Research has shown that children raised by parents who encouraged the expression of emotions were likely to develop into emotionally healthy adults, secure in themselves and their ability to express their feelings. Rearing children to understand the importance of expressing their feelings, both verbally and non-verbally, helps them to become more confident in themselves and cope with life challenges.
Unfortunately, not all children are raised in homes where they can develop the concept of emotionally healthy behaviors and demonstrate them. Often, my male clients discuss their struggles with expressing emotions in their daily lives, the negative impact it has had on their overall quality of life and their relationships. Emotionally broken, they are unable to develop an understanding of how others feel which creates rift in their relationships. Looking back on their childhood, they are able to identify how their relationships with their parents have affected their ability to show and feel emotions. The lack of attention, affection, and constant abuse; both physically and verbally, experienced in their childhood contributes to their emotional instability.
Children long for their parent(s) to love and care for them. The most important role you play in your child(ren) lives, as a parent, is a nurturer. Displaying affection, being empathetic towards others, expressing how you are feeling, and encouraging your child(ren) to express how they are feeling, allows them to understand and become comfortable with emotions. As a result, your child(ren) are likely to establish and maintain healthy relationships, develop coping skills that would assist them in managing life difficult moments, and demonstrate healthier behaviors beginning in their childhood and throughout their adulthood.
Ultimately, your child(ren) emotional health begins with you. In order for your child(ren) to be healthy, you have to be healthy. As a parent, it is important that you are aware of your emotional health and be willing to work though any issues that may impact your ability to be emotionally available to your child(ren). By making your emotional health a priority, you are making your child(ren) emotional health a priority.