Don’t Ever Tell Her “Stop Crying”

We love Princess Merida, don’t we? But, not when she is packaged and expertly displayed in a way that causes us to fight with our daughters in the middle of Target.

The Scenario:

You are with your 6 year old daughter at Target.  You have to pick up the last minute supplies you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.  You want to be in and out because it’s crowded and being in Target too long always stresses you out.  However, those end cap displays that are designed to distract and lure your daughter have succeeded once again.

Her: Ooo, Mommy!
You: What?
Her: Can I get this Merida doll?  Please?
You: No.
Her:  But you like Merida!  She’s not a Barbie.
You: Honey, we are not here to get toys.  We’re here to get aluminum foil, extra forks, and chicken broth.  That’s it.
Her: But Mom, look, I don’t have anything like this yet.  Please!
You: I said no.  Now, c’mon.
Her: Mom… (She starts to cry…yes, in the middle of the store.)
You: Stop crying!  That’s not how to get what you want.  Let’s go.

Allison Signs & Smiles.Starring CeliaAllison Says:

“Never tell her to ‘stop crying’.  First of all, it doesn’t work.  Second, you are denying her the right to have feelings.  We adults think that girls deliberately use their feelings to manipulate us into getting what they want.  This is almost never the case.  Sure, all kids play with all kinds of tactics to get what they want.  We all do.  But feelings are just feelings.  No weapons.  Everyone has them and everyone has a right to have them.  When tell our girls ‘stop crying,’ we are sending the message that they are bad for having feelings.”

Take 2:

Same Scenario.

You: Honey, we are not here to get toys.  We’re here to get aluminum foil, extra forks, and chicken broth.  That’s it.
Her: But Mom, look, I don’t have anything like this yet.  Please!
You: I said no.  Now, c’mon.
Her: Mom… (She starts to cry…yes, in the middle of the store.)
You: (taking a breath and looking her in the eyes) I see you are sad because you can’t get the Merida doll.
Her: Yes!  I really want it!
You: I know.  I get it.  The Merida doll is cool.  I feel sad too when I can’t have things I want.
She sniffles.
You: (giving her a hug) C’mon. Will you in charge of helping me pick out the forks for Thanksgiving dinner?
Her: Okay.