Children and their emotional health

Written by Amie on November 24, 2008 – 3:46 am -

I have to write about this because it is one of the things that I feel very passionate about. I think it is a huge symptom of this unhealthy dysfunctional culture. We went to the mall the other day and it was fairly crowded. We were walking along and I heard a screaming child coming closer and closer. This always makes me feel anxious. I have a very hard time listening without trying to help the child. Finally, I saw the child. She was probably about 2 or 3, holding her Mom’s hand, screaming her little eyes out. I wanted to pick her up and rescue her. I don’t want to sound judgmental, that’s not what this is about. I do understand that people have hard days, and I don’t know the whole story. However, I did see the smirk on the mother’s face as I passed her. She gave me the look of, yeah, I know, what a pain she is being. There was another woman walking with them as well. Maybe a friend of the mother. They were chatting as if nothing was amiss.

I get so upset when I see things like this. Why couldn’t the mom find a place where she could just sit down and be there for her daughter? She could offer to hold her on her lap, she could empathize with the child, letting her know, that yes, I see you, I see how upset you are, and try to find a solution that would work for them both.  Many parents may think that because this child was young, she was just being difficult, and her “behavior” didn’t deserve respect. This is so far from the truth. What if the woman had been as upset as the little girl? What if she was at the mall and something happened and she got this upset? Would her friend have just walked along rolling her eyes and ignoring her cries for help? I seriously doubt it! I really believe that someone would offer to help.

We all need to be seen and heard. We need to know that we matter, that our needs are important to the people that love us. To be scoffed at when we are hurting does so much damage. It teaches us that our needs don’t matter, that we don’t matter, and that we shouldn’t even have needs in the first place. It is not surprising that many of us grew up thinking we didn’t matter much. We sought out attention in unhealthy ways. I am 43 years old and I still have days when my inner core of hate raises is ugly head.  It has taken a very long time for me to know that I do matter, and that it is ok to love myself. My conditioning taught me otherwise, so I fight to shut that voice down. I feel grateful for all of the healing work I have done and am still doing, that reminds me of my birthright-to love and to be loved. To love others and to love myself.

Imagine what would happen if all children were seen and heard. What a healthy start they would have. What a healthier world we would have. Imagine if children could be treated with the same respect as adults. Nobody talking down to them just because they happen to be younger, no being forced to do things against your will just because someone thinks you need to learn something from it, or because it is to meet the adult’s need, people listening to your ideas instead of rolling their eyes at you because you are a child, how could you possible know what you are talking about? What if children were trusted to know what is best for them, what if they could listen to their own bodies and eat when they are hungry, go to sleep when they are tired, do things because they enjoy them, regulate their own bodies? That is my dream for every child. They are born equal to adults, why does that have to change? Because so many adults were raised this way as well, and they haven’t chosen to begin healing themselves. When children show emotions, especailly in public, adults feel embarrassed, like people are looking at them, or that people may think it is the parents fault. Sad. I really hope that parents can start caring more about their children’s emotional health than caring about what other people think.

Sorry for the rant, but I just had to get it out there!

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