While providing for the child’s physical needs: food, shelter, and clothing (as discussed in the previous published article titled “Nurturing your Child Physically”) is a straightforward matter, providing for his emotional needs can be knotty. Though there are many parenting styles, most experts agree on some general guideline for nurturing a child’s emotional health and laying the groundwork for an emotionally healthy adulthood.
- Encourage your child to express his feelings and respect those feelings. Let him know that everyone experiences pain, fear, anger, and anxiety. Learn the source of his feelings and help him express anger positively, without resorting to violence.
- Promote mutual respect and trust. Keep your voice level down, even when you disagree with him. Keep communication channels open.
- Encourage your child’s talents and accept his limitations. Set goals based on his abilities and interests and not someone else’s expectations. Celebrate his accomplishments. Never compare his abilities to those of other children; appreciate his uniqueness. Spend time with him regularly.
- Foster your child’s independence and self-worth. Help him deal with life’s challenges. Show confidence in his ability to handle problems and tackle new experiences.
- Discipline him constructively, fairly and consistently. Use discipline as a form of teaching, not physical punishment. All children and families are different; learn what is effective for your child. Show approval for positive behaviours and help him lean from his mistakes. Love him unconditionally.