Your Kids Feel That Stress You're Hiding

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Living that self-quarantined life is submitting to a pressure cooker in the four walls of your own home. It's necessary, but it's a grind, both physical and psychological. Multiply that if you're taking care of kids of any age. Humans weren't made to raise their families in total isolation, and it's no wonder you feel extra-drained on top of all the baseline coronavirus anxiety.


Parents may try to put on a brave face for their children, but that may not help them as much as we'd hope. Psychologists at the University of Washington have just released a study showing how kids can actually exhibit physiological signs of stress when their parents are concealing their own emotions from them. The kids in turn begin mimicking their parents; the study looked at children ages 7 to 11.

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"So if you're stressed and just say, 'Oh, I'm fine', that only makes you less available to your child," said corresponding author Sara Waters. "We found that the kids picked up on that and reciprocated, which becomes a self-fulfilling dynamic."


Beyond the health aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak, 7 in 10 American adults are worried about their finances because of the disease, while more than half say they're not prepared financially to weather the pandemic. Your kids might not understand your money problems, but you can help them model healthy behaviors for coping with their own. "Research shows that it's more comforting for kids to have their feelings honored than just be told 'It's going to be fine,'" Waters said. After all, the research tells us that we're best off when we all feel our feelings to move forward and grow.