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Should Parents Pretend Everything's Hunky-Dory, If It's Not?

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When the world is turned upside down and it feels like the sky is falling, many parents may resort to Pollyannaism or try to sugarcoat a lousy situation in an attempt to protect their kids from life's harsh realities.

New research (Waters et al., 2020) suggests that overtly suppressing parental emotions in an attempt to protect children from emotional distress may backfire. "[Our] findings reveal that parents' emotion regulation efforts impact parent-child stress transmission and compromise interaction quality," the authors said.

These findings were published on April 23 in the Journal of Family Psychology. Sara Waters of Washington State University led this research and is the paper's first author.

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