Yesterday I had a really terrible day at work and when I went to pick up my 5-year-old daughter from school she was so excited to see me she came running with a huge smile and open arms. I wanted to just forget about my day and be happy with her but I really had to fight to hold back the tears. I tried but couldn’t hide the sadness from my face and she immediately picked up on this – she asked me “Mommy, are you ok?” and I thought for a moment and I said “Of course honey, I’m fine.”. I wasn’t quite sure what to tell her because I don’t want to burden her with my own negative feelings but I’m not sure I should lie to her either. Do you have any advice?
Dr. Donna’s Response:
How honest should we be with our children about our own feelings? I understand that you are trying to protect your daughter by not telling her the truth but when you are not truthful by saying you are fine, what ends up resulting is that she is left feeling confused.