We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled “Am I The A—hole?” coverage and bringing you a special report from the Parenting subreddit. One mom confided in the internet, saying her spouse thinks it’s “damaging” for their 3-year-old to see her cry. Um, what?!
“My spouse insists it’s bad for our toddler to see me cry, so they will often take the toddler out of the house and leave me alone,” she wrote in her original post on Thursday. “What I would prefer is for our toddler to see [my spouse] comforting me, but my spouse thinks that I should be able to always comfort myself.”
Of course, OP can and does end up comforting herself because her husband (OP genders him later in the comments) flies the coop and takes the child with him whenever the tears begin to fall.
“I’m also not a wailer or a big bawler so I’m not a loud cryer (loud noises are scary for a toddler I get that),” she wrote. “But it’s usually me just sad about something. I’ll just say that it’s tough being a parent without either of your parents and I definitely don’t have enough support, let alone a village.”
It absolutely is! And honestly, OP shouldn’t have to preface why she’s crying. She should not be shamed for crying even if it’s for something as simple as a heartwarming commercial (guilty!).
“Anyway, what’s your take on crying in front of the kids? How do you handle it?”
Ok, OP may not be asking this, but let us just say her husband is being a bit of an a—hole! And Redditors are totally backing this up.
Need More Info?
If you, like some Redditors, feel like you need more context for why this woman was crying and how often it happens, she gave an update in the comments. No, she does not cry all the time, she said. But she conceded that she is “an emotional person” and shared that she has been in therapy for years because of that and “just life.”
“Today I was frustrated because my toddler is going through a phase of completely refusing to cooperate for diaper/clothing changes,” she said. “And today it was the second uncooperative poopy diaper and they also ripped my glasses off and threw them. Then they refused to put their pants back on 😅 so yeah. Mama was frustrated.”
Oof. Again, we shouldn’t have to know why mom was crying, but we can totally see how frustrating that is. And sometimes you just need to let it out.
“Today I was silently crying on the big chair in the living room and yes, [my daughter] noticed,” she continued. “My partner (instead of offering comfort) actually said some rather hurtful things after seeing me cry today.”
What Is This Kid Learning?
This dad is teaching his daughter that it’s not ok to feel sad. And what he’s not teaching her is how to handle any emotions that stray from being perfectly happiness.
“As a boy, [people told me to] just get back on the horse, walk it off, and quit complaining,” one Redditor shared. “It’s taken me a LONG time to accept my emotions as valid. I’m entitled to how I feel. Let your kids see you cry. Let them see you have emotions and see how you handle them.”
“Your kid learns how to cope with their emotions by you showing them that A) It’s okay to feel, B) I can do something to help myself feel better, and C) Feelings pass and are temporary,” another said
“In what major way is seeing an adult crying that much different than seeing another child crying?” one person asked. “Adults and children have emotions and children should see adults have emotions. Making sure that we model healthy behavior is important. Crying in itself is not unhealthy.”
Be A Role Model
Instead of shielding his daughter from sadness, Dad should take this as an opportunity to show her how to be compassionate. We wish — just like OP does — that he had taken a moment to comfort his wife.
“I do think kids need to see the parents resolve differences and comfort each other,” one Redditor wrote. “Because how else are they going to learn that’s what you do with a spouse if they don’t see it modeled?”
And based on one user’s story, they learn quicker than you might think.
“One of the best ‘I’m a good parent!’ moments was my toddler (14 now) finding me crying and climbing into my lap to give hugs and saying, ‘OK Daddy,'” he wrote. “I don’t even remember why I was crying that day, but I do remember them giving me a new reason to cry. (Sad tears to happy tears!)”
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