As my kids get older and I start to watch their personalities grow, I find that I question some parenting decisions. I believe every parent questions whether they’re doing things right or how certain situations will impact their child’s adult life. After all, most parents do worry about how much of an impact their decisions will have on the long term health of their child. I mean, I think most parents think about that.
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With a child who’s now a senior and just turned 17, I am that parent. The parent who wonders if my decisions over the years have impacted how this child responds or handles various life situations. The biggest example I can provide is that I worry if I didn’t cry enough. I’m a strong, dedicated woman. I’ve been a single mom more than not during the life of my oldest child. We were used to just doing things as we did, a single mom and child with, later on, two younger siblings.
I never cried.
My oldest didn’t really see me cry until sometime between 2015 and early 2018 when a traumatic experience left me shattered. My oldest and younger two kids saw me cry all of the time during that timeframe, it was horrible. I would cry in the shower, for the most part, hiding away in sorrow for the life I was living with a manipulative, mean, destructive man. I cried so much in the shower, behind closed doors, that eventually the crying slipped out in the real world. My kids finally saw me cry and they had no idea what to do.
You see, when you never cry around your kids, they have no idea how to handle sadness. They don’t know what to do when their loved one cries. They have no idea how to handle their own feeling of sadness. They don’t cry.
When I looked at my oldest growing up, trying to handle certain situations and knowing damn well that child needed a good cry. I realized that, like me, this child shows outer strength meanwhile dying a little inside. Us strong people aren’t really strong, we put up a good front, meanwhile, have all of these feelings inside. We are firstborns, leaders, entrepreneurs, children of adults who never made us feel like we could express our feelings or product of trauma that led us to believe we were crazy for showing said emotions.
Whatever happened to make you not cry in front of your kids, I’m here to tell you that you need to fix it! Not crying in front of your kids can make it difficult for them to know how to handle emotions. These kids who grow up being strong, putting up that front of no tears, meanwhile dying inside, are wilting away their mental health.
I’m here to say it’s okay to cry.
Let it all out.
Don’t be ashamed!
Sometimes crying can heal us in so many ways. When our kids grow up seeing us cry, they start to realize there’s more to life than just feeling happy or optimistic. You see, I’m an optimist by nature, but I feel emotions. I feel anger at times, sadness at times, and yes, happiness. I’m an emotional person,
I feel all the feels! I just don’t always show them.
Now you wonder should kids see their parents cry?
I have asked myself this question time and time again, for about four years now. I have felt horrible that my oldest never saw that side of me. My oldest grew up with a stubborn, headstrong Mama who refused to sink and cry.
The thing is, that meant I taught my oldest to never show that emotional card. Keep it held in, do not show. Do not let them see you in pain.
I was so wrong. I was wrong in many ways!
My heart aches as a parent who felt kids shouldn’t see their parents cry. That decision to hold back tears was a horrible decision, and now I try to backtrack that concept because crying in front of your kids can teach them so many things.
Is it bad for your child to see you cry?
It is not bad for your child to see you cry. Ever. It’s good. It’s healthy. It shows your kids that you’re human and have emotions. Crying, or showing any real emotion around your kids within healthy limits helps your kids learn how to handle their own future emotions.
Why Parents Should Cry in Front of Their Kids
Kids who grow up seeing their parents able to express emotions start realizing that emotions are okay. When parents cry in front of their kids, they’re showing kids that everyone feels various emotions from time to time and it’s okay to express them. Normalizing feelings helps your kids grow up to be emotionally intelligent humans. Emotional intelligence goes a long way in building healthy relationships in all areas of life.
Parents who cry in front of their kids, especially younger kids, may find that their child isn’t sure what to do. You see, kids look to their parents to be strong and tend to think we’re invincible. A crying parent can be rather scary, even to older kids. If you never cried in front of your kids, then they’ll be so worried when you do. We’re all human, so eventually, your kids may see you cry. Cry now, and then discuss the emotions later in an age-appropriate way.
Listen, crying in front of your kids helps keep emotions a normal part of their life, but don’t overdo it. There is such a thing as crying too much in front of your kids. Kids don’t need to feel those intense emotions of their parents’ stress, it only causes them more mental anguish. Be mindful of how often you cry and what type of intensity you show when it comes to crying in front of your kids. As with most things in life, too much of something is a bit extreme.
Remember to be mindful of how your out of control emotions may impact your child worse than just not crying in front of them in the first place.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you what to do. Cry or not to cry. The answer is yours. I’m just here to say I’ve seen what never crying in front of your kid does. It has set an unrealistic expectation to never cry, never show emotions and to hold them inside. To only write in a journal or release emotions in a creative (or destructive) manner.
Do I regret never crying in front of my oldest child?
No. I don’t. The reason being, I cannot change the past. I can only learn from my past mistakes and decisions! My oldest and I talk about a lot of things. I’ve been able to try to explain why I was wrong to never cry in front of my oldest. We’ve discussed this and I’ve been a supporter of this child expressing emotions better. It’s almost like we both are growing together, learning how to express emotions better as my oldest ventures into adulthood and I sit here going where did the time go?!
It’s okay to cry in front of your kids. It will truly help them comprehend emotions better as they get older!