6 Answers

I’ve had a very difficult situation to deal with and consequently been suffering some mild depression and anxiety. I’ve tried to hide my emotions from my children but I am scared they will be in some way affected. Has there been any research into this or has anyone experienced similar circumstances?

Posted anonymously, 12th September 2016

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  • Research certainly suggests that children are sensitive to moods almost from birth. That doesn’t mean that they’ll be negatively affected, though.

  • I think young children can pick up on emotions even though they may not know exactly know what it means. In general I don’t believe hiding our emotions for our children is a good thin, expressing our emotion in a balanced way can set a great example to our kids. This doesn’t mean you have to share in detail. For example when my sister had cancer and I feared she would die I cried my eyes out and didn’t hide this for my children who then were 3 and 4. I just explained what upset me so much and why I was crying. Or when I’m worried about something and distracted I say to my kids I’m sorry I’m so distracted I have a lot on my mind. Or mum is a bit sad, can I have a hug.
    With doing so you give the example how important it is to take care for yourself and not to hide and pretend and with that you welcome them to do the same.
    Besides that it’s good to take feelings of depression and anxiety serious and seek professional help.

  • Babies definitely pick up on how you’re feeling. I doubt there could be any long term effects as long as you get some help if you need it. Its probably worth going to see your gp.

  • It can be really scary to think our emotions may negatively impact our child! I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing some tough circumstances. All emotions are part of life so I don’t think our beautiful babies are damaged by exposure to both our ups and downs.
    What matters more is you provide for your little ones needs, the fact you are thinking about how your baby may be effected already speaks volumes into your care for your bub. I think the reason depression can be a worry is when you feel depressed you may not interact with you baby as usual, or be too in their face to compensate. So keep doing what you’re doing, make eye contact with your baby and to try to make faces and noises in interaction with them, even if you don’t feel like it. You can ask family to be aware of doing this too so it’s not all on you! I hope you get better, it’s tiring feeling anxiety/depression. It won’t last forever. Much love

  • I believe they can understand emotions immediately but cant express their understanding or own emotions straight away.

  • I don’t remember when my sons started but my daughter is now 3 1/2 and learning angry face and happy face and showing them to me. My son was about 3 when I went through a stage of depression. He would sit on my lap and tell me it was ok and give me hugs. I think they notice and understand a bit from about 3 but not everything. I took the open and honest approach but simplified it for them. They almost seemed to handle it better than me.

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