There comes a time when all moms need a good cry. But many of us have become experts at suppressing our emotions, trying always to appear like we are positive and in control for our kids. But what happens when you go through a rough patch? Is it good for your children to see you cry, or is it something you should avoid showing them?
That's a question asked and answered by many Circle of Moms members, including Jan C., who feels that it's perfectly fine to let your kids see you cry. "Kids need to know that showing their feelings is okay. My kids were the first to grab me the Kleenex box during Hallmark commercials."
Moms Who Cry in Front of Their Kids
Jan feels that by showing your children that you too can have good and bad days, you help to teach children how to express their feelings in appropriate ways. And Leslie B. agrees: "Your kids need to see you modeling how to handle all kinds of feelings and crying is one way to handle some feelings. They shouldn't see hysteria or abnormally long bouts of crying, but they need to understand that you're a person with feelings just like they are. Also, if they never see you cry they may grow up thinking their own need to cry is unacceptable."
Since we spend night and day in our roles as parents, how can we avoid getting emotional every now and then? Well, we can't, agree many Circle of Moms members."Crying is a natural thing to do, when you are hurt, and also when your feelings are hurt," says Pauline H. "Children should be shown that this is okay under certain circumstances. Laughing is also natural under the right circumstances, and as the adult and caregiver, your example should always be appropriate. "
Moms Who Try to Avoid It
But Anne R. suggests that moms should be careful about letting their kids see them weeping. "Crying in front of your kids can go both ways," she says. When children see a parent cry it can trigger their own sadness and tears. "It is good to explain the types of crying, ‘I am hurting,' or ‘I am crying for joy,' or an expression of gratitude."
Other Circle of Moms members suggest that moms need to be stoic and tearless in all situations. "Moms need to put on a brave face at any cost," says Jackie O. "It's not good for your child to see you crying cause they look up to you, and anything that makes you cry will shatter them."
Rules and Boundaries for Having a Good Cry
So what should be the rules and boundaries for having a good cry, ask many Circle of Mom members?
1. "Let them see you cry, just not over spilt milk."
"I think you should pick and choose when and where you let your children see you cry," says Emily D. "If you attend a funeral, or lose a job, or something traumatic happens to you that changes your life and thus your mood...it's okay to let them see you cry. It's good to explain to your children why you're crying, how you feel. But it's also important to let them see you become strong again. I have cried in front of my daughters, freely. When my marriage fell apart, so did I. But I made sure as I went through the process of divorce, that I explained to my girls why I was so sad. I also made sure that I continued life as normal. Let them see you cry, just not over spilt milk."
2. Explain That It's Not Their Fault
It's also important to point out to kids that it is not their fault as well, says Candi I. "It is okay if children see their mom cry, but there needs to be an explanation of the crying, especially for young children. However, children tend to internalize everything in their world, blaming themselves when a problem occurs. Let children know that it isn't anything that they have done (hopefully) and that crying is a healthy emotion."
3. Avoid Meltdowns
Circle of Moms members agree that there's a major difference between weeping and freaking out in a major meltdown. "You should absolutely allow your children to see you cry," says Cherie R. "It shows them that you are human and life is tough and you can feel bad and work through it. I'm not talking about the gut wrenching sobs that sometimes hit us, but crying is good and that is the message that you should share with them."
No matter how you deal with sadness, whether you hide, share or suppress it, it's likely that your kids will know something is wrong. As Krystal M. explains, kids are smart: "Crying is part of life," she says. "I do not believe in sheltering children or they will be in for a hard, rude, depressing awakening. Life isn't all rainbows and lollipops. Becoming familiar with different emotions is important. And, they always know when their mom is upset anyway."
Do you let your children see you cry?
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