When parents come home tired or upset from a long day at work, many of them have the reflex of wanting to spare their children the spectacle of their bad mood. But is that really a good idea?

While it is of course not good to yell at them or spend your days arguing in front of them, the results obtained by an American-Canadian team are a warning of the excess of hiding negative emotions from them.

To test the effects of such concealment, the researchers brought together more than 100 parents (father or mother) with their child. They first put the adult under stress, asking him to speak in front of an audience that was giving him negative feedback. Then each parent/child duo worked on building a lego, with a division of tasks that forced them to interact: the child read the plans, while the parent took care of the editing.

The trick was to ask half of the parents to hide the stress, shame or anger they felt as a result of their public speaking. The researchers then found that in this case, both parents and children treat each other less responsive and caring towards each other when assembling the lego. Their moods were also affected.

Sara Waters, who participated in the research, explains that children are very good at detecting the slightest trace of emotion, so it is counterproductive to hide everything from them:

“If they feel that a negative event has occurred, it is confusing for them to see parents behaving normally and pretending nothing.”

For the researcher, it is better to express some negative feelings and show “healthy” ways of managing them, in order to help their emotional learning.

Author

Jim Miller

Jim spent his twenties trying tounderstand how our primitive minds get in the way of self-growth. He has a lot of interesting ideas about human psychology that he doesn't hesitate to share when opportunity presents itself.

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Author

Jim Miller

Jim spent his twenties trying tounderstand how our primitive minds get in the way of self-growth. He has a lot of interesting ideas about human psychology that he doesn't hesitate to share when opportunity presents itself.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to receive the latest articles and exclusive offers on our products directly in your inbox

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