Q: MY SIX YEAR OLD HAS ALWAYS BEEN A VERY EMOTIONAL CHILD. HE IS IN 1ST GRADE AND HIS TEACHER TELLS ME HE CRIES A LOT IN SCHOOL AND HE IS EASILY DISTRACTED. HE WAS PLAYING WITH HIS PENCILS ONE DAY AND WHEN THE TEACHER TOOK MOST OF THEM OFF OF HIM HE CRIED. HE CRIES AT HOME A LOT TOO. IF HE FALLS, INSTANTLY HE CRIES. LAST YEAR HE WAS WITHOUT HIS FATHER FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. HE DOES NOT KNOW THE REAL REASON. HIS FATHER SHOT HIMSELF IN THE MOUTH AND LOOKS DIFFERENT NOW. I TOLD HIM THAT DADDY HAD AN ACCIDENT AT WORK. HE WENT TO A THERAPIST DURING THIS PERIOD AND SHE FELT HE WAS AN EMOTIONAL CHILD WHO KEEPS HIS FEELINGS INSIDE. I HAVE TRIED TO TALK TO HIM ONE ON ONE BUT HE TELLS ME NOTHING IS WRONG. HE TOLD ME A FEW WEEKS AGO THAT HE CAN’T HEAR EVERYTHING. BUT HE HAD A HEARING TEST AT SCHOOL AND PASSED. I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
A: There is nothing wrong with being an emotional child regardless of gender. However, if you feel that his behavior is abnormal or if he is running the risk of getting in trouble or made fun of at school, I suggest you continue to work with him. It sounds like you have taken him to a counselor but this needs to be an ongoing thing. He is probably too young to benefit from traditional talk therapy so you need to find someone who specializes in play therapy, and possibly something more “right brained” such as art therapy or music therapy. Ask around to see who is good in your area or talk to his pediatrician and ask for a referral. You may also try to reach out to him in more nonverbal ways at home as well. Is it possible he knows more about what happened with his father than you think? Could that have anything to do with his sensitivity? You may try some very indirect questions or drawings to see if this is true. Otherwise, barring anything else being wrong, it may be just that he is a very emotionally expressive child and as he ages he will find ways to express himself other than crying. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Dec 2006
Counts, H. (2006). My 6 year old boy cries a lot.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/12/28/my-6-year-old-boy-cries-a-lot/