As a single parent dad one of the things I concern myself with is providing my child with an emotionally balanced upbringing.
I am mindful to provide a variance in the way that situations are handled, not always being tough and hard, but conversely not consistently taking the softly-softly tact.
My calm approach to almost everything can come across as a little cold and matter-of-fact at times. But that doesn’t mean I am emotionless, nor do I wish to suppress my child’s ability to engage with his feelings.
I am actually very comfortable with a child crying, and often see it as a good thing. Christ, that makes me sound evil, but I don’t mean it that way and will try to qualify that statement a bit.
When a child cries because they are hurt, physically hurt, then of course, there is no satisfaction, other than the fact that if they are making a row then at least they are still conscious.
However when my boy cries because of the way he feels, because he is in touch with something that makes him sad, then – in a way – I am happy.
Being able to feel, and to embrace sadness means that his highs are so much better than of those who feel indifferent regardless of what is going on in their lives.
Living life numb is no way to be, and I don’t want that for my boy.
That’s why I rarely tell him to ‘stop crying’, even when he is being ridiculous.
At times like that, I try to get him to focus on whether his level of upset is justified. Like not getting what he wants from a gift shop at the end of a great day out is not really going to threaten his very existence.
Lately he has also taken to trying to ‘tough-out’ physical bangs. All too quick to declare himself fine from a fall, or knock, when really he is in pain. Then I see it as my job to reassure him it is totally okay to be hurt, declare it and weep if necessary.
Then there is when he gets a little sad.
I do like to remind him that crying is a positive feeling too, and when dealing with a sad situation – which he often has to – then it is very much appropriate.
So that’s why his crying makes me happy.
Amongst other things.