There are few things as stressful as preparing our children emotionally to deal with what their future will bring. From potential bullying at school, to love and heartbreak, to competition around school admission… there are so many potentially difficult emotions in their future.
With this in mind, here are five things, according to Jamie Edelbrock, author of Tangled Up, parents can help pack in their child’s emotional suitcase to help prepare them for the journey ahead.
YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL SUITCASE:
“Unconditional love is love without limitations or conditions. Unconditionally loving your child means you accept them for who they are, as they are, with no strings attached. This instills belonging and acceptance and teaches them they are good enough, just as they are. Studies show that unconditional love is crucial for healthy physical and emotional development. In fact, children that receive unconditional love from their caregivers have stronger self-esteem and greater stress resilience.”
A healthy relationship with you
“A healthy parent-child relationship is built by spending quality time together, communicating well, and a gentle parenting approach. It promotes healthy emotional, cognitive, motivational, and social skills in children. Children that have healthy relationships with their caregivers also develop strong problem-solving skills, and all are critical for developing healthy future relationships.”
To be valued
“When children feel valued by their parents, they gain confidence and trust, not only with themselves but also with their parents. Being honest, positive, and fair are all ways to help a child feel valued. As a result, the child will feel comfortable coming to their caregiver when they need help or have questions.”
“Teaching kids to be selfless helps them, gives them a sense of purpose, and helps them connect with others. It also helps children act from their heart instead of their ego. Leading by example and serving others in the community together is a great way to instill selflessness in your child.”
“When children feel secure, they feel comfortable playing, exploring, and trying new things. Research shows that those who feel insecure are prone to anxiety and have problems building and maintaining peer relationships. Routines and consistency, as well as giving them your time and affection, are excellent ways to make your child feel safe.
Setting up children for success in life is certainly a priority for every parent. But don’t forget there are multiple aspects to setting them up for success, a big one of which is emotional. Just like a cross-country road trip where you might encounter hot weather, snowy weather, and stormy weather in the span of a few days, you can help pack your child’s suitcase to handle the emotional elements, speed bumps, and potholes they will undoubtedly encounter along the way.”