How Parenting Influences Children's Well Being
By Natalia Vanegas
The Children's Movement of Florida
Parenting and children's emotional well-being go hand by hand. As parents, we are responsible for setting good examples that will influence the development of their personalities.
It's not just what we say, but what we do that teaches them important life lessons. Children often learn from what they see. You can tell children repeatedly not to do something, but then if they see you doing it, they will learn from that.
That is why parents like me - the mother of a young son -- must be vigilant about our own behavior, from the words we say to the decisions we make. Our personality will likely be reflected some day and somehow in this new generation we are cultivating. So it is very important for parents to take the time to reflect, enhance and fully invest in the emotional well-being of our children.
Words of love, affirmation and affection are tools that can shape the psychological well-being of the next generation we are raising. Our children's self-esteem is highly influenced by what parents say to them. Our words help strengthen children's self-worth and self-confidence and stimulate a healthy emotional state.
We must respect our children in the different conversation dynamics we have with them, even when we are disciplining them. The fact that they repeatedly make a mistake is not a reason to tear into the self-esteem and image that our little ones have of themselves. Instead, it is essential to strengthen their inner-self by using words that bring out the positive characteristics they have. To motivate and encourage children during their weak moments is an example of good parenting that reinforces their psychological welfare. Instead of sowing doubt, parents need to sow confidence and self-worth in their children.
Beyond conveying affection through words, sharing quality time with our children is another essential ingredient for promoting their emotional well-being. When parents use all five of their senses to focus on their children, doing that boosts their psychological health.
This devoted attention to our children creates a connection that makes them feel loved and wanted, and helps them avoid anxiety and a sense of deep "need." While we have other daily responsibilities such as jobs, when we come home we need to immerse ourselves in our "kid's world" so through their language we can bond and strengthen our relationship with them. During the moments we are with our children, it is important to leave work and other personal stresses completely aside.
Instilling discipline in our children is as needed as playing with them. Sometimes parents mistakenly believe that allowing our children to carry a sense of authority at home helps their emotional well-being. Although it is a debatable topic, if we do not correct negative aspects in their personality at an early age, they may be corrected by life experiences in adulthood. If we teach our children discipline at a young age, we are making sure they have a better future and a better emotional wellness.
Finally, sleep plays a vital role in the psychological well-being of our youngsters. They need eight hours of uninterrupted rest to regain their strength and energy. A peaceful night's sleep helps children wake up emotionally refreshed and ready to face academic demands and hours of playing - both important to their psychological development.
That is why parents must be aware of our responsibility to make the decision of bedtime for our children. Turning off any electronic devices 30 to 60 minutes before helps the child slow down and get ready for bed. Ensuring that they get enough quality sleep at the right times is another important aspect in improving their emotional well-being.
Natalia Vanegas interned at The Children's Movement of Florida in the summer of 2016, when she was a graduate student focused on Community and Social Change at the University of Miami's School of Education and Human Development. She will receive her master's degree in December 2016.