Is all crying bad in childhood?

Hearing your own child cry may be one of the hardest things about this whole parenting gig. I will admit it still raises my heart rate and blood pressure every time I hear one of my children cry even if it is just over the proverbial spilled milk (or more likely in my house “the dog ate my cookie”).  But sometimes I wonder if all the shushing, soothing and reassuring is getting in the way of the larger picture of creating an emotionally healthy child.  Crying, after all, is often the only means of communication for babies and young children and therefore is necessary to their survival.  Is it important to try to avoid all tears or is it possible that some crying can be good?  I know I feel better after being allowed to let my emotions out and yes, sometimes that is in the form of a good cry.  I certainly do not have the answers but I am just posing the question for myself-  Is it ok to allow our children to feel their emotions even though it may result in some crying? Did it somehow become the norm to attempt to shield our kids from any discomfort during childhood?  The respectful parenting movement would argue that it is important to honor your child’s feelings by simply allowing them to have them in a supportive environment.  That is, if we interfere and shush them or attempt to stop their cries are we undermining the validity of their feelings?   Can allowing them room to feel while still being physically and emotionally present actually foster independence and emotional intelligence?  Can we help them learn to deal with their own emotions, both positive and negative, by giving them the space to do so?  Acknowledging feelings and trying to understand them without stopping them may actually help us be able to find patience in the moment where we might otherwise rush to find a way to stop the outburst. I see this fear of crying pop up with my clients whose children are having difficulty sleeping.  While I typically do not advise leaving a young child alone to just “cry it out” I almost always notice a big sigh of relief from babies who are given a bit of space to work through their emotions without interference.  And not surprisingly this often leads to a better night’s sleep for everyone.  It seems to me that crying can potentially be beneficial for our kids rather than the long held ideology by some that we must always rush soothe a crying child.  I have personally begun to view my own kids’ tears in a different way and have noticed that I feel much calmer when an episode arises in my home knowing that it is ok for them to have feelings other than joy and happiness…

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