Opinion: Oh, for not crying out loud


To cry or not to cry? Or more to the point, to cry or not to cry in front of your children? That is the question that has been receiving quite a bit of attention in our household of late. According to our four kids, Doo and I are relatively good parents, but the one area where we have definitely failed is in the modeling of vulnerability.

It’s not a surprising accusation, really. Doo grew up in a world where men simply didn’t cry, and so he doesn’t. And though I do get emotional, it’s a rarity that very few will even witness. I’m half British and spent a couple of years in the military – stoicism is my thing, at least until I reach the safety of a vacant bathroom or minivan. I’m also terrible when dealing with others who are sharing deep feelings. I either flee or make an inappropriate four-letter-word joke. And god forbid if hugs are called for. Blech.

The problem is that my now young-adult offspring don’t know how to express heartache or sorrow in a healthy way. They’ve never seen it done, not by me or Doo. And they’ve finally called us out on it, elaborating incessantly on this shortcoming over the last month: “We need therapy, Mom!”

OK, Doo and I figured our heirs would seek professional help at some point. They’ve grown up with a left-leaning redheaded mother who suppresses her emotions and a right-leaning bald father who battles ADD. But how to show grief? I didn’t see that one coming.

In answer to my previous question, then, absolutely cry in front of your children!

Peace out.