29 July 2013 by Natasha Kim CM –
Children’s emotional and psychological health is important to help them grow into resilient and responsible adults. It is a common perception that children grow out of their problems but many may not without proper care and support from their caregivers. The bringing up of a child in a proper way is really a great responsibility. Allow them to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that they are children of God and that they are loved.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Recently at a talk at SunwayMas Community Centre, speaker Tan Su Chen spoke on the topic above. She is highly qualified, having graduated with a Master in Counseling (Help University) and is a certified Trauma and Loss specialist (The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, USA). Besides that she also received a graduate level, US accredited training in Play Therapy. Her clinical experience includes providing therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents going through numerous situations.
“Emotional health is more than just emotion, it goes with the thinking as well and having a healthy view about themselves” shared Su Chen.
Just like adults, children who do not feel confident about who they are feel the need to change and be someone else, and often times it is because children hear more no’s than yes’s from their parents e.g. “don’t do this / don’t do that”. “Having good emotional health is having good self esteem and feeling good about ourselves. Think about someone whose always angry and blaming people, could it be that this person is not accepting themselves and starts picking on other people?” she said.
An emotionally healthy child says:-
- I am valuable
- I am unique
- I am competent / confident (I am not able to do this right now but if I practice every day I will be able to get it)
- I am accepted
- I belong, I’m loved
- I can be loving to others
The critical period to develop a child’s emotional health starts from 0 to 6 years old. However it doesn’t mean that that they can’t still build it if they experienced a bad childhood. There’s always hope in improvement. People are able to change and become better human beings every day.
Six components for a child’s healthy and holistic development:-
Having a balance of the six components above gives them balance as a human being, take one away and they become unbalanced.
Some signs of poor emotional health:-
- Poor self esteem “I can’t do it, I am not good”
- Overly focused and attached to someone or something “I need my bubu now”, “I’ll die without it”
- Need for control or power (e.g. aggression/bully) “I am better than you”, “You must listen to me”
- Denying and devaluing needs, feeling, wants. “I don’t know”, “I am not important”
- Social withdrawal and non assertive communication. “Erm….”, “……………”
- Poor boundaries (self and others) “That’s mine”, “You’re mine”, “I want it now”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)
Hearing such statements like, “I’m not good enough” should be a red light that you need to help them work on their emotional health. Healthy is when they are at peace and acknowledge that they can’t be good at everything but know inside what they are good at something and that they can overcome obstacles. Healthy is loving the fact they are different, e.g. “Wow I have curly hair…I’m unique!” However Su Chen shared that there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence.
Perfection is sometimes what parents seek from their children but they have to know that it is okay to give children time to learn for themselves and that it’s okay to fail sometimes. You can’t be a rescuer! Immediately doing something for them without giving them a chance to learn how to do it for example tying shoelaces, doesn’t build up a confident child. Give them support! Let them know whatever they are going through that you will be there. Be with them when they are learning and give them the confidence that they need.
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you.
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