Thursday, June 21, 2007

Children, Emotions and Self-Esteem

Hopefully it is true to say that all good-enough parents are keen to help their children develop with a healthy emotional balance and a good self-esteem.

If you're one of these parents, it is definitely worth spending some time learning a little about HOW to help children develop in these positive ways. It's NOT about what school they go to, or about giving them more material things than you had when you were a kid.

It's much more fundamental than that. It's about how you communicate with your children on a day to day basis. How you expressly teach them that it is OK to feel ALL kinds of emotions. How you encourage them to allow both positive and negative feelings to come and go without trying to suppress them.

It's easy for a child to misunderstand. Imagine a small child having a temper tantrum. If we tell him it's not acceptable to hit people or to break things, he is likely to interpret this as it's not OK to FEEL anger. Of course it is OK to feel anger. He just needs to learn to express it appropriately rather than violently.

In extreme circumstances, if children feel that it is not OK to express certain emotions, such as anger or sadness, then the psychological effect is that they "split off" the part of them inside that holds those emotions. This is not a healthy emotional thing and can lead to low self esteem.

Happy parenting,


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