Dr. Rachell N. Anderson
I suspect that most of you would agree that raising a happy, loving children is one of the most important things parents can do in this life. Yet, when I see how some children are being treated, I worry for the children and the adults they’ll grow up to be.
Psychologist know that early experiences impact on the structure of the brain, and the kind of adults capacities children will develop. Early childhood development is the key to a full and productive life for a child and to the progress of a nation. Research shows that children who experience extreme stress in their early years are at greater risk for developing a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional difficulties later in life. Early stress can affect brain function, learning, and memory negatively and permanently.
Young brains develop quickly. By the time children reach age three, their brains are twice as active as those of adults and it is during this time that most learning occurs. Half of a person's intelligence potential is developed by age four and early childhood interventions can have a lasting effect on intellectual capacity, personality, and social behavior.
Secure relationships with their primary caretakers create a favorable contexts for early development and learning. When children feel secure, when their needs are met, when they are provided with loving care, when caretakers respond to their needs, they learn to trust and are then able to explore their worlds, learn new skills and make wise choices as they grow into strong healthy and adults. In addition, they arephone call of text message that able to give and receive love in return.
It takes conscious efforts, day after day to let our children know they are loved. That may seem obvious but we are busy people, we are likely to have jobs, friends and diversions. We’re often glued to our cell phones and willing to check each call or text message that comes through. All these things take your attention away from your child. When your attention is diverted, your children feel discounted and less important. We all know the feeling. We’ve all experienced it. Right?
What’s a Person To Do?
With help from Amy Peterson, a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and 4 children in Oregon, here are a few tips.
1. Tell your children you love them often. This sounds obvious. But you can never tell someone you love them too often. All people love to hear that they are important to someone. These words make most of us happy and boosts their self esteem.
2. Really listen to your children. When you’re having a conversation, make eye contact and listen to what your child is telling you. You will make her feel important and loved by focusing on her completely while she is telling you a story or asking for advice. Adults don't have all. When the child is sharing a concern, just listen. There is no need to give solutions or fix the problem. Just let them talk. Most of the time, they work out their own solutions and move on.
3. Be physically and mentally there for your kids as much as possible. Listen and remain engaged. This quiet presence, support and security shows your children you care.
4. Create habits and traditions that encourage family togetherness. Whether it’s making meals together, having that jig saw forever on the table ready to put a new found piece in place of taking family vacations, give them memories they can grow
5. Encourage responsibility. Give them chores, teach them how to do them and trust them to do it right.
6. Nurture their creative spirit. Give them ample opportunities to draw, paint, compose a rhyme, do tricks with the bicycle, make loops with hoops with string and thread, tell jokes and just have silly fun.
7. Say yes more than you say NO. Count how many times you caught your child for doing something right instead of scolded him for doing something wrong. Pat yourself on the back for this insight.
8. Use the power of touch. Hugs, kisses, tickles and cuddles all feel good and lets the child know they are in your thoughts.
9. Be there for them whether it’s throwing a basketball in the back yard, learning to play an organized sport or learning to be a boy or girl scout. Your presence is needed.
Loving children comes naturally to most parents, however, most of us need a reminder now and then. When you give them the gift of love you can them thrive and succeed at doing the things they love. And most of all, they’ll learn to love in return.
© Dr. Rachell N. Anderson, November 24, 2018
Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books she had written.