It’s we — the parents — who largely determine how a child comes to validate him- or herself.
If you help a child develop his emotional intelligence, it’s been shown to be more valuable to his success in life than general intelligence.
It’s your job to teach your child how to name, use, and manage emotion, as well as how to deal with it in others.
A friend of mine has a daughter who wanted to replace her cell phone with a cracked screen very badly. When my friend told her daughter she wouldn’t be able to swing a new cell phone this year, her daughter broke down in tears, sobbing “I never get what I want! ” Part of my friend wanted to slap her daughter and tell her she should be grateful she even has a cell phone.
What about the children in Africa who have nothing? ” Her daughter continued to cry and feel bad, but her mother didn’t feed the negative feelings with defensiveness or attacks.
If you ignore your child’s emotions, your child will feel ignored on some level, no matter how much attention you pay to him in other ways.
Emotions are part of your child’s biology, and necessary for forging the strong parent-child bond of love and connection.
It’s easier to get angry with a child who is sulking and being stubborn, for example, than to look for the underlying emotion that’s causing the behavior, such as fear.
Second, if a parent is not emotionally aware herself, it’s difficult for her to perceive what her child is feeling.
I was called in to observe her and consult with her preschool teachers and parents due to her “impulsive, inattentive, non-compliant, emotional, potentially dangerous” behaviors of refusing to sit in circle time and constantly banging into objects: outside with her tricycle, and inside where she would run into and purposefully, though playfully, try to topple both other children and adults.