Aspergers/HFA Children and Excessive Crying


My 9 year old daughter cries all the time. When I tell her about something she has done wrong or try and correct something... she starts crying – even when she spills a drink or something on herself. I never shout or even tell her off... I think she would faint if I did!! She must have uncontrolled emotions or something, not being able to deal with them properly perhaps.


Can there be too much crying? Should we be concerned at some point when school-aged children cry? I think yes.

Often Aspergers and high functioning autistic (HFA) children feel criticized by their parents who tell them that they shouldn't cry. Hurt, they may cry more when told to stop crying. That's why I think we should downplay the message, "Don't cry," and play up the message, "Let's think of better ways you could handle this situation without crying." This approach makes us allies, trying to help our children grow up.

Another key for parents is not to reinforce excessive crying behavior. For example, Michael cries when he is frustrated. Rather than assisting him in response to tears, the parents could say: "We'll be glad to help you when you pull yourself together and ask for help in a big boy voice." The message should be, "It's not a good idea to cry about small things. Use your strength. We want to help you be strong."

Children on the autism spectrum often keep crying as long as it seems to work for them. When it doesn't, they eventually quit. If they are upset about something, we want them to learn to handle their feelings in more powerful ways.

One factor that generally triggers Aspergers and HFA children to stop crying is social pressure. If older children cry often in front of peers, they generally will be ridiculed. Parents can point this out while they teach their children other, more powerful responses to difficult situations.

Kids on the autism spectrum do indeed have problems with low-frustration tolerance, and they are very sensitive to changes in routine as well as certain environmental stimuli. As parents, we want to treasure our child's sensitivity. But, we also want to teach both boys and girls to tolerate some feelings without crying and to express certain emotions in more mature ways.

==> My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns

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