Don't Hide Negative Emotions from Your Children

You shouldn't hide negative emotions from your children. Doing so can have a negative impact on their mental health. Keep reading to learn more.
Don't Hide Negative Emotions from Your Children

Last update: 18 September, 2021

As a parent, you may try to hide negative emotions from your children. However, a recent study from the University of Toronto shows that you shouldn’t do that. Do you want to learn why? Keep reading to find out.

First, you should know that good emotional education doesn’t consist of enjoying positive emotions and repressing negative ones. Instead, you should provide your children with the necessary tools to help them identify, manage, and properly channel all of their feelings. To do so, you should lead by example.

Don’t hide negative emotions from your children

Hiding negative emotions from your children is a bad idea. Psychologists Emily Impett and Bonnie Le at the University of Toronto conducted a study that demonstrated this.

Sad mother crying in the car

Even though you have good intentions when doing so and you think that trying to hide negative emotions from your children will protect them, this study shows exactly the opposite.

The psychologists studied and analyzed hundreds of families. They concluded that parents who hide negative emotions like anger, frustration, and resentment face a lot of difficulties. For example, they may experience a significant loss of well-being and a lower quality parent-child relationship. 

But why does that happen? It’s simple! When parents aren’t consistent with their own feelings, they can’t regulate their well-being. That has a direct influence on their attitude when interacting with their children.

As we stated, the study shows that suppressing negative emotions affects your bond with your children. In addition, when parents exaggerate their positive emotions, the effects are just as detrimental. 

Parents should be honest with themselves and their children

Your relationship with your children should be based on trust, love, and communication. And, what better way to demonstrate and improve those aspects of your relationship than by sharing all of your experiences and emotions with your children?

Although it may be difficult, parents need to learn how to be honest with themselves and their children. That’s the only way to encourage the development of your children’s emotional intelligence. 

From the first years of their lives, your little ones need to understand that everything isn’t always happy and joyful. In addition, they should learn that it’s completely normal to feel sad, angry, frustrated, etc. at some point. Those feelings are just part of your life and you need to learn to live with them. 

A sad child lying in bed.

Issues that arise when you hide negative emotions from your children

There are many issues that can arise when you hide negative emotions from your children. Most of these issues will have an effect on your relationship with your kids. However, it can also lead to other types of problems in terms of your child’s development. 

For example, when parents decide to hide their negative emotions, children unconsciously learn to hide their negative emotions as well. Therefore, they won’t talk about them.

In the long run, this suppression of emotions can significantly affect their mental health. That’s because they don’t feel free to express everything they have going on. And, even worse, they may start to think their negative emotions are the enemy and, therefore, feeling those emotions is a bad thing. As a result, they try to avoid them at all costs.

Therefore, as mothers and fathers, we have to demonstrate effective ways for our children to care for their emotional and affective development. If we don’t, we’ll be preventing our children from enjoying and achieving full happiness. That’s demonstrated in the following sentence:

“Happiness isn’t the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.”

So, we need to teach our children not to be afraid of their problems. Instead, they need to acquire the skills and tools necessary to overcome them and deal with them in the best way possible.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.