August 19, 2009

The No Crying Rule

Some days I am ready to pull my hair out with all the crying I have to listen to. When my daughters are hurt I understand the crying. When they're mad or frustrated I get that, too, to a certain degree. But when they cry just to cry or because they think they'll receive attention, it drives me bonkers.
I recently read an article about the "terrible three's." One mom said she tells her daughter that if she wants to throw a tantrum it's OK, as long as she goes to her room. When she's done crying she's welcome to rejoin the family. So I decided to try instituting the "No Crying Downstairs Rule."
As soon as one of my daughters begins crying (assuming she's not hurt) I say "Uh-oh." One of two things happens. Either she stops crying or the crying continues. If it continues then I say "You know the rule. There's no crying downstairs. Go to your room and when you're done crying you can come back down here." She'll either immediately stop crying or she'll run upstairs. Usually by the time any of them reach their bed they'll shout down the stairs "I'm done crying!" Some times, though, the rule works too well. One of my daughters fell and hit her head. She started to cry and began her trek upstairs. I immediately scooped her up and told her it's OK to cry if you're hurt. Poor thing.
So far the no crying rule seems to be working for all of us. I've seen a slight decrease in tantrums and my nerves aren't on edge by the end of the day.


LauraC said...

I love this rule! This may end up being a rule in our house.

MaryAnne said...

The "cry in your room" tactic works well in our house too - but as you say it's ok to cry if you are hurt and I think it's good for kids to understand that.

Sadia said...

We recently implemented the same thing. We call it "take a break", but it amounts to the same thing.

The other thing that has begun to work wonders is distracting the crier by scooping her into my lap and entertaining her with a story (usually The Three Little Pigs) or a book. The crying stops immediately, but the best thing is that Melody, in particular, is learning to read her own I'm-about-to-have-a-meltdown signs, and will pick up a book and take a break before the crying starts.

We talk about "angry crying" vs. "sad or owie crying". We've also talked about how "I miss my Daddy" isn't an excuse for angry crying! ;)

Stephanie Barr said...

My son is prone to tantrums. Sometimes they are short-lived, sometimes they are nightmarish. He doesn't talk and is developmentally challenged, but we have been firm on this. When he gets into a trantrum, it's automatic. Go to your room! A tantrum will often get treats eliminated (and he knows this). He automatically comes out when he's calm (often for the rest of the day). Some days he completely goes on a tear in his room, but he's left alone until he's worked it out. Sometimes he ends up putting himself down for a nap.

Unless he's been sick, this has worked. Since he generally doesn't cry (non-tantrum) unless he's hurt or sick, "going to the room" is just for tantrums, but it's been invaluable.

Quadmama said...

I don't know why I didn't think of this rule as an automatic earlier. I guess I thought the tantrums would work themselves out on their own... but I love the fact that this is working!

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