It's an age-old question. Should we cry in front of our kids?
One reason we may hesitate is because we don't want to scare them.
Another may be that we're just not emotional people and crying isn't our usual way of expressing ourselves.
And another may be that we feel vulnerable expressing sadness in front of everyone, including our kids.
The picture above is something that I find incredibly heart-breaking. Yes, I cried when I read the statistic about 120,000 US kids. Then I asked permission from Anu's CEO Mechele Shipman to request that my fellow parent coach Jenny Wagner make this meme so we could spread the word that we'd love to help these families.
Here are some things about sadness to consider:
Crying is a normal human response. Kids do it, especially the younger they are. No one taught them to cry - it just happens naturally.
Why should this normal response be taboo because a person gets older?
It's a release of tension in the body, and not to cry could result in physical ailments over time.
Crying in front of our kids, especially when we've been experiencing great stress during this pandemic, is a way to help them realize that being human involves sadness, frustration, mourning, fear, being moved - all reasons our bodies can produce tears.
There's no shame in crying in front of your children. To protect them from our sadness/frustration/mourning/fear/being moved is not a good idea, as it narrows their idea of what's OK to express. Children need to feel they're accepted and heard, no matter what they're feeling, in order to grow into healthy adults and partners.
Allowing the full spectrum of human emotion helps kids build empathy for others, and aren't empathetic kids what we all want?
Let me know your thoughts on this by replying to this email.
P.S. If you know of a family whose children lost their parents or caregivers to COVID, send them our way so we can offer parent coaching to assist the kids in their grief. Have them write to firstname.lastname@example.org
or just share this email and have them reply to me directly.