How do you deal with grief in front of your children? Or do you hide it away?
Do you purposefully hide your pain and sadness, tuck your pain away? Or do you let it all out for your young (or not-so-young) children to see and process along with you?
Is one method the right one? Does it depend on the age and development of your children? Or is it right to be open in front of your kids to show them what you need to do with your grief to own it, live with it, process it, and deal with it?
It doesn’t matter what you lost — it could be big or small, from death (the loss of a person) or the loss of your home or job. It could even include the little losses you experience on the daily, like the loss of your free time or independence. When grief hits, it can come out of nowhere. We react involuntarily with unplanned authenticity. It’s good for your kids to see you be real in those moments.
Nicole admits to being a hypocrite. One minute she tells her kids to “stop crying!” before the first teardrop falls. The next minute, she cries when she can’t find her keys, when the baby is fussy, or if she burns dinner or spills the milk. When her laugh-cry fest finishes, she apologizes profusely for her tears.
If you think that you are “fooling” your kids or pulling the wool over their eyes, Robert reminds us that they are super intelligent and perceptive. Life isn’t clean and simple and if you limit your child’s exposure when things get hard, you do them a serious disservice. In this episode of ‘I Am The Worst Parent Ever’ podcast, he encourages Nicole and others to get comfortable with letting our children (and our partners) “behind the curtain.”
Check out today’s episode and let us know if you have thoughts on our grief conversation. How else do you believe a child will learn how to deal with grief or be there for someone who is struggling, other than witnessing you cry? Grief is absolutely a unique experience for every person. Coping with it as a parent does not mean hiding grief. Of course, we all need to recognize what is appropriate and when we might need an adult shoulder or professional sounding board.
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