As soon as a child is born, our lives change in so many ways. In most cases, our life becomes centered around the newborn baby. When raising healthy children, it becomes our top priority to ensure that they are raised with the maximum care, support, and facilities that we could possibly provide them. When raising a healthy child, it is not enough just to raise a physically healthy child, but we should also think about ways to make the child emotionally healthy as well.
The way a child behaves today has changed quite a bit since our childhood days. Changes in our society also influence the way a child is brought up today. We have more concerns about our children than what our parents did when we were growing up because of our busy lifestyles and parents today often find it difficult to spend quality time with their children. There is also a growing influence of electronic media on a child’s mental and emotional development that often tends to have negative impacts on children.
We are going to compile here some techniques of raising emotionally healthy kids, which are commonly believed by child psychologists, experts, and scientists around the world. These tips will help you raise emotionally healthy and intelligent children. They are also easy to follow, and you can start seeing changes in your children right away.
Children today tend to be more emotional. They might get upset to draw the attention of their parents or they may express their frustration and disappointment in an aggressive manner. Just being understanding can often help them to let go of their anger and troubling emotions. Your child wants you to see things his way. He may have to do things as you tell him to but he’s entitled to his own perspective. Lynne Namka, Ed. D writes in her article titled: The Dynamics of Anger in Children that “Expression of hostility without problem-solving creates more hostility for the child and ends up with peer rejection.”If your child seems to get unexpectedly out of control of the situation, remember that we all have emotions stored up that we let ourselves experience.
“Feeling understood triggers soothing biochemicals; that neural pathway you’re strengthening each time he feels soothed is what he’ll use to soothe himself as he gets older.” –Dr. Laura Markham
2. Listen to your child’s feelings
Often your child will feel the need to be heard, so listen to your child when he or she is expressing feelings. It does not matter how old your child is, you still need to listen to her feelings when a child expresses them. Once your child feels that his or her feelings have been expressed, your child will let them go and get on with her life. Listening to your child’s feelings will help you bond with your child emotionally. Your child will also become more affectionate and cooperative once he or she has a chance to let the feelings out. Your child needs to know that you’re fully present and listening. Put your child at ease and assure him or her that it’s safe to let the feelings out, by saying things like “everybody feels down sometimes, it is OK, I’m here just tell me about it.” Or similar things to let their feelings wash over and out, leaving them relaxed and cooperative. Repressed emotions are not healthy for anybody. We need to let our emotions move through us, and a child will learn to do that from you if you let her, at an early age.
3. Don’t ignore the signs of a struggling child
You might get early signs of an emotionally struggling child. If a teacher tells you that your child has trouble getting along with other kids in the class, don’t shrug it off. It could be an early sign of a behavioral disorder that could develop into a more serious behavioral disorder later on in life. Another sign could be how your child uses video games or food. If your kid has an addiction to video games or food beyond normal levels, it could be an indication that your child is trying to use these to avoid pain. If you don’t address these matters without delay, it may lead to obesity or more abnormal behavior.
Shy and socially awkward kids have a greater chance of being addicted to food or video games as a way of escaping reality and troubles in their lives. Food and video game addictions in children should be treated in a similar way as you would treat any other addiction. Encourage social activities and outdoor games instead of computers or video games.
Try playing competitive games that encourage physical activities. If your child is dealing with some big feelings that he or she doesn’t know how to deal with, step in and help him work through his feelings. Kids feel big feelings on a regular basis. They feel angry, frustrated, pushed around, ignored, powerless, sad, frightened, jealous, and so on. Emotionally healthy kids learn to process these feelings and play. You can help your child to play out these big feelings and your little ones will learn to grow up emotionally healthy.
4. Teach problem-solving skills
Emotions are messages sent by our brains to help us adjust to our surroundings accordingly. Children need to learn how to live through these emotions and deal with problems and stress. They will need your support to feel these emotions. Teach them to tolerate emotions without acting upon them. Once they have a strong grip on their emotions, they will be able to solve problems on their own. Start teaching your children problem-solving skills from an early age, and work with them until they are teenagers. Most importantly, get involved with their problems as much as possible. They will learn how to face problems and make healthy decisions on their own, later in life.
We as adults, go through this process without even thinking about it. Your child, however, may need “Mommy.” if a child lacks problem-solving skills, he or she may avoid doing anything. Teach them to brainstorm, and look for an answer. And then they can pick the best possible solution on their own.
“You help foster problem solving not so much by providing special materials or specific activities but by having a responsive, accepting attitude.” – (How You Can Help Children Solve Problems | Scholastic.com)
5. Become a role model
Children are not born with any social skills and are eager to imitate their parents. You are your child’s first teacher and role model. They learn from imitating you. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.”A lot of their behavior is developed and influenced by the way they behave. They learn from how you behave with others, and how you behave with them. This gives you a great opportunity to mold your kids’ behavior when you are interacting with others, or with your partner. They can easily pick up socially accepted norms and politeness such as saying “thank you” and “please” if they see you doing it. You can put that to practice in everyday life. So when you ask your kids to stop playing and join you for dinner, you need to ask them politely by saying “would you please stop playing and come to dinner?”
On the other hand, if you tell them that yelling and hitting people is wrong and then punish them for misbehavior with yelling and corporal punishment, they will get confused. So, setting rules, sticking to them, and staying consistent in your behavior is also important part of parenting.
Emotional coaching is one of the most important aspects of parenting. Today, a large number of children and young adults suffer from emotional disorders due to faults in parenting and our surrounding influences. A study shows that about 17-22 percent of children and young adults under the age of 18 suffer from some sort of emotional or mental disorder (The Dynamics of Anger in Children – article by Dr. Lynne Namka).
Emotion-coaching is the key to raising happy, resilient, and well-adjusted kids. The very first lesson that children learn is from their parents, and they can grow up to be healthy and strong adults only when you make sure that they are healthy, not only physically but also emotionally. In today’s world, you have a greater role to play as a parent and it is your responsibility as a parent to prepare your kids to go out there in the world for the future.
We will be giving you tips on parenting periodically in our blogs, so please keep reading them. We’d also appreciate it if you could put down a few words below in the comment box, and don’t forget to share.
Source: Balanced Life Team