Children discover their identities and importance largely from their parents. So, how you raise your kids and interact with them is critical to how they see themselves and how they develop a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. According to Laval psychologists, kids become independent and functional adults when their parents:
- Are nurturing and supportive
- Set reasonable and fair rules
- Provide an environment that encourages free expression of feelings and thoughts
- Encourage problem-solving
Here are some tips that will help you raise children who are emotionally healthy:
- Give your children the freedom to express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Setting rules on what your kids can and cannot say will only cause them to doubt their perceptions and beliefs. Kids are naturally curious about everything, and this tendency should be encouraged rather than hindered.
- Respect your kids in the same way you respect others. Sometimes, we don’t take our kids seriously because we assume they have limited understanding of what’s going on around them. But while this may be true to some extent, we should still make an effort to listen to them when they talk. We don’t have to agree with them all the time. The point is to show them respect so that they will also learn to have respect for their person.
- Allow your kids to express their feelings. The normal reaction for parents when their kids throw a tantrum is to tell (sometimes threaten) them to stop crying. When they raise their voice towards us, we tell them not to. But studies show that allowing kids to express their anger and frustration provides a healthy outlet for them. Just make sure they understand the boundaries of expressing their emotions. For example, it’s okay to feel angry but it’s not okay to hit someone.
- Allow your kids to make decisions that are appropriate for their age. Co-dependency is a common problem in today’s families. If you want your child to grow up to become independent you need to allow them to solve problems on their own. Of course, you also need to determine which issues they can handle by themselves, and which ones would need your help. Children naturally push for independence so you need to nurture this tendency and your purpose should be to guide them in making the right choices. If they make a mistake, don’t cover it up to make them feel better. Kids need to learn from their own mistakes.
- Set reasonable rules and punishments. Having no rules as well as having very harsh rules is destructive for children. Your kids need to be brought up in a fair and predictable environment where they are allowed to make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes. Research shows that physical punishment will cause emotional issues during adulthood. What you need to do instead is to explain the rules to your kids, give them the freedom to question those rules, and then provide good reasons why the rules were imposed in the first place. If they do something wrong, punishments should be reasonable and fair.
- Don’t spoil your children and instead, nurture them. There’s a big difference between spoiling and nurturing kids. Spoiling means showering your children with expensive gifts to show your love and appreciation. Nurturing means showing empathy and affection, and setting aside time to talk to your kids and being there for them, physically. When you nurture your kids, they will grow up to become emotionally stable, confident and loving adults.