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4 Steps to Raising Confident and Emotionally Healthy Children

Activate Your Self Confidence - Elena Perella, Sentidu Life Coach

I'm at the beach, and next to me there is a young woman with her child. The little one must be around three years old. While mommy is lazily sitting under the umbrella, lost in interacting on her smartphone, the child explores the world around himself. Just behind them there are the dunes, on which climbing is prohibited because of preservation. But the child doesn't know this and he begins to walk toward that attractive “mountain” of white sand.

“Don't climb on the dune!” The mother screams.

“Why mom?”

“Because I say so.”

The child stands in front of the dune, starring at it. Then he looks at his mother, scratches his head and walks again toward the dune.

“Don't! I said don't climb on the dune! Didn’t you understand what I said?”

The child looks at his mother with an inquiring look. How can I understand you, mom, if you are not telling me why I am not allowed to climb on that damn dune?

His nostrils flare and while mumbling, he crosses his arms and sits down. He begins to play with his toys.
“Mom, I'd like an ice-cream.”

“I can't buy it right now, because I don’t have any money with me. But if you are a good boy then I'll buy you one after lunch. Do we have a deal?”

“Yes, mom.”

While this might seem to some people as an innocent conversation between a mother and her child, in reality it is not. The messages that the young mother is sending to her child are toxic and they will impact the quality of his feelings. And feelings are the source of our realities.

Your children need you to explain your actions and reactions, they need to feel safe near you and understand the reasoning behind your words and guidance. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't correct their behavior, but instead you should support them in developing a healthy and balanced one. If this doesn't happen, their self-esteem will be affected, they will believe that they are not adequate to be loved, they will grow up corruptive and their capacity to understand the world will be undermined.

The mother-child relationship determines what the future relationships of your children will look like with others and themselves. This is why it is important that you build a solid relationship with them, by first rethinking how you relate to yourself.

By this I mean that there might be things, like unresolved childhood issues, inside yourself that you are not conscious of and that make you behave and communicate with your child in ways that can damage them in
multiple levels. Your unresolved childhood issues make motherhood a difficult job causing frustration, anger, resentment not only in you but also in your children. And if you don’t become aware of this, they will compromise not only the relationship with your children but also the relationships that they will have with others, especially with the opposite sex. They will recreate the same unhealthy dynamics.

But you can change the course of history and break the chain of generational pain that has been passed on so far, and create a bond with your children free of stress, anxiety and discontent. This will allow you to enjoy each other’s company, create a healthy life, and leave them a healthy legacy.

How is this achieved?

By identify the toxic junk that you inherited from your family, and working on yourself to detoxify from the obstacles that are keeping you from being the wonderful mother hiding inside you.

Do the best for your children by not giving up on yourself.

Here are some tips:

1. Look back at your childhood and remember what you needed emotionally from your parents but didn't get: a hug, encouragments, acceptance, understanding, etc. This is where you'll find the source of many of your struggles

2. Remember how your parents (mis)communicated with you: yelling dismissive language, non communication, strict rules-enforcement, false promises, etc.

3. Observe your child's reactions while interacting with him and instead of immediately responding, try to understand what he is conveying. Stimulate your child to talk about his feelings. Learn to talk with him about your own feelings too while making sure that you talk at their level of understanding.

4. Decide not to use guilt as a controlling instrument. If you try to make your child feel guilty, he will fake good behavior to make you happy (because he feels responsible for your happiness), while actually feeling anger and resentment toward you. Unlearn this unhealthy habit and foster a solid, genuine, stress-free bond with your child.

I know that it might be difficult to implement some of the above tips but it is the only way to stop toxic behavioral dynamics and start creating healthy patterns. The relationship with your children is the genesis for a better future and it is dependent on you to set the right tone.

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About the author

Elena Perella is NOT a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist; she is a coach who focuses on helping clients indentify the real reasons behind their suffering and problems. Born and raised on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Elena is passionate about what she does, and with good reason. Elena coached herself through a severe depression, eating disorders and domestic violence and her experience has led her on a journey of discovery of how to break out all of these challenges. As a result she created Sentidu Life Coaching to help people experience their own transformation and break free in the areas they feel stuck.

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