How to balance reassuring a child with invalidating their feelings?

2017-10-20 15:32:40

I have an amazing almost 14 month old son. He's curious and is starting to get into trouble that occasionally causes him to fall or bump his head. I think that part of the time he's actually hurting but much of the time he's reacting to the surprise of the fall, not any actual pain.

I'm (possibly overly) concerned about how to ride that line between coddling him and telling him to "suck it up". I don't want him to overreact to pain stimuli that go away quickly but I also don't want him to feel like he can't come to me when he's hurting and start to internalize his problems.

I'm hesitant to say things like "You're just fine" or "you're OK" because I can't feel his pain - I don't actually know whether he's hurting that much or not, I'm only able to base my response on what I see happen.

How can I respond to him in a way that doesn't invalidate his pain response but that also encourages him to be a bit more "gritty" in dealing with his pain. I love snuggling him and would