New research has established that parents can transmit suppressed feelings of stress to their children. This is likely to happen during this time when people are observing the stay-at-home measure aimed at curbing the COVID -19 spread.
The research study conducted on 107 parents, half of whom were fathers. Each parent and child was asked to write down five topics that caused conflict between them. The parents were then subjected to a stressful activity. Half of these parents were asked to suppress their emotions and upon interacting with their children. The study showed that suppressing stress made the children change their behavior to match their parents’ which made them less warm and engaged with each other.
It makes sense for a parent to hide their stresses, but the kids very quickly changed their behavior to match the parent. For mothers asked to suppress their emotions, their children showed more signs of stress, unlike the fathers. It was later established that fathers who didn’t transmit their suppressed stress was because, often, fathers tend to suppress their emotions around their children more than mothers do.
During this pandemic, parents may feel out of control and impulsively reassure their children that everything is ok. Acknowledging honest feelings offers more comfort to children than dismissing them, according to research. When children express their frustrations, they should be given a chance to regulate their emotions on their own but not rushing to fix every one of the frustrations.
This research encourages parents to honor their feelings and their children’s feeling, to have courage in knowing that kids will work through their emotions