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Second-grader cries frequently in class


I have a 7-year-old son who easily cries when he is teased or when he is made an example of. For instance, his teacher recently corrected him and when his classmates looked at him, he burst into tears. Little things like that will set him off.  I am concerned that he will be the brunt of bullying since his peers know they can make him cry.



Children often react strongly when placed in situations that they are not expecting. If your son has tender feelings and is sensitive in social situations, you will have numerous opportunities to help him deal with these situations appropriately.  

We recommend that you use a three-step approach:

  1. Describe the positive behavior you want your child to have.​ Be clear, be specific and demonstrate it if necessary.
  2. Give him a reason to do it this way. Make the reason a “kid” reason, meaning that you show him how doing it this new way will benefit him.
  3. Have him practice. Make it fun, keep it brief and do it frequently.  

Parents use this Preventive Teaching practice in two situations: When there is a new behavior you are teaching, and when you want to correct a past problem behavior. In doing so, you are helping your son achieve success.  

Present the new behavior during a neutral time when emotions are not running high. Tell your son you are teaching him this new behavior to help him be ready for unexpected situations. Compare it to something he already understands such as a fire drill. You have to learn what to do when there isn’t the threat of fire (step one) so everyone remains safe (step two) and knows how to respond appropriately by practicing (step three). This way, if the time comes when there really is danger, people can respond in a calm and effective manner.