Supporting children's emotional development

Ok… So, let’s be honest. Parenting sometimes just sucks. I know it’s a cliché to say that “it’s the hardest job you’ll ever do, but also the most important”. So, yes, I agree it’s hard and yes, I agree it’s also important but can we also just admit that there’s some days when walking out that front door and never coming back seems like such a good option.

Now, I know we can’t expect these little people (those 3ft demons that own more underwear than a Victoria’s Secret warehouse) to behave like adults and have the ability to regulate their emotional response like us adults (when/if we can do that 😊) but it just shouldn’t be (this) hard all that time, should it?

Both of my girls have seen a psychologist at least once over the years and (to be honest) we just haven’t had any luck or breakthroughs with this approach. I’ve read every book from ‘How to raise girls that like themselves’ to ‘How to stop losing your sh*t with your kids’ and whilst there are some cool and valuable recommendations in these “expert” parenting books, the reality is, when things just go wrong and you find yourself having one of ‘those’ days, it’s really bloody hard to remember to “connect to redirect” or “Rupture and Repair”. I mean, even with all the best advice it’s just hard sometimes to manage our days and our reactions constructively, without killing those “darling” cherubs we call our children.

All this said, we all know that it is actually our responsibility to raise our children so they can be the best and happiest versions of themselves. I don’t want perfect, there’s no such thing with us humans anyway, I just want them to have lives that make them feel fulfilled, whatever that looks like for them. I, personally, don’t think it’s our place, as parents, to steer our children in the direction that WE want them to go, but I do think it’s our responsibility to help them learn strategies that allow them to deal with whatever life throws at them.

Now, don’t get me wrong I know that child (human) development is more than just skills to deal with things in our lives. There’s their physical development, their cognitive development to name just a couple. But it’s my (uneducated) opinion that their emotional development is the most important skill we can help our kids with. Every day we see the impact that mental health has on individuals, families, and communities. Just in Australia alone 8.6 Australians die every day by suicide – YES THAT SAYS 8.6 PEOPLE A DAY. Which clearly shows us that mental health is in crisis and it’s is incredibly important that we (parents) help foster emotional stability in our children to help prevent them from any mental health issues in their future.

In doing the research for this blog, the number ONE thing that kept coming up as the KEY to building healthy relationships with our kids was TRUST! Like every interaction we have with people, whether it’s buying a house, choosing a school, or something as simple as a work meeting, trust underpins them all. I saw this great quote that resonated with

GIVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE HONEST, RESPECT, TRUST AND PASSION OR BE PREPARED TO WATCH FROM THE SIDELINES AS SOMEONE ELSE DOES! So powerful I think and I, for one, am not willing to watch my children grow and develop with someone other than me helping them because, let’s face it, no one will ever love them like we do – FACT!

Holy moly, sh*t that got super serious, didn’t it? But it’s a pretty serious issue, don’t you think? Supporting our kid’s emotional development is one of the most, if not the most, important things we will ever do as parents. So, we can’t afford to f*ck this one up, can we? The tricky part is being able to do this effectively, consistently, and compassionately. The truth is, none of us don’t have the “magic” bullet or a golden nugget for you to take from this or that will give you the skills to sure up your success in this area. But, what I do know and believe, and it’s something I’m actually going to work on is making sure my relationship with my kids is rock solid in regards to trust, they need to know that I’m always going to be there, I’m always going to be their biggest cheerleader and even though there are those days where it takes all our strength to not strangle them, the reality is that we are forever “welded” to our kids (in a cool and supporting way) and it’s our gig to make sure they are safe, they are loved and they are cherished.

But that doesn’t mean that parenting still doesn’t suck sometimes 😊 We see you and we've got this, maybe not today or this month but in the bigger picture for sure!