My visitors today

Sunday 18 October 2009

Tears for fears

" Nurse Big Sis and my forever crying knee", 1959


Crying is sometimes explained away by the bio-chemists as a way to getting the hormones in the body back in balance again, ridding the body of “stress” hormones, whatever they may be. Others, more psychologically, may describe crying as a means of communicating the need for help, the presence of pain, or of sadness. It has even been proposed that, because crying blurs the vision, it plays a role in lowering aggression or actions of defence, which I suppose might be useful on the battle field, though I cannot see how!

Whatever crying is we all know that we feel better after a good dose of it.

Crying cropped up this week in two conductive blog postings. It was mentioned in mine because of its absence, and in Andrew Sutton’s because of a lot of it.

In Andrew’s posting crying was mentioned in a quote from a parent’s blog.

Children cry

Children very often cry when they are in new situations, all children, not just children with disabilities. Some children don’t cry at all and some children stop crying as they get used to a situation, but others don’t.

Over twenty years ago my niece and nephew attended nursery group for a year, at the same school they attended later. My nephew cried every day for the whole year, starting each day as his mum left him at the door. His twin sister didn’t cry at all, she took her brother by the hand and played with him until he had stopped and could join in the fun. He always stopped, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but he always stopped. All children stop eventually.

I cried every morning for six months as a four-year-old when my sister went off to school and left me alone at home. I stopped crying when I joined her at school, having been sent a term early particularly in an attempt to stop the crying. It worked, I didn’t cry about going to school, I loved it for fourteen years because Big Sis was there. When she left a year before I did, I didn’t cry, but I didn’t love school any more.

Children cry for different reasons it is a natural phenomena there is no need for parents to worry about their children crying in a group.

Crying in Conductive Education

What is it with Conductive Education and crying, why does it get so much airtime?

Parents discuss crying a lot. Crying makes it hard for them to leave the children, and there needs to be a good understanding between the parent and the person they give their child to.

Perhaps it is because children attending conductive groups have never yet been left anywhere before, perhaps because of their disabilities or perhaps because of their parents’ fears. Maybe these parents have never experienced the phenomenon that, whereas some children cry when left somewhere, others don’t.

It was nice to have no tears in the first day of my new group, but it isn’t the end of the world if we do have them. They are so quickly forgotten.

For conductors crying is normal, an everyday hazard that we see as part and parcel of the job we do, especially if one has worked in the International Group at the Petö Institute, as I did! There, with new children almost every Monday morning we rarely had a quiet start to the day. Quiet starts only develop when a group grows together and children get used to the environment and each other.

Even with tears we still have lots of fun, we still learn a lot and, most important of all, we still decide that it would be nice to come back another day.


Jackie Wilson Lonely tear drops -

Susie Mallett -

Andrew Sutton -


Andrew said...

A very important thing to say. Thanks for saying it.

I have extemporised a little further on this theme, at

Becky Featherstone said...

Hi Susie thought I would leave a comment as this is a subject I have been discussing with parents recently. I would like to give two examples, first my brother who has no disability cried for months when he first went to school at 4 years old because he didn't want to leave his mum. He was the youngest of the four of us and had spent 4 years alone at home with her while we were all at school. Everyday she asked how his day had been and he said "ok, but I don't think I will go back". After months he still cried, only thing was he didn't cry anymore when he got to school, but when my mum came to pick him up, he didn't want to go home!

Another example, I recently started with a little girl who had experienced CE in America for 5 weeks before discovering our project in Brazil. When I first talked to her mum one of the first things she said was "she cried for 5 weeks". When I first started working with her I explained that this was normal, that children need time to adapt to new situations, that they have fear of new situations (possibly even more so for children with disabilities), that she would stop when she was ready, could be days, weeks or months, the mother understood. The child used crying as a way of communication, I say used because after 3 lessons with me she cried no more, instead she arrives every lesson with a smile.

We all need time to adapt, we all get nervous, we all have fears and we all have different ways of expressing this, some cry, some talk a lot, some don't say anything at all. I guess what I am trying to say is that we are all different, so I don't see why people mention CE and crying as if if were something to worry about. Because we are happy, sad, nervous or excited, we ALL cry.

Becky x