Parents are often so caught up in the race of providing good education to their children and making them the best in everything, they end up ignoring the emotional needs of a child.
Yes, children too have emotions and need to be taught the proper way to deal with them. Children with a lack of emotional support grow up to become emotionally weak and insecure adults. Hence, it is the sole responsibility of the parents to know how to raise an emotionally healthy happy child.
|Some wise person once said “Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone”|
How to teach kids to process emotions?
We all seek emotional support from our families during difficult times. Similarly, kids too expect the same from their parents. So, the very first step towards raising an emotionally strong child is to teach him/her to process his/her emotions the right way:
1. Let them learn from you:
Remember, you are your kids’ first teacher. Everything they hear and see you doing is what forms an important part of their personality too. If your kids keep seeing you being aggressive all the time and yelling at each other, they too would learn to do the same. So, every time you are angry or sad, try to manage your emotions in a cool way to model your children into learning the same.
2. Talk about feelings:
Take out opportunities to talk about feelings with your children. Ask them about things that make them sad or angry or happy. Then ask what they would do in such a situation. It gives you a great chance to teach them proactive ways of dealing with their emotions.
For. E.g. If they say they feel like hitting someone when they are angry, explain that they do not have the right to hit anybody just because they are angry. They should instead try to calm themselves down and solve the issue in a friendly way.
|Don’t ask you children to get over it, instead help them to grow through it|
3. Avoid punishments:
We often feel that punishments are important to teach kids a valuable lesson. Punishments really used to work well for earlier generations. But today, talking helps more than punishments. Instead, talk to them and logically explain why their behavior was not justified. Punishments will only lead to more misbehavior.
4. Make them feel safe/be their friends:
Your children should feel safe enough to be able to share their emotions with you. Be their friends; accept their feelings and refrain from insulting them in front of others. Thinking my son is such a wimp
or my girl is good for nothing is not going to take you anywhere. Have trust in them. Be their supporters. If you do not support your children, then who would?
How to give emotional support to your child?
Parents often make mistakes while giving emotional support to their children. Given below is a list of Dos and DONTs on how to go about it:
|Give them space to express their emotions. Listen to them empathetically and help them pass through difficult situations.||Don’t pass judgments or insulting comments. It will only make them feel embarrassed to share their emotions.|
|When they cry, lend them a shoulder. Tell them it is okay to cry.||Don’t tell them not to cry and get over it. Don’t tell things like “crying is for the weak ones”.|
|Help them out and show them the way when they are stuck.||Don’t spoon-feed them everything. Let them think and come out of certain situations themselves.|
|Understand that every child is unique. Accept their strengths and weaknesses with an open arm.||Don’t keep trying to correct their personality all the time. Do not compare them with other kids or their friends.|
|Teach them different techniques to handle their emotions like deep breathing, laughing therapy, exercises, etc||Don’t resort to punishments and shaming.|
How to identify if your child is emotionally healthy?
There are certain characteristics of an emotionally healthy child, which will help you identify if your child is emotionally healthy and stable. You can look out for these signs and take appropriate actions when needed.
1. They can identify different emotions:
Emotionally healthy children know to identify their emotions and differentiate between what they are feeling. If you notice that your kids are not being able to express what they are feeling, teach them various techniques to identify and understand their emotions.
2. They can identify others’ emotions:
Besides identifying their own emotions, they very well understand what others are feeling by looking at their expressions/actions or listening to their voices. If they cannot identify others emotions, they will never learn how to behave appropriately in certain situations, which might end up hurting people.
One very important characteristic of an emotionally healthy child is empathy. Just identifying others’ emotions is not enough, children should also be able to feel the sorrow and pain of others to treat them nicely. Only an empathetic child will be able to lend a shoulder and a helping hand to people in distress.
4. They know what triggers their emotions:
If your child is emotionally healthy, he/she would know what kinds of things or situations trigger his/her emotions. As a result, he/she stays away from such situations and is at peace.
Being emotionally healthy is not always about being strong and tough; it is about being able to handle emotions the right way and responding appropriately to certain situations.
How do I toughen up my son?
Most parents make the mistake of asking their sons not to cry like girls and be a tough lad. You cannot make your son tough by asking him not to cry. Crying does not imply weakness. Crying is not gender-oriented. In fact, crying is a healthy way of expressing emotions.
So, next time you see your son crying, ask him the matter and lend a shoulder to him. Listen to his worries and help him to get through the difficult situations.
Does school play any role in a child’s mental strength?
Yes, school too does play a role in building mentally strong children. See to it that the school makes it a point to encourage healthy discussions on emotions in the classroom. Schools also can arrange for separate classes for anger management and other techniques.
But, do not just rely on the schools. A child’s first education starts at home. The parents have the bigger role to play here.
How to handle a child’s aggression?
There is often a certain phase in every child’s life when he/she behaves aggressively. But if your child is still holding onto it for a long time, it needs to be corrected at the earliest. Firstly, try to identify the source of such aggression. What is making your child so angry? It could be because of something at home or school. Identify the source and take actions to rectify it. Try to talk to him/her and find out what is disturbing them.
However, if your child is behaving this way in every situation, then let him/her know straightway that such behavior is not acceptable. Make them practice anger management techniques.
Does the parents’ relationship affect a child’s mental health?
Yes, the relationship of parents always has an impact on a child’s mental health; good or bad. When children see their parents fighting all the time, it has a negative impact on their emotions. They tend to become more insecure, sad, and angry. A good relationship between parents is crucial for a child’s mental health.
However, if your marriage is not working, end things mutually and explain it to your children why this separation was important. It is going to be tough for them, but they will understand it is the best thing to do. Be there for them as their parents.
Is it okay to hit our kids?
Hitting your children is never a good idea. There is nothing in this world that cannot be taught or solved by talking. Kids only see hitting as a means to hurt them. It will only devalue them and ruin your connection. By hitting your child, you can surely stop your child from misbehaving for a little while but he/she would not understand why certain behavior is unacceptable.
Is it okay for a child to see a therapist?
With a little discipline and techniques, it is possible to raise an emotionally healthy child who is capable of handling his/her emotions. But sometimes, there are exceptional cases a therapist needs to intervene. If your child has had any severe emotional trauma, it might be difficult for him/her to come out of it even when you are trying your best. Hence, it is okay to make them see a child therapist. It is perfectly healthy.
But you should not make your child see a therapist for a little inconvenience. Try to solve the same at home.