11 Things to Say to a Crying Child

11 Things to Say to a Crying Child

Sometimes when confronted with emotional pain, such as exhibited by a crying child, our natural instinct is to minimize it or negate it. It’s hard for us to watch others suffer. We say things like, “it’s not that bad,” or “at least you’re not [insert your own extreme example here],” or “just focus on the positive.”

While coming from a place of good intentions, comments like these can invalidate a person’s pain. The emotional pain that people experience is real, and we want to create a safe, supportive space for them to release it. Respond with one of the comments below that fits the situation and your relationship with the person. You will likely find that this not only helps the person feel validated, but also increases the connection between you and the person in pain, which we know helps trauma survivors heal.

  • I understand you are overwhelmed and that’s okay.
  • Let’s take a break.
  • Would you like help/a break/to try again?
  • I can see you are crying but I don’t know what you need. Can you help me understand?
  • I can see this is hard for you.
  • Let’s come up with a solution together.
  • That was sad/frustrating/disappointing.
  • We’re on the same team. I will help you.
  • I remember when you…
  • I love you. You are safe.
  • Remain silent. Sometimes a hug is all that’s needed.

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