Suppose your kid is sobbing because he can't get his shoes tied. Calm him down by saying something like, "I find it hard to understand you when you're this upset. When you're done crying, let's talk so I can help you." Once he relaxes, brainstorm ways to fix the problem, whether it's asking for help (for instance, he could practice on your sneaker) or taking a break and trying again later. "A sensitive kid tends to get sucked into the problem and get stuck there," says Dr. Berman. "Try to remind him that there always is a solution, and he shouldn't feel ashamed to ask for ideas."
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of Parents magazine.