My 7 year old girl is very sensitive but strong. My problem is that when she gets upset (which doesn't happen often) She cannot break the cycle & calm herself down. She keeps on crying harder & harder & nothing will calm her! I'm worried how this may affect her in the future since she can't calm herself down. I tried different strategies to help her, sometimes I ask her to go to her room & relax (that doesn't work). I tried holding her & walking her through thinking of something else, I try to distract her with maybe a story she likes or just talk about something happy etc. But it takes me a long time to break through. I used to have depression & I know that kids of moms with a history of depression have a higher chance of getting depressed themselves. so it worried me that she can't cope with her sadness. Any suggestions?

asked 11 Jan '10, 18:03

Heather%201's gravatar image

Heather 1
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edited 11 Jan '10, 21:09

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Scottie T

Well I don't know if this would actually work, as I've never used this strategy to deal with sadness before, but I've used it to deal with anger in kids (I'm a teacher)....

Perhaps after her next bout of sadness over a particular situation, when she's happy again and ready, you could sit down with her and talk to her about what it was that made her feel sad. Ask, "what happened", then "and how did that make you feel?" Have her use her language to verbalize what it was that made her upset, as well as how she felt when it was happening. Help her to identify the feelings she feels so the next time they happen she is aware of them. Next, have her come up with things, people, or activities that make her feel happy, comfortable and secure. Lead the conversation so that your daughter eventually comes up with a "plan" of what to do next time she experiences those feelings of sadness again. (Experience has shown me that children are more likely to follow through with a plan made up by themselves, than by somebody else). Ask questions like, "what do you think you could do next time you're feeling that way?" and she will most likely make the connection between the feeling sad/the sad situation and the things that make her happy, and from there her plan will evolve (hopefully).

Again, I know this method works with some kids who have a behaviour incident or get angry, but I'm not so sure about sadness- but I think it may be worth a try :)


answered 11 Jan '10, 20:52

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

+1 I think it's very important to provide our children with a rich emotional vocabulary, so that they can express and understand what they are feeling.

(12 Jan '10, 06:10) Benjol

+1 for a such a nice answer & for encouraging the child to make their own plan.

(12 Jan '10, 10:52) Emi

All the techniques you describe sound like you are trying to distract her from her negative emotions. Perhaps, now she's getting older, she needs to work through them instead.

If you can manage to give her your full attention and just give her a safe space to cry and perhaps talk (but possibly not) about what she's upset about. You could say something like "You're upset" as an opening. But she may not want or be able to express herself verbally. This is a technique adapted from the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and also from my counselling training.

I completely sympathise with you: I have a seven year old who has difficulty dealing with her negative emotions too. Perhaps it's just normal for seven year old girls.


answered 12 Jan '10, 16:51

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

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Asked: 11 Jan '10, 18:03

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Last updated: 12 Jan '10, 16:51