Since Sunday evening I have been wondering what effect is has on your children if they see you crying? On Sunday I was feeling a little down, we had been at my In-laws and by the time we got home and I called my own Dad and couldn't reach him I felt really bad, and so tears swelled up in my eyes and I started weeping / crying. My daughter saw this and I saw a look in her eyes that made me feel worse. She was really sad that I was weeping and tried to comfort me...and wanted to know what was the matter.

I felt bad not answering her and just as bad while answering her, because I didn't feel like it was appropriate saying I missed my Dad, and that I felt bad that I hadn't been able to speak with him, and the fact the fact that at that age he was in reasonable good health was a blessing but that could also change at any moment.

I decided to briefly share my feelings and just say that I missed my Dad...she was sympathetic and comforting, but I still feel confused about the effect it has on children if they see their parents crying. I want to research this more, but would really like to hear about your own emotional experiences that are similar.

So should you avoid crying infront of your children altogether? Are there some instances where it is less emotionally trying or less traumatic for them? Should you train yourself to not display such emotional outbreaks until they are of a certain age?

asked 20 Jun '11, 14:37

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

I think it is okay to show your children that you are an emotional being. Why do you feel it inappropriate to talk to your child about missing your own father?

I feel it only makes it more confusing if you do not want to explain it. Even if you have to sometimes say "it's a grown-up-thing to worry about that" or "you'll understand it better when you are older", getting a bit of comfort from your child can help you too, and a better understanding of emotions might even form a greater bond between parents and child.

I remember from my own childhood that a sad or crying mother is a confusing situation, but I think talking about it helps both sides. Bottling up emotions will only lead to explosive releases over some minor thing...


answered 21 Jun '11, 03:16

brandstaetter's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

Nice points brandstaetter...I don't know why I feel it to be inappropriate,sometimes I just really do miss my parents but don't talk about it. We are a verbal family generally and she is one of those children that likes to understand so if I said 'you'll understand better when you are older' that would intrigue her tremendously and she'd want to understand about it even more.

Maybe it is also what you say in your last paragraph that worries me and that is to confuse her. Spot on about the bottling up of emotions I agree that that is definitely something to avoid at almost all costs.

(21 Jun '11, 10:52) Emi

I did a quick search for references but couldn't find anything helpful. My gut reaction is similar to brandstaetter. I think it's important to model healthy emotions with our children. When we are sad we cry, and children need to see that it happens and it's okay. I feel that if you hide your emotions from your children you might inadvertantly teach them that feeling sad and crying is not okay.

It might be upsetting or confusing to see a parent cry, but that is probably because we don't want our parents to be sad. If you discuss it with her and make sure that she understands that it is not her fault or her responsibility to make you feel better then it might be a valuable emotional learning experience.


answered 23 Jun '11, 11:03

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accept rate: 18%

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Asked: 20 Jun '11, 14:37

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Last updated: 21 Jun '13, 08:11