Keep it real! A new study from the University of Toronto found that parents who suppress negative emotions around their children can hurt their own well-being.
“I do think that any person that internalizes an emotion is going to not feel well after doing so, especially if that’s a pattern for them,” Christina Jimenez, licensed family therapist with Doorways in Phoenix, said.
However, Jimenez said parents should not share too much with their kids, or else the child is going to feel responsible for taking care of that parent.
“I think, really, the idea is to find a balance with modeling emotional expression to your child,” she said. “But, at the same time, you’re not putting that emotion on a child where they feel, ‘I need to take care of my mom.’”
Parents need to remember that children generally do not have the developmental maturity to understand the ramifications or can handle a complicated adult situation, she said.
“But also, kids are boundary-less so if you’re being kind of fake to them, they’re going to know it,” she said. “They feel it.”
Parents also need to express themselves, at least to get it out to model it for the kids, but also to maintain sanity, she said.
“There’s this kind of in-between where we’re sharing, about we’re also stating, ‘I have a plan, I’m OK,” she said.