If you see your grandkids regularly, you might lose patience if they have frequent teary outbursts, but crying is a healthy release that shouldn't be stifled. "Just like sweating is good when we're exercising, crying is good when we feel bad," says Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D.
, a parenting and family expert and a practicing clinical psychologist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. "There's a lot to be learned from it.
What to say: Instead of demanding an end to the tears, ask them, "What are you hurt about?" or "What are you afraid of?," she suggests. Often, explaining the source of the tears will be enough to stop a crying jag. Insider tip: "If you see tears in a little girl, it's usually anger. But when you see tears in little boys, it usually sadness. Girls are typically more concerned about people-pleasing so they don't know what to do with their anger."