Emotional health for kids is so important these days. With jam packed schedules, too much screen time, and absent parents who are screen addicted, it’s more important now than ever.
As mothers we are absolutely going to make mistakes. Most of those mistakes won’t scar our children for life or give them psychological issues that prevent them from coping as a normal adult.
However, there are some things that are so detrimental to a young child’s development that, if done or left undone, will most definitely incapacitate.
If you are out of depth with your children’s emotional struggles, talk to someone
This is true for yourself and for your children. I cannot emphasize enough that “sleeping on” an issue or thinking “time will heal” does not work.
Sleeping on something only means your child will file it away in their brain unprocessed and wake up trying to ignore it.
Thinking time will heal means they pour the pain and confusion into their emotional basement. It is not healed, it is buried. Do not, under any circumstances, let a major trauma/struggle/mental issue with your child go unchecked.
If you know about it and are unable to help your child move past it, go see someone.
Help your child deal with repressed emotions
Everyone has an emotional basement. It is where emotions that we don’t quite know what to do with are placed. Emotional responses are based on both reality and perception of reality.
Emotions that are difficult to process, confusing or traumatic for children will get stored in the emotional basement if they are not helped to work through them. If emotions continue to go unprocessed they will begin to pile up.
How the emotional basement works
They’ll pile up until the junk has filled the basement and is coming out the doors and windows. An adult with a full emotional basement is one who, at the slightest provocation, unleashes strong pent-up emotional angst. “She always overreacts,” you think.
That’s because emotionally she’s not only responding to the current situation but to multitudes of situations previously unprocessed.
If your child starts to ignore things that should hurt, refuses to talk about their feelings or seems unusually distant and aloof you need to start exploring their emotional basement.
Don’t let them shove and shove and shove and shove out of sight until they explode with no warning.
Emotions are a H U G E part of a young child’s life. These “I Am Feeling” cards will reduce tantrums, meltdowns, and help your little one learn emotional awareness.Learn More
Even if you are a perfect parent…
Even if you are the perfect specimen of a mother your child may end up needing counseling. Why? Because in this world they will find trouble and there is no getting around it.
You can do everything absolutely right and trauma, tragedy or heartbreak can still happen to your children. In fact, you should count on it.
As mothers we want to do the very best we can, pray God takes up the slack, and then train our children to do their part.
Stop caring what others think
I’m not sure when I really stopped caring what others thought, maybe sometime after college? Point is, being able to truly say that you are okay with who you are and not worrying about what others think is one of the single most influential things you can do for your mental health.
No more stress about keeping up with the Joneses or striving to seem cool or accepted. There are women I know who are desperate in their current situation and yet they don’t want to set foot in a counselor’s office. Why? Is admitting you need to talk to someone failure?
It is not. Is it better to keep stuffing it in the emotional basement and pretend to be something you’re not? It isn’t. That is neither emotionally mature or healthy.
If your child is exhibiting behaviors that worry you, talk to someone. If your child is asking questions that scare you and you don’t have answers to, talk to someone. If you are on the verge of a stress breakdown, talk to someone. Grow up and stop caring if someone else sees your car in the parking lot.
Get over yourself and make decisions for the good of you and your family without worrying that Mrs. So and So down the street will say you are crazy. Let her talk. She’s probably downing pills to make it through the day too.