Why "Don't cry, be brave" Can Backfire
You may hear parents tell their children not to cry during stressful moments in the visit. Parents are often embarrassed that their child is upset, and feel pressure to get them to stop crying. In those instances, you can label and validate a child's emotions and let the parents know that it is OK for all feelings to be expressed in your office. You can say, "It's OK if you cry, I cry when I am scared too. You can sit on your mommy's lap and I will tell you everything that I am doing, and hopefully we can make you feel less scared about being here." Labeling and validating a child's emotions helps them to feel heard and understood, and to learn about how to begin to regulate their emotions in the future.
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