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Putting on happy face for kids can cost parents dearly


Washington: It’s always important to be a positive role model for your children and now, a new study has revealed the emotional cost for parents who put on a happy face.

The University of Toronto research suggests that parents’ attempts to suppress negative and amplify positive emotions during child care can detract from their well-being and high-quality parent-child bonds.

In two studies, one experimental and the other a 10-day daily experience study, the scientists examined how parental negative emotion suppression and positive emotion amplification may shape parents’ personal and relationship well-being.

In the studies parents reported experiencing lower authenticity, emotional well-being, relationship quality, and responsiveness to their children’s needs when they suppressed negative emotions and amplified positive emotions when providing care to their children.

Lead author Bonnie Le said that by examining the regulation of positive and negative emotions in tandem, the results can shed light on the unique effects of using each strategy.

In the first experiment with 162 parents that focused on recalling past care giving experiences before answering a series of questions, the researchers found various emotional costs for the parents.

Co-author Dr. Emily Impett for the average parent the findings suggest when they attempt to hide their negative emotion expression and over-express their positive emotions with their children, it actually comes at a cost: doing so may lead parents to feel worse themselves.

The authors acknowledge that while parents may experience costs from engaging in these emotion regulation strategies, it will be important to examine whether children may actually benefit from their parents efforts to hide potentially hurtful emotions and overexpress positive emotions.

The study appears in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (ANI)

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