What do we really want for our children? What I want for mine is for them to be happy, healthy and safe.
As parents we try to protect our children, we don’t want them to suffer, we try to cheer them up when they are sad, tell them not to cry, but really we should be allowing them to express what they are feeling. Emotions are often labelled either positive or negative, but they all serve a purpose, for instance without a degree of stress we would be unable to function, it keeps us safe!
It is when these emotions become too intense that there becomes a problem. We teach kids to read and write but shouldn’t we also be teaching them how to understand and cope with emotions, how to solve problems and how to overcome life’s challenges?
Whether we think so or not, we are role models for our kids and one way they learn about life is by watching us. It is ok for ‘us’ parents to express our feelings, after all ‘underneath our parent skin’ we are (believe it or not) a person with a full range of emotions, thoughts and actions (and we were a person long before we were a parent!) but what great practice to also offer some examples of identifying and dealing with our own emotions. For example, “Mum is feeling a little worried about having to speak in front of lots of people at work today but what I am going to do is take three deep breaths and say to myself I can do this”
We live in a world where ‘failure ‘ is not an option; where on birthdays, siblings also get a present. I remember years ago, my kids primary school not allowing sports days as they didn’t want the kids competing against each other or feel bad for not winning. That is life, we cannot all be good at everything, but we are all good at something and we need to celebrate our child’s strengths, whatever that may be.
It is sad to think so many of today’s children don’t have resilience, don’t know how to cope when there is a problem! Some kids ‘sail through school in very calm seas’, everything going right, getting great marks, being super popular, etc. but then don’t get the first job they apply for and never encountering something not going their way before, simply fall to pieces!
Let’s give our kids the best gift of all- resiliency (the ability to bounce back) Allow them to experience emotions, make mistakes, solve their own problems, all within the safety net of a loving family and school community, so when they grow up and go out into the big wide world and face a challenge, they have the necessary skills to deal with it.