My 6 year old not is interested in watching even animated moral stories. Now in online class, one of his class mates plays some fairy tales once a week, but every time he would start to cry.

Even though I explained to him that it is story, he asks me the reason for the sorrow scenes in stories. And nowadays he removes his headset once the story starts and doesn't put them back on until the story ends. If we are watching television he switches off the television.

If in story there is a scene where a small boy tells that his father expired or any related scene, he starts to cry and asks the reason for that to me (why it happened?).

How do I teach him not to take these things emotionally and how to make him want to watch?

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    Have you considered that it might not be in the child's best interests to make him watch? If you explain why you think this is best, you might get a better quality answer. Jan 23, 2022 at 14:54
  • He is not able to see moral stories in school and missionaries life stories in sunday school.Rest of all members in his age watches normally.He just cries and hides his face and lies down.
    – Nilah
    Jan 23, 2022 at 15:43
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    His reaction might be important for you to consider in contemplating your child's best interests. I asked why you thought "making him watch" things that upset him was best. To sit through Sunday school like the other kids sounds like something adults would like their kids to do, and not necessarily what's best for the child. Again, why is this important for the child to be able to do? Is he being bullied for his sensitivity? Have the teachers complained? Do you want him to "toughen up"? Etc. Jan 24, 2022 at 1:59
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    It takes me long time for me to console him each time until his mind is satisfied with my positive words,he will be crying.I am concerned that I cannot be with him in all situations to understand that he is crying and consoling him because he will not share until we understand that he is crying. Also he will be crying with no sound.There are situations where he comes from school crying.Just I am trying for some alternative.
    – Nilah
    Jan 24, 2022 at 21:18
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    This sounds like me as a child --I found even seemingly harmless movies overwhelming, and didn't really learn to enjoy movies until I was an adult. I am often still more impacted by them than people around me, and don't watch things like horror. I'm grateful my parents were understanding about this. It's likely something he will grow out of if you give him time. Jan 26, 2022 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


Since you've only gotten frame challenges as answers, I'll throw in my hat. This answer is kind of a frame challenge, too, but I hope to offer some useful guidance for you as well.

A child's emotions are valid (all emotions are valid, in that they are sensible under the circumstances), and as such, should be treated with respect (acknowledged as valid, not invalidating the child.) This doesn't mean you should just bear with it and do nothing. Part of parenting is teaching emotional regulation.

First, the frame challenge.

How to teach him not to take these things emotionally and how to make his to watch?

I am guessing that your child is a sensitive individual with a lot of empathy. I think that's wonderful; the world has too many people without sufficient empathy in it. Yes, it means more pain, but in the best case scenario, it also means a willingness to do something about the suffering of others. So to try to change his feelings is an invalidation of who he is right now. Personally, I would not try to make him watch things that cause him distress unless it could be channeled into something constructive for him.

I would start by making sure he has a very rich emotional vocabulary. Being "happy" or "sad" or "mad" isn't enough information for you or for him, because learning accurately about feelings is the first step to dealing with them appropriately.

You say,

It takes me long time for me to console him each time until his mind is satisfied with my positive words,he will be crying.I am concerned that I cannot be with him in all situations to understand that he is crying and consoling him because he will not share until we understand that he is crying. Also he will be crying with no sound.There are situations where he comes from school crying.Just I am trying for some alternative.

There's a lot here, but I'll propose a general approach: start by asking questions before trying to console him. Ask, and listen carefully to his answers. Ask, "Why are you crying?" When he answers, ask for details. "Why does that make you sad?" When he's given you all the information about the why's and wherefores that he can, you can start to problem solve.

Possibilities (feeling words are in italics):

"Are you afraid that this might happen to you?"
"Did you feel helpless seeing this happen to (whomever)?"
"Did you feel hopeless seeing this..." (Helpless is the feeling that you can't do anything to stop [it]; hopeless is feeling that things can't change.)

Choose the feeling(s), then deal with it alone. E.g. "Feeling helpless is hard, isn't it? Was (character) helpless? What could (character) have done? What can you do when you feel helpless? (Turn off the show/leave/ask for help/ask someone to stop/whatever fits the situation.)

This is a short answer compared to all the work this will take, but the key concept here is to teach resilience, an ability to work through and bounce back from a negative emotion/situation/message.

Teaching a child to be resilient is a lot of work, but it's a gift that will serve him well throughout his entire life. Good luck!

I'm an elder adult, I cry easily, and still have times of very strong reactions when I see things in film/television. I have delivered many human babies and a fair number of goat kidlings; I know a lot about dangerous deliveries, and had my share of difficult ones. When I saw the movie Man of Steel, there is a scene that depicts the baby Kal El in in the transverse position in his mother's uterus. I felt panicky, my heart began to race, and I had a nearly overwhelming urge to stand and yell, "TURN THE BABY!!!", because that's an instance where both mother and baby die. Luckily, through the miracle of unrealistic science fiction, the mother immediately delivers the baby without any problems. Phew!"

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    Thank you for that very good answer! BTW: you make being sensitive sound somewhat as being purely bad for the person, and only good for others. But having intense feelings opens both ways - for pain and also for more intense happiness. Jan 28, 2022 at 21:37
  • @Hans-PeterStörr - You're right! the flip side of being sad for the pain of others is taking joy in the good. I thought it was clear in my implication (why do good for others if it did not bring joy/fulfillment/etc.?), but on re-reading, it's not clear at all. Thanks for pointing that out! Jan 29, 2022 at 7:44

I learned the hard way that I had to protect my children from this sort of thing if it was distressing. If you decide to go that route, as I did, then it is helpful to

  • plan ahead with teachers, friends and family

  • project a supportive and matter-of-fact attitude with your child

  • if an occasional accident happens, support your child through the reaction (e.g. nightmares), without displaying in your child's hearing any frustration or anger

One of my children suffered horribly from violent material. One was so empathetic that sometime we would read a non-violent picture book, with tears streaming down his face, and when I asked him why, he said he was just so happy for the character.

At age 15, this super-empathetic kid and I attended a modern dance performance with a piece about suffering by people attempted to cross the border illegally into the US. He had a really hard time watching it, even though the choreography and the dancing were beautiful.

I myself was advised as a teenager by a friend, "A Clockwork Orange is not for you." (He knew me pretty well.)

My older son outgrew these types of sensitivity with time -- but some people don't, and I definitely do not appreciate it when people say, "At such-and-so age, you/he should be able to handle such-and-so."


An example of learning the hard way: I took my older son to see a Charlie Chaplin movie, Gold Rush. This was an art film house in France and they rated each movie for appropriate age ranges. But I wasn't aware of that yet. I think they rated it for 5 and up. My kid was very upset when the house was wobbling, and the burly guy was hallucinating and attacking Charlie Chaplin. He was so upset that he couldn't enjoy the delirious potato dance. Live and learn.

At some point I discovered screenit.com and that helped me make better choices. The have different categories, including ominous music. Extremely helpful for my family -- and for me.

Commonsensemedia is another resource.


What I've been trying to say is that every child has their own pace for maturing in one or another aspect. You could let the child lead, and use resources to try to avoid flooding (this is a term from OCD treatment but I think it could be applied here). Flooding is a therapeutic technique which is sometimes used with adults, but I have never seen it used by a therapist in a purposeful way with children.

If it's important to you to help the child build up more callous to scary materials, so as to be able to watch more challenging things without freaking out, then you could consider desensitization. But I strongly recommend that you check with a doctor as to whether your child is old enough to start doing this. Also, I can say that desensitization is most successful when the individual is on board with wanting to change.

I have written about desensitization in various posts on SE, including Academia.

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    The OP asked, "How to teach him not to take these things emotionally and how to make his to watch?" As it stands, this isn't an answer, it's a frame challenging series of anecdotes. That should be done in comments or after asking if the OP is open to a frame challenge. Jan 24, 2022 at 2:05
  • @anongoodnurse - I'm going to guess. A frame challenge is when you challenge the person's frame of reference? Or their premise? Jan 25, 2022 at 4:38
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    You're far from new here, yet still have (and have had) many questions about how the site operates. You don't need to guess if you search for it in meta. Here's the most recent post about it. Note that if you frame challenge, you should also present helpful answers to the OP's actual question. Jan 25, 2022 at 14:41
  • @anongoodnurse - I just found that post in Parenting Meta. Please note that it postdates my hiatus from SE. Thanks for the suggestion. Jan 25, 2022 at 14:44
  • Please note that before your hiatus, frame challenges were not allowed at all. Jan 25, 2022 at 14:46

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