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genevievejones's avatar

Should you cry in front of your child?

Asked by genevievejones (112points) August 28th, 2008

I had a strange dream last night in which I had a small child in my possession (someone else’s) and I had neglected him by not paying enough attention to the child, so he was crying. And at that moment I got very upset and felt badly for neglecting the child and began to cry myself.
But, then I stopped myself, and was wracked with this strange dream question, that seemed very strong at the time, which was, “Would it be damaging to this child to see me cry in front him? Would he subsequently feel unsafe like the person who should be in charge is no more in control of her feelings than myself… OR, is it good to cry in front of your child so that they know vulnerability is accepted and welcomed in you environment…” Any ways, I woke up this morning and just had to ask (caveat- I don’t have children of my own yet)

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38 Answers

lefteh's avatar

When I was very, very young (pre-kindergarten), I got angry at my mother and said something I shouldn’t have said.
I told her that I hoped that she and my father divorced, and that I would live with my father and never see her again.
She cried that entire night, as I sat in my room. I came out eventually, and I apologized to her. We hugged, and I think the love between us grew. It let me knew that she was human.
Looking back, I think the experience was very beneficial.

Magnus's avatar

Try not to, it might make the child feel guilty.
I’m no psychiatrist, but I was a kid myself.

augustlan's avatar

I cry in front of my children, but for good reasons. I never cry in front of them because I’m depressed or the like (my mom did too much of that while I was growing up), but if there is a legitimate reason to be sad, or angry, I don’t see why you shouldn’t.

wildflower's avatar

One of my earliest memories is of my mum crying. That and her repeated reference to me being her “pick-me-up” has lead to me always putting on a brave face for her and not sharing deep, sometimes painful things, with her.
As an adult, I can see and understand the reason she cried back then, but it doesn’t change the effect it had on me.

I guess my advice would be to appear strong for your child until it’s mature enough to understand why you’re not, when you’re not.

NecroKing's avatar

No you shouldn’t, it makes you look weak, and the child might take advantage of the situation.

JackAdams's avatar

I thought I saw my old man crying, just once.

He said some dust particles had blown into his eyes.

August 28, 2008, 4:53 PM EDT

McBean's avatar

(You’re neglecting your “inner child”, by the way – or so the dream suggests.)

I’ve cried in front of my son when I was sad. We’ve also cried together while watching touching movies (though he pretends that he “just has something in [his] eye”). He recognizes that crying can be a natural reaction to certain emotions and we’ve discussed the fact that some people cry more than others.

Out-of-control sobbing might scare kids (and even adults), but crying – with grief or sadness – can be a way to show a child that dealing with emotional issues is just a part of life.

McBean's avatar

There isn’t any reason why
A man should be ashamed to cry.
My dad and brothers, it appears,
Are very much afraid of tears.
They leave the room when others cry
And when they’re sad they always lie
And tell us that they have pink eye…
Or a 7-minute stye.

NecroKing's avatar

Ah Mcbean you are wise, and hence I call you my Senesha. (mentor)

generalspecific's avatar

that’s a tough question.. all I know is it makes me feel terrible and awkward like the roles are reversed and I never have any idea how to confort her. I don’t think I like it very much at all, even though I know everyone cries.. it was just weird and made me sad.

wundayatta's avatar

When I was seven or eight, I chipped one of my adult teeth by falling face first, on the sidewalk. When I went inside, my Mom looked at me and started crying. Since I didn’t know I’d chipped a tooth, I didn’t know what was wrong, and then she explained. That event stayed with me all my life, and sometimes I think it’s the only time I ever saw my mother crying. Sure, I’ve seen her weeping at funerals, but that’s not the same.

Fast forward four decades. I get a call at five in the morning. It’s my bandleader’s wife, and she said the hospital just called her and said she should get to the hospital immediately because he wasn’t going to last long. It turns out he’d been take to the hospital the night before in an ambulance. I pulled on clothes and got to her and then to the hospital as fast as possible. They put us in the waiting room, and asked us to wait for the doctor. I knew what that meant. The intern came in about ten minutes later, and told us he had passed. He asked us if we wanted to see the body. We went in.

As I went home later, I couldn’t stop crying. I was still crying when I got home, and my kids were getting ready to go to school. They saw me crying in full grief for a while. I was inconsolable. They remember this to this day, I think, and will probably remember it for much of their lives. Occasionally my daughter will ask if I’m going to cry like when my bandleader died (usually when someone else dies).

I think it’s extremely important to model all emotions in front of your kids. If you don’t, you are, I believe, hurting their ability to feel things in the future. It shows them that crying isn’t weakness, but a normal emotion. The ability to feel your emotions is important, and makes you a stronger person, who is able to empathize with others. I want my kids to be able to be full human beings, emotionally, and not be hampered by any messages that it is not ok to feel certain things.

McBean's avatar

@daloon: Wonderful answer.

JackAdams's avatar

@daloon: I agree with McBean. More people should have your attitude.

Your kids are so lucky.

August 28, 2008, 5:17 PM EDT

richardhenry's avatar

@Magnus: I don’t think so. My mum was quite troubled when I was growing up, and it didn’t affect me. It just made me want to help her.

wildflower's avatar

I mostly agree with daloon. I think it is important you show humanity and emotion in front of your kids. I remember the one and only time I saw a tear fall from my dad’s eye was at his brother’s funeral.
I still maintain it is important that kids are not pushed to feel they need to be strong for their parents, like generalspecific says. I wish I didn’t feel the need for a facade around my parents.

wundayatta's avatar

@wildflower: I wish I didn’t feel a need for a facade around my parents, too. There is so much I can’t share with my parents, that it is painful to be around them, sometimes. That’s sad, too, because they won’t be around much longer.

lefteh's avatar

@daloon: where did the Ass World go!?

NecroKing's avatar

I liked that Avatar better! put it back! :)

wundayatta's avatar

If enough people want it, I will, otherwise it will appear randomly, as my mood determines

NecroKing's avatar

Hear! Hear! Three cheers for Daloon!!!!!

augustlan's avatar

I liked it, but you should have whatever avatar you want.

JackAdams's avatar

Speaking of avatars, how does one ENLARGE an avatar, so s/he may view it in a more detailed form?

August 28, 2008, 5:43 PM EDT

wildflower's avatar

I like mood-swings. Moon us when you feel like it, daloon! :)

Dorkgirl's avatar

I have cried in front of my son for a variety of reasons—sadness, feeling hurt, happiness, fear. I would let him know why I was crying and if I was crying because of something he did or said I let him know that too.
I dont’ think I damaged him by being vulnerable in front of him, and I don’t think he “took advantage” of my vulnerability.
What I do know is that he turned into a senstive, caring adult who is not afraid to show his own emotions. @Daloon is right, we need to model emotions for our children so they know it’s okay to cry, to feel sad or be angry, but to help them know how to handle the emotions, too.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I think crying in front of your children shows them you are human and allows them to cry in front of you——this may not be a problem until they are pre-teens. I’m not talking about the big boo-hoo’s, the ugly-cry, but tearing up. Yeah.

I wasn’t allowed to cry as a child, didn’t cry from age 9 to 23——and still find it hard. But I let my kids see me, when I felt sad, telling them it was okay to both feel sad and cry.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

it’s okay to show your soft side. Everyone is entitled to be human.

Bri_L's avatar

I cried when my grandmother died and my son asked why. I told him “I was sad”.

Then I seriously hurt my knee and didn’t cry and he asked why I didn’t cry and I told him “I have no idea”.

Then I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” and cried and he asked why and I said “I was happy”.

He said “How do you know when to cry?” and I told him “you just do what feels right”.

Then he asked “what if Braden (not his friends real name) teases me again” ” I said “go about your business and when your done crying be done. Its as normal as a sneeze or a cough, so act like it.

That is how I dealt with it.

joeysefika's avatar

I remember when my family and I were in the UK, my mum was saying goodbye to my grandmother (her mother) this was the last time we saw her before she had a stroke. My mum was crying and I couldn’t understand why. Then when my Dads, Dad died i saw him cry and it was the most cutting thing i had ever seen. Although this just bought us closer because he asked me to go to the funeral in England.

seVen's avatar

Yes, even Jesus wept when he felt Marys’ and Martha sorrow of their brother Lazarus.

NecroKing's avatar

Where does it say that?

lefteh's avatar

John 11:35?
It’s pretty well know.

NecroKing's avatar

Well I never read that bible.

lefteh's avatar

You don’t have to have read the Bible to know some of the more prominent verses.

NecroKing's avatar

I read my bible.

lefteh's avatar

I don’t understand.

NecroKing's avatar

The unholy bible, the corinthian bible?

wildflower's avatar

is there “smiley” or emoticon to indicate rolling of eyes on this thing?

lefteh's avatar

You could just use – _ – I suppose

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