thoughtful, and 'deep' for his age. He just 'wears' it better now.

 

My other son was a bit this way, but not to the same extent. I guess my only advice would be try to be patient. I wish I'd been more patient.

 

Very good post. I agree wholeheartedly.

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You might check out this blog post I wrote about dealing with my perfectionist dd. She also would cry and meltdown when she was frustrated. 

 

It's hard to deal with especially if you don't get it. I am a perfectionist as well, but mine didn't manifest itself through tears, etc.

 

But she is much more sensitive than I am.

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Ds9 is starting to turn the corner on this.  We practice breathing, counting to 10, and taking a walk to calm down.  We also talk about proportionate reactions - that it is an overreaction to get so upset over a math problem, for example.  The feeling is understandable, but the response is extreme.  He is in some ways a very logical child, so this makes sense to him.

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