Emotional parenting, in the spotlight

Emotional parenting, in the spotlight

The surname “emotional” has taken on particular importance in recent years in phrases such as emotional intelligence, emotional education, emotional parenting, emotional management. What is that, what does the adjective “emotional” bring, what does it bring to the table the need to address it?

Could it be that talking about emotions is new? Weren’t our parents and grandparents excited? Could it be that our ancestors were not hurt by betrayals or afraid of losses? Maybe they didn’t talk? Or perhaps a kiss was enough to believe that one knew what was happening to the other? Neruda wrote in one of his first poems: “In a kiss you will know everything that I have kept silent.” Could a kiss really convey all that information?

Undoubtedly, reactions to certain events (emotions) happened. Men fought a duel for the love of a woman, others left with wounded pride. Others wrote poems in which people saw themselves reflected and repeated the verses of others who had crossed the line of talking about what was forbidden or reserved. At the beginning of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf dared to say: “All extremes of feeling are allied with madness.”

Bringing emotions into parenting has been a different awakening. Playing music for the baby while in the womb implied that the child would begin to relax if the type of music was soft and bearable, or that screaming and uncomfortable situations would cause the child to move more than necessary. Remind the child that you love him before leaving him in the garden or at school, do not argue in front of the little ones, do not use colors on the walls that alter his mood and other warnings came from this new perspective. Taking care of the emotional health of children became a titanic task. Since then, many dads and moms have turned to parenting schools, others have chosen educational institutions where children are particularly taught how to deal with their own emotions.

Has this emotional focus on families and schools been useful? Depends.

Emotions are a constituent part of the human being along with the body and language. That is, it is not possible to look at one of them without seeing the interrelation between the three domains.

When do we say that someone is emotionally intelligent? When he recognizes in himself the circuit of emotion. When does the trigger for the emotion appear, the emotion, the purpose of it? This answer goes hand in hand with the following premise: we cannot do it in the absence of corporeality and words. It is interesting to see how some professions such as ontological coaching work on the three basic domains of the human being when carrying out a conversation.

Can we avoid anger or sadness in these situations? No, we can not. Emotions are reactive, they appear as a reaction to something that happens or to a thought we had for a moment. We cannot avoid them, although, once inside them, we can activate some tools to become centered again and able to do something more convenient: breathe deeply, drink a glass of water, loosen hands and legs, relax the face with some jaw movement.

Could it be that currents of thought have installed the idea that children can be emotionally educated outside their family system? Many times it is the children themselves who take some of the learning home. Just as we cannot work on emotions outside of body-emotion and language coherence, we cannot work with minors and young people in the family without connecting with their own adult references.

Dwell in emotion

No one has obstacles in accepting that we can stay as long as we want in happiness, although few adults accept that a child wants to stay in his anger, his sadness, his disgust or his fear. I once heard “if you’re still angry, lock yourself in the bathroom until it goes away” or “it’s time to stop crying, it’s over.”

These same adults tend to be the ones who, when they are angry, bring down all the saints from heaven and stay in their anger for as long as they want, also adding other stories that remind them that they need to be angry for more time. It may also happen that they cannot tolerate the child wanting to sleep with the light on and yet they do not dare to undertake or go on vacation because their fears are greater than their possibilities.

Is emotional parenting enough to generate children who inhabit well-being? Certainly not, it is not enough. Perhaps the focus should be on sustaining our humanity, on caring for the human being that lives in each member of the family. Preserving the physical and mental integrity of the closest circles of affection (includes teachers, babysitters, neighbors and friends) is a task that only results in loving, in considering the other.

Look at emotions from within our body and from the edge of our language, enable all emotions and words in the family group, give names to our sensations, share spaces for free play (playing for the sake of playing), having songs and stories that transcend generations…these could be contributions to loving parenting, aimed at ensuring that all family members can be seen and recognized. Loving parenting must also contain the limits that keep the lives of the most vulnerable in the community safe.

Source: Ambito

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