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: Continue reading
For the past three and a half years, I have been writing and publishing my second book, entitled “The Resourceful Mother’s Secrets to Emotional Health”.
We are not angry people who fight all the time and criticize others; that is not who we are. We are not the people who work ourselves to the bone to prove ourselves to others; that is not who we are. We are not constant complainers who can’t get anything to go the way we want it to in our lives; that is not who we are. We really are just peaceful, loving and happy individuals. Continue reading
The first step in taking responsibility for ourselves and coming to know and love ourselves, is identifying, understanding, feeling and expressing our ‘negative’ emotions; self-esteem is based on the acceptance of all thoughts and feelings as one’s own. If we want our child to take responsibility for themselves and come to know and love themselves, we need to help them identify, understand, feel and express their emotions in the same way that we accomplish this task. In this way, they will learn to see feelings as information. As we learn to balance our own emotions, we are better able to show our child how to balance their emotions. It is through the sharing of emotions that we build our connection with our child and genuinely come to know them.
There comes a time in every person’s life when we need to make a decision – a decision to stand up for who we are; a decision to stand up and say what we believe in; a decision to expose secrets about ourselves that we have kept hidden; a decision to speak our truth. That time has come for me.
Many of you know that my thyroid has not worked properly for over a decade. It’s not a horrible situation and I take the lowest possible dose of natural thyroid but as long as I have had that imbalance, I have known that I have needed to speak my truth – there is always an emotional connection to our physical challenges. Please visit these prior blog posts on the subject; The Emotional Connection to Physical Illness and Emotional Causes of Physical Ailments.
Here are some of the causes of stress, the impact of stress on the body, how to know if your child is stressed and a few unique ideas for combating stress. Only you, the parent, can help your child combat their stress.
Some of the Causes of Stress
Children certainly feel stress and anxiety. Many children are actually more sensitive to things being out of balance than are adults. Over-scheduling, working parents, social media and peer pressure, combined with a general lack of exercise are only some of the causes of this stress. High consumption of white sugar, white flour products and other refined foods also stress the body. If your child is eating foods to which they are sensitive, this also increases the stress levels in their body.
Not only do children often look like their parents, they often end up being like their parents. We can literally view our children as hand mirrors that reflect not only the messages and cues they receive from us but also, our thoughts and actions.
If we are still wounded (incomplete or hurt) from our childhood, we will wound our child, usually without being conscious of it. If we were not accepted by our parents for who we are, we, in turn, might not accept or value our child for who they are. If we are worried about being separated from our child, bedtime might be a nightly battleground for us or our child might be worried about starting school and leaving us. If we are frequently angry, we might teach our child to be angry. If we have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for our child and allow our mind to work overtime, our child might be busy, restless or unable to fall asleep quickly or sleep soundly. Unfortunately, whatever we have not dealt with from our past, we pass onto our children.
Whatever character trait we don’t like in our child usually mirrors something we don’t like in ourselves. Each time a mother sees her daughter lazing about the house, she finds herself getting really angry. Telling her daughter that she is lazy is not going to incite a work ethic in her; in fact it will accomplish the exact opposite and the daughter will only resent her mother for not seeing the beauty inside her. When the mother delves into her deeper feelings about this, she realizes that she has a tendency to be lazy and has set this example for her daughter. The mother has a choice as to whether she accepts her laziness and thereby accepts that aspect of herself or whether she takes steps to change that aspect of herself so that her daughter doesn’t adopt this trait for life. There are positive aspects of each seemingly negative trait. The mother may come to the realization that her laziness is a good thing because relaxing in our society is under-rated! As long as we are accomplishing things at other times of the day, being lazy for a few hours a day can be just what the body and mind require. When we become less critical of ourselves, we become more supportive of our children. But if this mother feels that her laziness is too much for her liking, she may decide to start living her life in a way in which she could never be described as lazy and will get one step closer to becoming the energetic, goal-achieving person she wants to become.
One of the biggest tasks in parenting is seeing things from a perspective that does not necessarily come easily to us. If we can look at each challenge with our child as an opportunity to understand ourselves more than ever before and as potential for further growth, this helps us ease up on our children and prevents us from seeing things as “wrong.” In fact, this is how we convert our “problem child” into our teacher!
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Until next time,
Far too large of a percentage of parents report not enjoying the job of parenting. It is very difficult to find pleasure in parenting when our focus is on controlling our child and forcing them to obey the rules all the time. When we are rigid and tense, our children feel unloved and become loaded with self-blame. Their need to be accepted as they are goes unmet. When our children live under the threat of criticism or punishment, their need to feel safe is not met. When we open ourselves up to the possibilities of our relationship, trust our child and talk with our child not at them, our parenting experience blooms. Cooperation from our child is fool proof and everyone’s needs are met.
I was teaching pediatric nutrition at CSNN and one of my students shared an incredible story with our class about helping a girl with Autism. It involved vitamin-infused popsicles. I asked him to share his story with you.
My name is Pedi Mirdamadi. One of my clients is an 11 year old autistic girl. Initially, what started off as an effort to help her lose weight has progressed into a loving bond and special relationship that I truly cherish. Seeing this child on a regular basis allows me to see the effects of food on her behaviour. Some days she is engaged with me the entire time and we can carry on a conversation. Other days, she gets off track quite often. I can see that what she eats is clearly affecting her behaviour; clear indications of food allergies and sensitivities.
I have always told you how special our children are. I have always suggested that we tell our children how special they are and treat them as such. I have always talked about the importance of explaining to our children that we love them no matter what they do, even if they misbehave or make a wrong decision. Not long ago, there was a commencement speech that went viral. An English teacher, David McCullough Jr. told a Boston graduation class, over and over, that they were not special. And I believe he made a number of valid points. If you haven’t already heard this speech, I have included it here. For those of you receiving this blog post via email, please click here.
I used to smoke cigarettes in my twenties. Sometimes people would tell me that I didn’t look like a smoker (hmmm what does a smoker look like?) and they would ask me why I smoked. I told them that I was rebelling from my childhood and that I would stop smoking, as soon as I became pregnant, believing that it would be entirely easy for me to do so. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, which luckily was in the first few weeks of my pregnancy, I quit smoking (too bad it didn’t happen before I became pregnant!). I never desired a cigarette again. Who quits smoking without ever desiring to smoke again? Only a person that had unknowingly used the power of an affirmation for over a decade and came to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that they would accomplish that task, no problem. This also showed me that whatever we believe and say, in our heads or out loud, is really an affirmation.