Helping developing children develop healthy emotions

Every parent that I have met, or currently know, has a desire to help their child grow to be happy, healthy and successful. A huge part of ensuring that this happen is understanding how to help our children to grow into strong, independent, emotionally available and balanced human beings.

This can be a challenge, especially because so many of us have had to figure it out on our own. It’s not like our parents meant to not teach us what this looks like, but as humanity evolves, each generation has its own needs. Keeping up to date on what the needs of these new generations are can be challenging and one heck of a daunting task.

Helping your child to develop into the best version of themselves is not about letting them run the show or keeping them under our thumbs as much as it is about letting them make their own mistakes and opening lines of communication to help them understand what making different and, hopefully, better decisions can do for them as they navigate life through childhood, adolescence and then, finally, adulthood.

Here are some tips from Steven Stozny, PhD, author of may books and columns on the subject of compassionate parenting (his tips will be in bold):

  • Listen to your children. Learning how to clearly and effectively communicate our needs, wants, and boundaries can create for a very different experience in every phase of maturation.
  • Let solutions to their problems come from the children. Particularly as children begin to mature, learning to make decisions about how to solve the challenges that they face will be a useful tool. Some will argue that the mind that creates a problem can’t typically fix it, but this is, again, where being able to communicate can help for troubleshooting and problem-solving skills in your child
  • Respond to positive emotions as well as negative. One of the beautiful things about being human is that we have the ability to access a full range of emotions. Every one of them has a purpose and it is important to recognize positive emotions as well as the negative in order to reinforce the full range. Emotions are important, it is what we do with them and how we express them that make them good or bad.
  • Openly express affection to your children and to other adults in the family. Enjoy teaching them about healthy expressions of affection and consent. This goes back to the very root of developing healthy boundaries and, in turn, healthy relationships.
  • Learn from them. The juvenile and adolescent brain works differently than the adult brain because it is still a developing place of wonder and amazement. What can we learn from encouraging child-like curiosity in the lives of our children and , maybe, even ourselves!
  • Discipline does not mean punishment. Discipline teaches us to make our beds and do our laundry. It teaches us work ethic and healthy eating habits. Instilling discipline is not about punishment, it’s about fostering success.

For more information on how to foster resourcefulness, responsibility, respect, impulse control, relationship investment, and optimism, feel free to check out more from Dr Stozny at Psychology today in these two links:

Compassionate Parenting

Do’s and Don’ts of Compassionate Parenting

Be well. Be happy. Be love!

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