Parental Gems For Healthy Children
Sometimes as parents we so wish there is a book for each child's psychological wellbeing. Parenting at times can be easy and at other times it's like finding our way on the ocean. But if we come back to the basic needs of children it can really help guide us to smoother times.
Sometimes I wish as a parent there was that special book that gave us the answer for each individual child in various situations. We do our best and our parents did thier best. Parenting can be easy sailing or like a huge ocean. We are learning from our children all the time.
There’s no question that raising a child is an immensely difficult, yet rewarding, undertaking. No parent is perfect, all run short of patience at times, are tired, hormonal or react before thinking and on occasion wish in hindsight they could have handled a particular situation differently. In healthy families, these moments are relatively few and far between and when they occur, parents are able to address and discuss them, even apologise to their children for them. What was a negative event can be used as a mechanism to model positive family dynamics for children.
Without minimising the challenges of parenting, the fundamentals of raising a healthy, confident, well adjusted child are in fact quite straightforward. Here is a simple lovely list I found and use on the psychological and spiritual needs of children.
SIX SEEDS FOR HEALTHY CHILDREN
Children need to know a parent or caretaker is behind them, cheering them on emotionally and believing in their ability to succeed. Children should not be expected to provide similar or reciprocal support to parents, or to be treated as an equal, an adult, or their parent’s closest ally or friend.
RESPECT AND ACCEPTANCE
Children need to know that they have intrinsic worth, that they have the right to occupy physical, mental and emotional space in the universe and that they can expect to be safe, acknowledged and not tread upon.
Children need a sense of agency, of autonomy that instills confidence that they will be heard and therefore that they have some level of control over their environment. Parents who foster agency, voice in children, value their opinions and needs and are able to demonstrate empathy with children’s feelings. They validate; they enter the child’s world, rather than expecting the child to enter theirs.
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND AFFECTION
Children need to know that they’re loved and will be cared for regardless of who they are, what they do, how they behave, dress, what their physical appearance and mental abilities are, or how much others like or love them. They also need affection, including being hugged and held and told they’re loved.
One of the most important seeds for a healthy child is consistency. Children who are parented with consistency learn confidence and security; they feel safe in knowing that there is some order in their world, that commitments are kept and rules followed. What a parent permits on Monday a child shouldn’t then be reprimanded for on Tuesday,Thursday or Sunday, or if a Mother is tired or in a bad mood for example.
Children need to feel safe and secure, that they will be provided for in terms of food, clothing, shelter, emotional support and love. Children develop their sense of security as a result of consistency.
ref: Kimberlee Roth