The young man has developed a rather annoying habit, if he doesn’t get his way … then it’s all tears that get switched on and off so quickly, I can’t but compare it to our typical Jozi late afternoon summer storms. Frankly it is really frustrating, and really I think it frustrates me more because I can see it is all put on.
He will ask for something, and if I say no. I first get the puppy look, you know when your kid first faces down then merely lifts his eyes to look you straight in the eye. This way you are meant to see how disappointed they are with you, at the same time hoping that the look will melt your tender heart .. let’s face it .. where you kids are concerned your heart is theirs! If this doesn’t work, then the tears are switched on belting away their cry of disappointment, misery, oh how their world is crumbling now just because you have said no! If you then enter into a negotiation .. “Stop crying else you won’t get A,B or C” those tears stop just as quickly as they were started.. really now!
I’m so not into these Crocodile Tears or Fake Crying!
Recently walking our two dogs, we met one of our neighbours with taking their child for a walk at the same time. Now, our little boy and their child attended Playschool together last year but this year are in separate schools. Let them see each other and you can see that there is a clear bond. Screaming, shouting, and they insist in the adults chilling and talk while they play catch up. Anyway, as the parents caught up too, we found out that our little friend is pulling the fake crying card too! Which got me asking and googling to see if this perhaps was a phase that toddlers go through?
According to Todays Parent this kind of manipulative behaviour is learnt and common with toddlers. Mainly because the child can’t find the right words to express what they are feeling or wanting to communicate. I’ve seen how our young man gets frustrated when in his head he is clearly saying the right word, but I’m showing cluelessness because I’m obviously not responding in the right way or how he is expecting me to.
Beverley Cathcart-Ross, the founder of the Toronto Parenting Network says that they use tears to draw parents in and seek attention as they interpret it as love and affirmation that you care. If you think about it, the minute the tears start, for me anyway, I’m at our boy’s level wiping away the tears and attempting to calm him down and letting him know how much I love him. There are times I’m in no mood for all this and just ignore him, guess what, the tears stop just as quickly and the very next minute we’re talking like nothing happened!
Attention! Attention! Attention!
Ok so how do we fix it?
Beverley suggests that we as parents work at not falling for the fake tears and encourage conversation. So instead of fussing over your child with tears streaming down their cute cheeks, rather ask if they are OK. Suggest he get’s up and brush the dirt off and get back on his bike .. . If the tears continue, which in some cases it does, offer them a hug but he needs to come get it. Do not go over to them with arms open wide, because it’s really important that they feel like they are in control. In so doing you’re developing their self-confidence around the many bumps life will send their way.
All the above said, I feel it important to make sure that our young man hasn’t been injured or feeling ill first. I just find that in most instances the fake crying is really just that fake, and him seeking attention. Ignoring him for a minute or sending him for a bit of timeout in his room to calm down tends to resolve and diffuse the tears.