Infants communicate their wants and needs through gestures and sounds. It they are happy, they get a response. If they are sad, they get a response. Whether happy or sad, their needs are met. They do not feel alone.

Infants develop thoughts and language to complement their gestures and sounds to communicate their wants and needs as they mature into a young child. This is when the child may encounter a critical transition. They may hear:

“Big girls don’t cry.”

“That’s not something to cry about.”

This is confusing and painful for a child as their needs/wants were once met; however NOW because they are little older the same needs are no longer met the same way.

This transition can introduce internal conflict and develop key decisions that despite their wants and needs being the same, they are now being told that certain emotions, sad ones, are NOT ok.

An objective, as the child starts to develop communication, is to model the language and gestures for any emotion, especially sad ones, rather than to teach them to repress/shut them down.