My boy always cried.    

He was the kid who I dropped off for playdates only to be called an hour later because he was crying and wanted to go home. During preschool sports classes at the local YMCA, I was the only mom who had to join in the activities because my kid would constantly run to me as I watched from the bleachers. I was the mom who volunteered for every activity only because I knew he would struggle to enjoy himself when I left his side. My kid was the kid who had a hard time letting go of my hand and would look back longingly when I pushed the small of his back in the direction of other kids on the playground.

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I heard it all. 

Wow, what a momma’s boy you have.

Isn’t that sweet but he’s going to have to toughen up one of these days.

And, of course, my all-time favorite unhelpful comment: Big boys don’t cry.

The comments got to me. I wish I could say they hadn’t, but they did.

I would wonder what others thought of my parenting, or worse, what they thought of my son. Why wasn’t he like the others?

I so wanted to be able to drop him off at a friend’s house and not drive off with a knot in my stomach. I wanted to sit on the bleachers with the other moms and chat away, but I knew he would come running over with tears in his eyes, and I would inevitably be riding on a scooter board with 14 other 3-year-olds. And I so wished I could drop him off at birthday parties and sit at the closest Starbucks with a Venti Chai and a good book before pick-up time.

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I remember his preschool teacher saying these very words “He is a sensitive boy—he will make a great husband one day.” Her words were perfectly succinct and provided much comfort.

She actually saw his sensitive nature as an area of strength.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I relaxed, I allowed my son to cling to me, and I stopped worrying.

My son, now 19 years old, is the kindest and most caring young man. And, yes, he is a momma’s boy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He called me just the other day and asked if he could run to the store. I laughed to my husband and questioned when was he going to realize he didn’t need to run everything by me.

But then—he is my sensitive son. He is in tune with my emotions, he wants to make sure I know where he is, and he wants to know if I need anything while he is at the store.  

RELATED: I’m Not Going To Toughen Up My Sensitive Son

So, mommas of sensitive boys, you don’t need to toughen them up, and it is OK for them to cry. Please don’t worry yourselves with the thoughts of others. The behaviors will pass but thankfully the emotion remains. Enjoy your perfectly sensitive boy

His preschool teacher is probably right—he will make a great husband.

Laura Domer-Shank

Laura Domer-Shank, Ed.D. is a School Psychologist, Adjunct Professor, and Consultant of twenty-five years who specializes in supporting children and families. Dr. Domer-Shank is the wife to Neil who is an educator and coach and together, they actively parent their three children – Cam, Larkyn, and Ella.