Wouldn’t it be great if raising a child to adulthood operated just like a savings account? The more money you save, the more money you have to spend when confronted with urgencies or hurdles. With a person’s emotional savings account, the more tools, resiliencies, learning experiences and growth one saves, the better prepared they are to face inevitable hurdles and difficulties in life.
For the next few weeks, I will explore with you this concept of building a child’s emotional savings account by explaining and helping us all understand stages in ordinary emotional development. The goal of this series is for you, the reader, to make sense of your child’s behavior and to give you greater confidence in your own resources. Through presentation of the latest research on child development and discussions here, this series will hopefully give you tips so YOU can add regular “deposits” in your child’s emotional bank account se he/she will feel secure in “withdrawing” and live a secure, responsible life.
Starting next week, we will explore the key emotional developmental stages one week at a time starting with the newborn stage and moving all the way to puberty and adolescence.
Before we get started on learning about each of the developmental stages, I want to leave you this week with the idea of starting at the origin. I want you to stop for a minute and ponder the beauty that is life for us, for our children, for all in our lives. It is also important to note and recognize that as beautiful as life is, it is also hard and difficult. As you have experienced in your life, the path to independent adulthood is a tumultuous one. This path should not be taken as a competition or race as there are no prizes on the road of living and growing. So before we learn more about ways to increase making “deposits” in our children’s emotional bank accounts, let’s remind ourselves this week that parenting is simply to give children the equipment to deal with the complexities of the society in which they grow up, and to give them strategies to cope. As parents, we need the opportunity to think about and acknowledge how a child might feel about their own situation and what they havegone through. Additionally, the development of self-esteem is a lifelong task. From our first breath to our last, we are all developing, refining, and changing our sense of self-worth and identity. And self-esteem involves developing a sense of self-worth by feeling lovable and capable. Children tackle this task differently at different developmental stages.
I look forward to our next conversation where we will explore the magic and beauty of a newborn’s emotional developmental stage.
I leave you today with the words of Dorothy Law Nolte:
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
Dr. Philippe Rey is Executive Director of Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS). Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2004, Philippe first joined the ACS staff in 1998 as Caravan House Program Director. Born and raised in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Philippe came to the United States to attend college in 1984. His credentials include a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from UC San Diego and a master’s in counseling psychology from National University. In 1997 his doctorate in clinical psychology with a concentration in child and family therapy was conferred by Alliant International University in San Diego. Before pursuing graduate studies and a career in psychology, Philippe graduated from business school in Switzerland. Philippe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650.424.0852 ext. 101.