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Help for a Crybaby

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: Any suggestions for a 12-year-old boy who cries too easily when he's upset? Anything slightly upsetting will often bring him to tears. He tries to control this, but can't, which leads to much teasing.

A: This is a tough question because I don't have enough details. What do you mean "too easily"? If this were a girl crying, would it be "too easily"? It is okay for a boy to cry. Twelve-year-olds are still very much children and because they are entering puberty, they will often cry at the slightest difficulty or slight. Boys and girls gradually overcome this developmental stage.

What is your son upset about? If he is being teased, the teasing may be unfair and cruel so he may have reason to cry. The issue would be the teasing and the person doing it. If he is crying because he is frustrated or angry, he may need some help in learning how to express his anger and frustration calmly and assertively. His school counselor may be able to work with him on this or give you some assistance.

When he cries, who does the teasing? Family members? Classmates? If it's family members, then the work must begin in the family to respect each other and work together to create a safe climate where emotions can be expressed.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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