Emotional support from caregivers is vital for children’s overall development and well-being. In this article, we will explore the importance of emotional support for children and the 5 signs that a child may not be receiving the emotional support they need.
Difficulty Regulating Emotions:
Children who do not receive emotional support may have difficulty regulating their emotions. They may struggle to express their emotions in a healthy way, leading to frequent emotional outbursts or becoming easily overwhelmed by their feelings. This inability to manage their emotions may lead to disruptive or aggressive behavior, causing them to feel isolated and misunderstood. What can you do? Help a child regulate their emotions by teaching and modeling how to slow down their responses. When they practice calmly responding to situations instead of being impulsive, they learn how to regulate most emotions. And, it’s not just the “negative” emotions…excitement, joy, eagerness are also difficult to regulate when a child is not receiving adequate emotional support. Showing patience and positive reinforcement when the child practices slower responses and calm reactions also helps a ton! A caregiver can’t go to the same level as an unregulated child. Don’t lose your cool when a child loses their cool.
Is your child receiving the emotional support they need?
Poor Social Skills:
Children who do not receive emotional support may struggle with social skills. They may have difficulty making friends or maintaining positive relationships with others. The lack of emotional support may lead to feelings of insecurity and mistrust, causing them to struggle with social cues and the ability to empathize with others. What can you do? Practice and role model. Practice taking turns in storytelling, listening, and play. Point out body language…yours and the child’s. You can even make this a guessing game (what is my face “saying”?), teach about personal space, and role play different social situations in a play or game like setting.
Children who do not receive emotional support may develop low self-esteem. They may feel undervalued or unloved, leading to feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy. This can affect their ability to form positive relationships with others and may lead to depression or anxiety. What can you do? Use failures as opportunities to learn and improve, teach and role model positive self-talk (I can’t do this…yet), avoid sarcasm, create opportunities for success, give responsibilities, and provide honest and real praise – try “you used lots of vibrant colors on this”…opposed to “you are the best artist in the world”.
Children who do not receive emotional support may have difficulty concentrating. They may struggle to focus on tasks or become easily distracted, leading to poor academic performance and a lack of interest in extracurricular activities. What can you do? It’s okay to point out when they lose focus…sometimes they don’t even notice. When they lose focus or are distracted, ask the child what is happening. Then, focus on ways to redirect their attention. Teach the child how to take deep breaths, tune out distractions, or take planned breaks.
Children who do not receive emotional support may exhibit behavioral issues. They may act out or engage in destructive behaviors as a way of coping with their emotions. Without proper emotional support, children may struggle to cope with stress, anxiety, or trauma, leading to a range of behavioral problems. What can you do? When a child is having behavior issues – stay calm, YOU don’t over-react, give time and space, don’t try to teach or lecture during an “episode” of behavior, and try to find out more about the underlying issues. Is it anxiety, depression, stress, hunger, fear, hyperactivity, or something else? Whatever rules, consequences, and next-steps you put into place – be persistent and consistent…the behaviorally challenged child needs guidance and scheduling more than any other.
2 Case Studies
Case Study 1:
A study conducted by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child found that children who experience chronic stress and a lack of emotional support may be more likely to struggle with self-control and have difficulty regulating their emotions. This inability to manage their emotions may lead to disruptive or aggressive behavior, causing them to feel isolated and misunderstood. Without proper emotional support, children may struggle to cope with stress, anxiety, or trauma, leading to a range of behavioral problems.
Case Study 2:
A study by Spinazzola et al. (2014) found that children who experience neglect or abuse may struggle with social skills and have difficulty forming positive relationships with others. The lack of emotional support may lead to feelings of insecurity and mistrust, causing them to struggle with social cues and the ability to empathize with others. These children may have a higher risk of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, later in life.