Creative Child

Providing Children with Emotional Rest

by Rebecca Eanes


2. Providing “more attention than the child asks for” is another way to offer emotional rest. When they continually have to ask for our attention or compete with other things for our attention, they do not feel significant in our lives. However, by being the first to offer to play, the first to say “I love you,” and the last to let go during a hug, we can give our children the message you are worth my time. You are significant.


3. Assuming our role as leader also gives children rest. Children do not want to be in the lead, even though it may seem like they do at times. Developmentally, they are not ready for it. Just as I wouldn’t want to be on a plane without a competent pilot, children want to feel secure in our ability to lead our families. When they see us get constantly ruffled by their actions, it appears we aren’t capable. To use the airplane reference again, I would feel very worried if my pilot had a big emotional reaction to turbulence. The pilot’s reaction would cause me to feel emotionally uneasy. It would probably cause me to have a big reaction because I’m looking to her/him to lead in this scenario. In the same way, our responses and reactions can cause our children to feel emotionally uneasy. So, while I’m not suggesting we be robotic or inhuman in our reactions, we do have the responsibility as parents to ensure that our kids feel confident in our ability to handle raising them, even (and maybe especially) when they test us.

"When we work at giving our children the emotional rest they need by providing strong caring relationships to hold onto, then they are free to grow into the people that nature intended them to be."  - Dr. Deborah MacNamara, author of Rest, Play, Grow 

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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