So, I went through this really -ahem- interesting episode a few days ago. I was seating at my kids school front desk, carrying my 4 year old, who had been released earlier that day, and we were waiting for it to be 3 pm to go in and pick up my 6 year old. While we were seating, a lady came in (to pick up her grandkid I heard her say), sat next to me and started reading a newspaper in french while waiting (just like us) for it to be time to go in. My 4 yr old was a little moody that day and the teacher had told me he did not eat his lunch, despite her many attempts. As I sat in that little sofa, with him on my lap, he asked me for candy or chocolate and I told him he couldn't have any as he had not eaten his lunch. And my kids do know that's a rule in our home. They can have a little treat in the afternoon, but ONLY if they had eaten all their lunch. Once I told him that, he started to whine, and cry, not really loud, but very constant... I kept my cool and talked to him, told him to calm down and just continued to hug him while talking to another person that was seating across. My dear sofa neighbor (aka the lady reading the newspaper), I could tell, was getting uncomfortable with my son's crying and kept asking what happened to him (in french), to which I replied "he is ok, he is just upset, he will be fine".
I guess, with time, I have developed a selective hearing skill - choosing to hear what I want, and muting what I do not care for.- So there are moments when my kids cry, throw tantrums, etc, and I just keep my cool and tell them "ok, calm down, breathe and once you are calm we can talk". And this was what I had told my 6 year old, while holding him against me. Nevertheless, he continued to cry, dozing up and down. The lady kept trying to read her newspaper, but was getting now visibly more exasperated and kept giving me this look like I was the worst mama on earth. I pretended I was not aware of her discomfort. This whole "momentum" lasted around 7 minutes. She then stood up, clearly pissed and said loudly to the receptionist "Please can you open the door? I need to get out of here, because this little boy is always crying and crying and crying..." My boy froze and stared at her; he was scared. And me, oh man, I transformed. I turned my head at her and felt my hear rate raise...and then OFF I went: "Excuse me Miss if my boy's crying is making you upset but this is a preschool, and children cry, that's what they do; it is normal. And I can assure you, that if you go inside, you will hear more crying because this is early childhood and you are in a school! And I am sorry if it's bothering you that I choose to not spoil my children by giving in to their demands every time they cry! If my kids want to cry, they will cry, that's just the way it is." Her eyes were wide open, she opened the door and went inside.
I couldn't believe what had just happened. The only good thing was that my son finally stopped crying; I think he was freaked out by her at first, and then by mommy (who is usually pretty calm and relaxed) who got a little carried away by the circumstances...oops.... But I mean how do you handle a situation like this? Children are children and one of the ways in which they express themselves is crying. Why do people expect sometimes that they behave as adults? When my kids cry, (as long as they are not in some kind of pain, or sick, etc), I address their feelings but I do not run to stop them, but let them flow. I let them cry if they have to cry to feel better. And if they are just crying because they are throwing a tantrum or trying to get away with stuff, I let them cry too. Eventually they stop and feel better and are more calm and ready to talk with an open heart and a better understanding of the situation. Plus, we were at school. We were not in a restaurant, or an airplane or a place where I understand people can be more prone to emotional and loud kids... If this was the situation, maybe, (only maybe) I would have been more understanding, but it was not the case.
There are many diverse opinions about children and crying and I respect them all. But to me, is yet another way for a child to express their feelings (assuming all immediate needs have been met). If we as adults cry sometimes, for many different reasons, then why undermine or try to shut off a kid who is crying? I do encourage my children to use their words, and calm down, but I don't give in to their demands or frustrations just because it bothers me to hear them whine or cry. If they want to have a treat, then they know they will have to eat their lunch. I am not rewarding them, if they don't deserve the reward. Seeing this from a different perspective, all that matters is being respectful and tolerant of others regardless of age, gender, religion, country of origin, race, etc and even those who cry a little bit...