Your children are counting on you to have their best interests at heart. They need to know you will be available in their time of need. That means you need to be in tune with your children. Develop a relationship that is based on good communication. It is our responsibility to teach our children to be open with their feelings. Children who do not share their feelings tend to make decisions about those feeling based on their immature perspective of the world.
Since selfishness is so prevalent in our society, it is no great leap to assume that the choices they make will be founded in that same selfishness. Do not fear your children’s emotions. For some reason many parents shut their children down when they become angry, frustrated, or sad. “Don’t do that…you shouldn’t feel like that” is a common response.
Our children have all the same God-given emotions we do, but what is often missing is the social grace in dealing with those emotions.
When the child’s behavior tied to those emotions is destructive, the parent needs to differentiate between the feelings and the behavior that is deemed unacceptable. Make sure you validate the feelings and discuss them with your children. Men (and perhaps some women), for those of you who think that emotions are for girls or sissies, it’s time to grow up. That may require you to sit down with a counselor or pastor and identify the reasons you struggle with emotional expression. Do not invalidate your child’s emotions; rather consider healthy ways to help them express those emotions. Your children are more likely to communicate with you if you allow them the freedom of verbal expression.
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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