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Research by Sara Waters of Washington State University shows that when parents try to pretend like life is fine in front of their children when it's not has negative consequences. Children can still sense the anxiety of their parents and have stress responses even when the parents are hiding the truth.

This study shows that kids respond much better when their feelings are addressed and validated. This shows that just telling them that things will be fine is not effective. Sitting with them and letting them go through their emotions is better.


Key Takeaways:

  • Children are capable of detecting when their parents are suppressing anxiety.

  • Research suggests that kids are comforted by having their feelings honored.

  • Trying to fool children into thinking everything is fine is a mistake.


"New research (Waters et al., 2020) suggests that overtly suppressing parental emotions in an attempt to protect children from emotional distress may backfire."


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