Looking back at how I grew up and the environment I was brought up in, it’s evident that emotional safety wasn’t a prominent topic in our home. My parents, just like most parents at that time, were clueless about creating an emotionally secure home for their kids.
It’s not that my parents didn’t want their kids to be emotionally stable, but they didn’t have the awareness that most parents have right now about the importance of meeting their child’s emotional needs. They didn’t know how to support me when I was upset or sad, and their dismissal of my feelings was a way to make me resilient and tough to hack life, not because they didn’t care or love me.
And so, being open about emotions, especially negative ones like anger and frustration, wasn’t something my parents were familiar with. It wasn’t easy for me to show my true feelings without being reprimanded for being stubborn or difficult.
As a parent, through experience, you find out that kids, especially toddlers and teenagers, love to exert their will. For toddlers, when they don’t get their way, they’ll hit, bite and throw a massive tantrum. If you have a teenager, they’ll probably end up having rapid mood swings or prefer to stay in their room all day.
In our home, tantrums were highly discouraged. If you threw a tantrum, no one had time to cater to your “big feelings” of anger and frustration. If anything, you’d be left to cry, sulk till you saw it fit to be quiet or “stop being moody.”
Sounds horrible. But that was typical parent behavior in many African homes. And thus, I grew up not being emotionally expressive as I’d like.
Now that I’m a mom and my daughter is almost 2 years, it’s essential that I create an emotionally loving space for her. I want my child to feel emotionally safe and secure to express her frustrations, disappointment, sadness, and pain without fear of being dismissed or ignored.
And I bet I’m not the only parent interested in creating an environment of emotional safety for our kids. So, if you’ve been wondering, “How do I make my child feel emotionally secure?” this post is for you.
Together, we’ll go through 11 incredible tips to help you create an emotionally secure home for your kids.
Okay. Let’s get down to it.
Here are 11 tips for creating an environment of emotional safety for your kids.
T1p 1: Be okay with your kids failing.
I’m yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want their child to succeed in life.
Every parent wishes and prays that their kid gets the best in life. We want them to get good grades, make friends easily, and land their dream job.
However, we often forget that failure is a necessary part of life and learning. When our kids fail, we need to be okay with it and show them that failure is normal.
By being caring and supportive to our kids when they fail, we can create an emotionally secure space where they feel loved and protected. This will help them feel comfortable taking risks and trying new things, knowing that they have our support no matter what.
In the end, this can lead to greater success in life for our kids. So next time your child comes home with a low grade, take a deep breath and remember that it’s not the end of the world. They’ll be fine.
T1p 2: Be comfortable with uncomfortable situations (Tantrums, meltdowns!)
I’m 100% confident no parent wakes up in the morning excited about their child having a tantrum (or ten) as part of their daily routine. But the truth is that kids like everyone, experience frustration, anger, sadness and need an outlet to let go of their feelings, hence tantrums!
It’s perfectly normal for children to have tantrums. In fact, it’s a crucial part of their development. And before your child learns how to express their feelings in a healthy way, parents must figure out how to support their kids while they have a tantrum.
When your child has a complete public meltdown, it’s normal to try and quiet them down to avoid being “that parent in the mall with a screaming toddler!”
But you know what? How you react when your child has a public tantrum is more critical than trying to save face and look perfect in front of strangers. So the next time your child has a tantrum, instead of getting frustrated yourself, try to see it as an opportunity to connect with your child emotionally.
Whether your child has a tantrum at home or in public, use that opportunity to meet your child’s emotional needs. So, instead of rushing to fix the situation (so that they quiet down), or dismiss their feelings, be fully present in the moment and offer the appropriate support.
The best way to calm an angry child is to hug them or even give them space to vent before you step in and offer consolation through comfort phrases that make your child feel seen, heard and loved.
Ultimately, by being okay with your child’s negative emotions, you can help them develop healthy coping skills that will serve them well into adulthood.
T1p 3: Be expressing about how you feel
Parents play a vital role in their children’s emotional development. By being open and expressive about your own feelings, you can provide a model for your children to follow. This helps children feel emotionally secure, as they know that it’s okay to express their feelings.
Additionally, it can also help build strong bonds of trust and communication between parent and child. When children see that their parents are comfortable expressing their emotions, it permits them to do the same. As a result, parents who are expressive about their feelings can help their children develop into emotionally healthy adults.
T1p 4: Acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings
Emotions are a powerful thing. They can make you feel happy, sad, scared, or mad. As adults, we have a tough time figuring out our emotions, so how do we expect our kids to understand their fluctuating emotions?
That’s where you, as the parent come in. When you take the time to listen to your child and validate their feelings, it helps them understand that their emotions matter.
This type of emotional support can go a long way in creating a supportive home environment. And when kids feel supported at home, they’re more likely to thrive in all areas of their life.
So next time your little one comes to you with a problem, take a deep breath and listen. It might just be the most important thing you do all day.
T1p 5: Be okay to talk about all topics
When kids are younger, they’re constantly asking questions. Why is the sky blue? How do babies get in mommies’ tummies?
But as they grow older, they stop asking questions. And that can be a problem. Because even though kids might act like they don’t want to talk to their parents, they really do. They need to know that their parents are available and open to talking about anything – even the topics that make them uncomfortable.
Emotional safety is so crucial for kids. It helps them feel loved and supported, allowing them to express their feelings without judgment. So even though you’re trying to juggle work, motherhood, and house chores, it’s best to be available and open to talking with your kids about anything and everything.
And by everything, I mean especially those topics that make you uncomfortable. Because that’s how you create an emotionally safe environment for your kids – and that’s one of the most important things you can do as a parent.
T1p 6: Don’t dismiss your child’s feelings.
Emotional safety is just as important as physical safety. When a child falls and scrapes their knee, we comfort them and assure them that they are okay. We do this because we want them to feel safe and secure.
However, when a child expresses their feelings, we often dismiss them, telling them to “toughen up” or “get over it.” But when we do this, we are sending the message that their feelings are not valid or important. This can lead to children feeling like they have to bottle up their emotions, which can hurt their mental health.
So instead of dismissing their feelings, try to listen to them and understand what they are going through. This way, you can help them to feel emotionally safe and secure.
T1p 7: Be your child’s protector.
As a parent, you’re your child’s first and most important teacher and protector. A child’s home is their haven, where they feel loved, nurtured, and safe. When a child feels threatened, unsafe, bullied, or vulnerable, it is the parent’s job to have their back.
Sometimes this means being physically present to protect them, but more often, it means providing an emotionally stable home where they can be vulnerable and feel comfortable expressing their struggles and challenges.
It is also vital for parents to teach their children how to handle difficult situations and stand up for themselves against bullies. By providing a safe and supportive home, parents can help their children build the confidence and resilience they need to thrive in the world.
T1p 8: Be affectionate
When kids are growing up, they’re developing their sense of self. A big part of that is feeling emotionally safe. Feeling loved and accepted for who they are.
Parents play a crucial role in providing that emotional safety for their children. One way they can do that is by being affectionate with their kids. Not just through words of praise but through physical touch as well.
Hugs, cuddles, and kisses help communicate to kids that they’re loved and accepted. That they’re safe. And that emotional safety is essential for healthy development. So if you want to help your kids grow up to be happy and well-adjusted, make sure to show them some love.
T1p 9: Be kind to your spouse.
One of the easiest ways to create an environment of emotional safety is by being kind and loving to your spouse. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s actually not.
And that’s why it’s important to remember that your child copies everything you do. So by being affectionate and kind to your spouse, you’re showing your child feel that’s it okay to express their feelings.
By being affectionate and respectful to your partner, you’re creating an emotionally supportive environment for your kids to feel secure in communicating their feelings instead of bottling them up. This goes a long way in helping your kids become emotionally intelligent and build healthy relationships when they grow up.
T1p 10: Don’t be Judge Judy
One of the important lessons you’ll learn in parenting is that your child is not a mini-version of you. This means that sometimes they won’t see things the way you do. They’ll probably be into something you disapprove of, or they have a different opinion on something important.
And so, we find ourselves judging our kids harshly based on our conflicting differences. Maybe it’s because we want them to avoid making the same mistakes we did. Or maybe we’re just ego-driven and want to be right all the time.
Whatever the reason, judging our kids’ choices or preferences is a surefire way to impact their self-esteem negatively. Criticizing your child’s choices can damage their self-esteem and make them feel like they can’t trust themselves. Additionally, it can hurt the emotional connection between you and your child.
How can we expect our children to develop a strong sense of self-worth if we’re constantly putting them down?
How can we expect them to come to us with their problems if they don’t feel like we’ll support them?
Instead of judging, try to understand where they’re coming from and what they hope to achieve. If you can do that, you’ll be better equipped to help them make the right choices – even if those choices aren’t always what you would have made yourself.
As parents, it’s our job to love and accept our kids for who they are, not who we want them to be. Only then can we hope to create an emotional bond that will last forever.
T1p 11: Spend quality time together
How important is it for parents to spend quality time with their kids?
I’ll tell you this: it’s just as important as it is for lovers to spend time together. How do you think relationships progress? How do you get to know someone? How do you bond with someone? You spend time with them, of course!
The same goes for parents and their children. Parents can get to know their kids, meet their emotional needs, and create a bond by spending quality time with them without the distraction of screens.
When kids feel emotionally safe, they’re more likely to open up and be themselves. So go ahead and put down your phone, turn off the TV, and make some memories with your little ones. They’ll thank you for it later.
11 Tips to Help You Create an Emotionally Secure Home for Your Kids
Creating an emotionally safe environment in your home is key to fostering open communication with your children. By following these 11 tips, you can create a space where your kids feel comfortable sharing their feelings and experiences.
Do you have any tips to add?
Please share them in the comments below! And if you found this post helpful, be sure to check out some of our other amazing content on the blog.