When is it OK to cry in front of your child?

This mum's done it a bit more than usual lately – and wonders what impact it's having on her daughter

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First things first, I’ve not been a crier for years. Not since those hormonal teenage times when pretty much anything would get me leaking like a busted watering can.

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But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself welling up a fair bit more than usual – for a variety of reasons. My mum’s been ill and, at one point – when we thought it might be terminal – I  cried.

Then, there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve found myself in tears over arguments with my hubby (not big fights as such; just bust-ups that have caused me sobs of frustration).

And, finally, I had a really bad bout of flu some days ago which left me feeling so, soooo unwell and so unable to handle anything that I cried purely for myself and the pain I was in.

So, it’s really been a bit of a teary rollercoaster over the past few weeks. But here’s the thing: my 5-year-old daughter Bodhi Rae saw my distress each time – and I don’t feel great about that.

At the grand old age of 30-something, I still remember my own mum crying when I was little, and I can recall just how I felt as a 4-year-old watching her.

The main ‘crying’ memory I have is seeing her dragging an iron across one of my father’s shirts with tears rolling down her face. 

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I asked what was wrong – I can’t remember what she said – but I know she quickly called to one of my older siblings and asked them to take me into another room and play.

The point is, that moment’s stayed with me all these years later because it had such an impact on me at the time. I remember the feeling of helplessness I had – and it was horrible.

I guess, in one sense, the reason you’re crying is quite critical: when Bodhi Rae saw me cry when my mum was ill, I was able to explain that I was sad because Grandma was so poorly. That was something she could grasp.

But crying because you’re ill seems a tad childish (maybe I need to get over that; I was just in a really bad way) and I certainly don’t want to tell her I was crying because Mummy and Daddy had a fight.

So, in instances where you’re not comfortable telling your child why you’re crying, is it best to hide away until the tears have dried?

What do you think?

Have you cried in front of your kids? Do you think it’s good for them to see you when you’re sad as well as when you’re happy? Or should they be protected from that until they’re older?

Please do tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook. We’d love to hear what you think.

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