Do I Comfort My 6 Year Old After Scolding Her?

Dr. Laura,

Way back when I taught my oldest (6 years, kindergarten) to tell me if her feelings were hurt when she was crying. Now it's become a problem. Every time she cries she'll say "mommy you hurt my feelings..." This is usually when I'm getting on to her for doing something she shouldn't. So I don't want to teach her that she can't say she has hurt feelings but I don't know how to teach her that saying this all the time isn't going to get her a "get out of jail free card". She says it usually thinking that she'll be told it's okay and "I'm sorry" by the person who "hurt" her feelings.

And if she does cry and has her feelings hurt I always validate that and go from there. It's when she's gotten in trouble and cries that I don't know what to say when she responds "mommy you hurt my feelings". Ideas on wording for her or what to say?

How about giving her a hug and saying "You don't like what I'm saying, it makes you feel bad....I don't want to hurt your feelings, Honey...And what I'm saying is important. It isn't okay to xyz."

Let her cry for as long as she wants-- in your arms -- and then say, "I know it doesn't feel good when I tell you about this...I'm telling you because I can't let you do xyz....It's not okay...Let's talk about why." If she always does this, though, you may want to consider your tone with her. She sounds very sensitive, and sometimes kids like that don't need a stern voice, just a kind "Oops...I know you didn't mean to do that, because ...." As the Dalai Lama says, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."


AHA! Parenting Magazine
Free weekly inspiration in your inbox Dr. Laura's Parenting Tips
Peaceful Parent Happy Kids Online Course
Peaceful Parent Happy Kids Online Course
  • 12 weeks of practical support & tools
  • Live Group Call with Dr. Laura
  • 60 audio inspirations & Private FB group

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

Peaceful Parent,
Happy Kids Workbook

Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings



Folks, she's brilliant. It's wonderful to have parenting experts who don't see the child as the enemy in a locked combat, for one thing. I recommend it.