Most parents, when asked what they want for their children, will confidently answer: I just want my child to be happy. At the same time, everyone realizes that difficult and sad moments in life cannot be avoided. However, you can then be a support for the child and give a helping hand.

Sadness is one of the basic emotions that we have been equipped with since childhood. We react with sadness when we lose something that has had value for us. It is a natural emotion in difficult moments.

Sadness can be felt and expressed in different ways. Tears are the most obvious sign of this condition, but sadness in children can also show up as abdominal pains or hide under bursts of anger.

If children are sad, it means they have a reason for it, although from our adult perspective it may turn out to be trivial. The child, however, experiences the world from a different perspective and has the right to his own feelings. Therefore, it is worth avoiding underestimating the child’s experiences and feelings, and paying attention to childhood sadness and asking the child to say something more about it.

One of the most important messages you can convey to your child in times of sadness is that you are there for them. Sadness can make you feel lonely, especially if you are experiencing something very personal. It is helpful to support someone who recognizes this sadness, accepts it, and gives it space to fade away. It sounds lofty, but in the case of small children, the loss of a favorite soft toy rises to a great rank. If your child wants you to share your sad story with him, please share it. Knowing that each of us is going through difficult times at times, grieves and cries can add a bit of confidence, a sense of community and soothe our emotions.

Parents often try to be strong with their children to show them that everything will be fine. They push back their emotions and suppress them so as not to show the child that they are going through something difficult. However, it can actually be beneficial for a child when adults show their emotions. You don’t need to tell the kids what exactly happened. Instead, just say: “Dad / mama is also sad”. This normalizes the child’s grief and shows that feelings are not something the child has to mask or be ashamed of. Therefore, it is important not to embarrass your baby when crying or under strong emotions, not to compare him to other people, not to say that he is already big and cannot cry.

When accompanying another person, we can feel helpless in their emotions. There is a strong desire to do something so that these emotions pass quickly and to somehow rectify the situation. Such a willingness means that it is difficult for us to deal with these emotions, that we ourselves need support or permission to feel the emotions and let them pass at their own pace. It is often the case that we cannot fix the situation. And if we don’t fix it, the feeling of loss or sadness will remain. And what we can do in such moments is only (or as much as!) To be next to the person in need and let them know that they can count on us.

There is no schedule for overcoming grief. Depending on the cause that made your child sad, this emotion may last for a shorter or longer period. It may also be that the feeling of loss will always accompany the child, but with time it may learn to cope and feel happy again. The child should be able to deal with feelings at their own pace.

We build real strength and resilience when we learn to regulate emotions and deal with them when they arise, not by ignoring them. Enabling a child to experience and relive sadness allows him to mourn the loss – and this is a necessary step for him to be able to overcome this sadness. When you allow and accompany your child with sadness or regret, they learn that they can handle big emotions.

In a situation where you notice that your child or you are experiencing too intense and prolonged sadness that adversely affects everyday functioning, seek the support of a doctor (first contact or psychiatrist), psychologist or psychotherapist.