"I don't want to cry in front of my kids"
"I don't want my kids to see me cry"
"I don't want to scare my kids if I am crying"
These are things that I am hearing from many parents. Do you want to know what I tell every single parent???
It's OK to cry in front of your kids. But explain to them why you are crying (in an age appropriate way). Crying is a release, and it makes you feel better; so don't hold it in.
Right now there is a lot to cry about! Isolation creates a deep rooted feeling of being alone. Children are not in their normal routines, which causes them to have behaviours; and after a month of this, they may be bouncing off of the walls. This can cause parents frustration, and let's be honest! Our fuse is short. This alone can cause many parents to cry, and that's OK! If you don't cry, you will release the emotion in other ways---most often anger.
Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. It is natural. And it is important that we role model to our kids that you don't need to be strong at all times. This teaches our kids to process their emotions, instead of holding their feelings in. By crying in front of them, it teaches them many things!
My favourite way to explain to kids about how crying helps is below:
Tears are like magic!!! When you cry, you feel better. If you fall on the ground and hit your knee, you cry. And that's OK! And when you cry, do you feel better? (This helps give them a relatable example of how crying helps) They say Yes (at least 99% of the time).
By providing them an example of when they may cry, and how it makes them feel after, it teaches them to recognize their feelings. Being able to identify feelings is not a natural thing despite what people may think; it really is a skill.
It is also important to tell your kids why you are crying (when appropriate). It can be especially beneficial if they are the ones who are causing the frustration that leads to the tears, as it can teach them that their actions impact other people; even their parents.
Parents, now is the time to give yourself grace, and give children grace. We ALL have less patience for one another (yes, even kids) through this time. Remember to recognize your feelings, communicate them productively, and process them. You will feel a lot better when you do!