Please stop telling my son he is okay when he falls. Do NOT tell him he is okay, to brush it off, and up, up, he goes. Sure, we both know he is probably okay, but are you 100% certain that he is? Maybe the fall hurt worse than what it looked like. What if my son sprained his wrist because he fell on it wrong? Comments like these from friends, family members, or even strangers aggravate me to the core. Quite frankly, I prefer you simply say nothing or ask, “Are you okay? Do you need some help up?” Sure, my son may cry when you ask him this, but he fell, so it makes sense that he might cry. Even if he was just crying out of fear and stops the second I hug him, it’s fine; he is just expressing himself to me, and I appreciate that.
I much prefer him to experience the natural reactions and emotions that come up without someone taking him out of his body awareness by telling him he is okay. I want my son to know what he is feeling for himself and own that. He is the only one who can tell me what he feels in his body, and I fight for him to freely express that. Just as we don’t make our kids give hugs as a way of teaching boundaries around physical touch, this is one of the ways I teach my son about body awareness and openly speaking up if he doesn’t like the way he feels. It is his opportunity to be assured that what he feels is not wrong. If things are not right, he will cry, at which point I will go over to him. If things are okay, then he may lay there a while, get up, and go about his day. It just depends. I am only here to give him a safe space to process those feelings or provide a warm hug if he needs it.
Just think for a moment – let’s say you get a paper cut. We are working together, and I hear you say, “Ouch!” I know it’s a paper cut because I saw it all go down, and I say to you, “You are okay! Back to work you go.” How would you feel? First, we all know paper cuts, for whatever reason, do show up on the pain scale more than simple scrapes. So would you think, Wow, Jenn, you’re right, I am fine! Most likely not. Yet, if the same situation happened, I heard you say, “Ouch!” and I turned to you and asked, “Are you okay? I swear those paper cuts are the worse sometimes,” you would probably see me as a more compassionate, kind, and caring person. It’s the same idea for our kids.
The next time you see my son fall please don’t tell him he is okay. Rather, if the fall is small, and you know he is most likely okay, say nothing. If you must, just ask, “You okay?” and I am certain you will most likely see him get up, run away, and continue playing. If he cries when you ask, I thank you for showing my son kindness and respect. His mom’s arms are only a reach away if he needs a hug.