If you were to ask any parent what they’d most like for their child, you’re likely to get two responses: health and happiness. Indeed, regardless of whether you want your child to become a doctor, a lawyer, or a performer, the likelihood is that you only ever want them to be happy. The issue of emotions is one that you’re likely to greet with trepidation, particularly when it becomes apparent that your child has little control, and a whole heap of frustration waiting to be unleashed. As a parent, your child’s emotional health is your responsibility. Great news; with your guidance, your child will soon come to interpret how they are feeling, and come to understand the rollercoaster that is life.
How can you raise an emotionally healthy child?
Recognize your own emotions
Children are naturally curious, constantly looking for answers to questions, and searching for clues on how they might think and behave; they pick up many of their cues, including emotional responses and social behavior, from us. How can we expect to raise emotionally healthy children if we’re not honest with ourselves first? Children are more astute than we give them credit for, and will immediately recognize if you’re upset or anxious. You must recognize that you’re not protecting your child by denying the existence of your own emotions. Indeed, it’s impossible to protect your child from every thought, word, and feeling that they’re likely to experience throughout infancy and adulthood. It is your job to nurture your child through these situations, and to ensure that they’re able to navigate pitfalls and positives with increasing confidence and self-assurance.
Validate your child’s emotional responses
It can be incredibly easy to dismiss a child’s emotional response to certain situations or circumstances, particularly if you feel that they’re overreacting or being silly about something; how many times have you brushed your child’s worries aside, and told them to “forget about it”? Such responses are only natural, but could be causing your child to question how they are feeling – and whether such a response is right or not. Children like to feel validated, and thrive on the support and acknowledgment of a parent, guardian, or loved one. Dismissing seemingly insignificant worries now may risk your child losing confidence later on in life; at this age, even the small things seem big, and they might be less likely to share feelings and thoughts when they really do matter.
Work through your child’s emotions together
Don’t be tempted to judge emotions as good or bad, but recognize where your child’s responses might be coming from. Only then will you be able to help your child understand why they have reacted in a certain way. Ask why your child has displayed a particular emotion, and help them to realize that it might not have been the most appropriate outburst. Similarly, don’t tell your child how they might be feeling; such advice will only lead to confusion and frustration as your child seeks to understand why their way of thinking might be wrong.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
One of the most important aspects of raising an emotionally healthy child is realizing when something’s wrong. Teenagers are renowned for being moody, but most parents are quick to determine when this kind of behavior has become something far more serious. Luckily for parents and their children, there are countless organizations that specialize in offering mental health treatments. Newport Academy is one such organization; it offers vital support to young people and their families, ensuring that mental health issues are tackled in a nurturing environment that benefits the whole family unit. Reading the Newport Academy reviews shows just how valuable its resources are; it’s up to you to identify when they’re needed.
Understand the dangers of social media
If your child is still very young, it can be tempting to dismiss warnings against using social media, particularly if you’ve used apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to little ill effect. By all means embrace your child’s innocence while it remains. However, it is important that you sit up and take note of the negative press that such social media platforms are receiving, as well as the countless studies into their effects on children’s mental health. Our children have never been more under pressure to look or act a certain way as they are now, and the media is playing a huge role in these unhealthy perceptions. Young people are particularly prone to feeling as though they are missing out on opportunities, while the issues of sleep deprivation, cyber-bullying, and distorted body image are rife; the potential for mental health issues stemming from social media is alarming.
The role of a parent is a simultaneously daunting and rewarding one; it can seem, at times, as though you can’t do right for doing wrong. You’ll be pleased to know that many of the choices that you make will come down to common sense, and responses that develop as you get to know your child. With a little love, understanding, and concern, it’s perfectly possible to raise well-rounded, emotionally healthy children.