Saturday, April 14, 2012
How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children By Gerald Newmark, Ph.D.
A dear nanny friend loaned me How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children by Gerard Newmark on my Amazon Kindle Fire last week. The book helps childcare providers to interact with children and with each other in emotionally healthy ways. Although it is a short book, I hope that some of the lessons about improving relationships with kids in the book will stick with me for the rest of my life.
The author opens the book explaining that all children, at all ages, have five critical needs in common which stay with them throughout their lives -- the need to feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure. When satisfied, they are the key to developing an emotionally healthy child.
People do not, at a certain age, magically develop good judgement and become expert decision-makers. To help kids gain confidence we must allow them to problem-solve and make decisions. This is a way children can learn about their strengths and weaknesses and grow in decision-making ability and confidence.
One of the most important lessons I learned reading this book is we often try to talk kids of our their feelings. But by doing so our message isn't comforting or enlightening but conveys the idea that being upset when something negative happens is bad. We shouldn't try to talk kids out of bad feelings, but just listen and understand their feelings.
The author writes, "We need to recognize that feelings are not right are wrong; they just are. Acceptance does not imply liking or agreeing, nor does it have anything to do with condoning behavior. Accepting a child's feelings is simply recognition that all individuals, children have feelings too, and that a child's feelings are not to be suppressed or feared but rather to be understood and discussed."
The appendixes list family activities to do with kids to get to know kids better, a journal for parents to learn to monitor their own feelings and behaviors, a family meeting worksheet, children's well-being survey, and so much more. I think this a great book for all childcare providers to read.