These days, it can feel like our most important functions as moms are saying “no”, limiting their daily screen time, getting them to eat veggies, and picking up their Legos. And while these are all par for the “mommy” course, there is one thing that surpasses them all in importance. When you choose to emotionally support your kids with intention, you set the stage for greater joy for everyone. And, in the big picture, those little darlings will remember how they felt more than what you said.
Children who are accepted, heard, and understood are far more likely to love who they are throughout their lives. On the other hand, kids raised in homes without affection and emotional support may deal with more self-image problems. Of course, we can’t always know the best way to deal with and talk to our children, but we can always ask ourselves how we would want to be treated. Here are a few ways you can increase your support and bring more happiness into your home.
Emotionally Support Your Kids #1: Use Quality, Calm Communication
Communicating our feelings without blaming and criticizing others is a skill we want to demonstrate and teach our children. Additionally, reading non-verbal cues like body language, facial expression, and other clues helps us to detect emotions. Observing these actions helps to determine how to approach various situations. Children also understand more than we think. They often pick up on our stress and anger by simply watching how we walk, speak, and interact with them.
Have you ever tried to stop your child from crying or yelling? I bet most of us have. Unfortunately, this common reaction to uncomfortable emotions may backfire. Our resistance creates more frustration and feelings of inadequacy in the child. Even if their issue seems trivial to us as adults, we need to acknowledge how our kids feel and help them work through how to express emotions healthily.
Emotionally Support Your Kids #2: Listen More
We have so much going on at any one time that hearing each other…I mean really hearing doesn’t often happen. Our listening skills take a back seat to work, housework, and even our own thoughts and feelings. It becomes too easy to tell them what they should feel and how to express it.
This doesn’t give kids agency over their own emotions. They may be small, but they are the best judges of how they feel. Sometimes words aren’t even necessary. All you need to do is be there and be present.
Emotionally Support Your Kids #3: Have Empathy and Compassion
Feelings are never wrong, however, you might not think that, considering how they can be judged so easily. This happens primarily because humans tend to be self-focused. Empathy and compassion aren’t always the first things we consider in our relationships. Our families are unfortunately the ones who can be hurt the most by this lack.
Emotionally Support Your Kids #4: Get Help If Needed
As children get older, they may need even more attention and support as life can be challenging for teens. Feeling alone can lead to depression, anxiety, and anorexia. You may attempt to fix the symptoms of these illnesses on your own, but it may not be enough. If conditions are already apparent, individual and family therapy may be necessary to help them. Additionally, there are tools like a comprehensive eating disorder meal plan resource from Tapestry to support your child.
Emotionally Support Your Kids #5: Express Your Own Emotions
Children hear us and see us. They are acutely aware when we are happy and when we’re not. How we express ourselves affects their emotional development even when we’re not speaking to them. Consider also how you express yourself to your significant other or yourself. We must be careful how we show up at all times. There are healthful ways to express emotions that demonstrate stability and self-awareness.
Also, consider what you express to your child. Some things are not appropriate for them to know or experience. A child’s capacity to handle adult situations is limited. Show them that it’s okay to feel sad but that it’s not their responsibility to support you or fix anything. Tell them about the things that make you feel better and how you manage your feelings.