It is difficult to gauge one’s level of emotional health when most of us don’t even know what emotional health is. My intention is to show you how to know if your child is emotionally healthy, to explain what causes a child to be unhealthy emotionally and what you can do about it when they are not. We know our child is emotionally healthy by:
- The glow we see on their faces
- The happiness and laughter they exude
- The clarity in their eyes
- The comfort they have in their own skin
- Their willingness to be cooperative, participatory and help others
- Their ability to give themselves attention and enjoy being independent
- Their desire and ability to take in new circumstances, information and places
- Their ability to speak their mind
- Their healthy ambition and accomplishing of goals
- Their favourable relationships with others
- Their love for themselves and for life itself
What Causes Our Child to be Emotionally Unhealthy?
The first question we need to ask ourselves when our child is not emotionally healthy is “Which of my child’s needs are not being met?” The second question we need to ask ourselves is “Why have my child’s needs not been met?” Of course, there are hundreds of reasons why a child’s needs may not have been met. We might not be providing them with their love language (see prior post – Meredith Deasley – Kids Coaching Connection Coach). Often we are either modeling the way we were parented or we are suffering ourselves or both. The reasons are endless.
A Powerful Step to Improving Our Child’s Emotional Health
Even though we make countless sacrifices for our child, it can be painful when we look back into our past and see that we didn’t meet some of our child’s needs. It is important to realize that we did the best that we could with what we were going through and our level of awareness at the time. One of the most powerful steps to improving our child’s emotional health is to apologize and have a healthy discussion with them. By apologizing to our child, we:
- Show our child how much they matter
- Teach them to trust their feelings; if they thought we were treating them unfairly, our apology shows them that they were right to feel that way
- Teach our child that even though we make mistakes, we are willing to take responsibility for the challenges we cause and this, in turn, teaches our child to do the same
- Show our child our strength, which then helps them rely on us more, something they should feel comfortable doing (to an extent)
- Are operating from our heart and showing our child what loving behaviour is
- Strengthen our own healing by taking responsibility, making amends and forgiving ourselves and our child
We apologize by remembering or imagining the words we longed to hear from our own parents or someone else that hurt us. We might explain to our child how we were treated as children or what part of us was hurting to make us treat them the way we did or render us incapable of meeting their needs. We might come up with a solution or game plan together for handling future scenarios. It is paramount that we actually say the words “I’m sorry” and tell our child we love them. And the more our child feels our love, the more love they will have for themselves and the healthier they will be emotionally.
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Until next time,