Luckily for me, I don't let crying affect me negatively (most of the time). I know in these boundary setting instances that all of her needs are met and that she is strong enough to handle it. I know that she is doing the best that she can in this circumstance. I know that crying may actually help lower her stress and organize her sensory systems. I also trust myself enough to believe that I have reasons my baby does not understand and that I too am doing the best I can in this circumstance. So when she cries for awhile after I set a boundary, and I am done offering my complementary hug, I continue my day. Now before you get your feathers flustered, I do first explain everything, offer her alternatives to what she wants and can't have, or make sure her needs are met. In this situation though I am talking about when she wants something that I have set a boundary on. Such as, no more juice, its not time to go outside, or your sister had that first and of course the occasional - we are all done with the ipad.
In these instances, I see my daughter's crying as expressing her displeasure and attempting to get her way. Occasionally people reward this type of crying by moving faster and running to save the child. However, I know that there are going to be millions of times in her life in which she won't get her way. Even though she is very young, I know she is old enough to understand that sometimes we all don't get what we want. By letting her cry in a loving supporting environment, I am giving her a safe way to learn that she can be happy even if she doesn't get what she wants. I have seen that the more consistent my husband and I are at this the quicker my daughter gets over her tears (although in her case she still frequently tries them out).
When talking to parents about this strategy I often find them saying. "I don't like to see my child unhappy, or it hurts me." But look at what you are then reinforcing to your child. The more they cry and you give in (even if its after 5 minutes) you are actually teaching them that crying works. That if something doesn't go your way you should cry...loudly...until someone fixes it for you. You are also reinforcing to your child that they are not in control of their emotions and that you don't believe they are strong enough or capable enough of self-regulating. Our children are smart, creative thinkers. If they have discovered that by crying long enough Mommy, Daddy or Suzy will get uncomfortable enough and give in to the boundary - believe me they will do it over and over again!
If you follow my work then you know that I believe children can do anything. They can learn to talk, they can make friends, and yes...then can be happy when things don't go their way. It is a very important life skill, one that can be taught to any child, and in my mind, the sooner the easier for all. I hope this helps you to empower your own children to practice the skill of things not going their way gracefully. All of these techniques work just as well with children with autism, I see it on a daily basis. Please let me know if I can ever be of help to you in any way. Happy Playing!
P.S. This is only one of the techniques I use in crying - and this blog specifically is about around the house boundary setting. In the playroom you may have more time to go into it with your child (although for many children with autism the more you talk about it, the more upset they become - moving your energy away is especially useful to an overstimulated brain). To see a more comprehensive view of my crying techniques check out my other blogs.