Why Is It Important to Provide Emotional Security for Children?
The consequences for the emotional security that you bring to your children go far beyond the parent-child bond that you have with them. It transcends other areas, such as future couple relationships.
It’s very important that we seek to maintain healthy relationships with our children that serve as an example to develop other bonds throughout their lives. In this sense, emotional security is made up of a set of behaviors and gestures that support a clear message over time: “I care about you, I love you, and you’re valuable.”
Let’s see what it’s all about and how you can better support your children.
What is emotional security and why is it important?
Children’s emotional security is achieved through the establishment of a positive, healthy, and sustained attachment bond over time. This allows them to be themselves, without fear of feeling rejected or having to conform to certain norms or rules just to please others.
Therefore, emotional security allows children to gain self-esteem and invites them to explore the environment. And in the case of feeling fear or insecurity, it gives them the certainty that they can always count on the support and company of someone they love.
Finally, the emotional security of infants is also developed by accompanying them in managing their emotions. So, talk to your child, encourage them to tell you how they feel, acknowledge their emotions, and share them. Show them that you do the same so that they can normalize this habit and understand that it’s okay to express feelings.
You may be interested in: Attachment Parenting: Being Prepared for the Challenges
How to help your child develop emotional security
Emotional security is developed and sustained by small acts every day. Although they’re simple matters, they say a lot both in your absence and in your presence.
Below, we’ll share some of the tips to develop this skill in your child.
Make them feel protected
Protecting a child isn’t only about avoiding danger, but also paying attention to them when they call or make a request. So, don’t just let them cry when you hear them, because what they’re going to interpret is that, even if they feel bad, no one will come to help them.
Tell them that you love them every day
You can never give your child too much affection, and love is never harmful. Telling your child that you love them, that they’re valuable, that you admire how they get through each day is very important to them. “I’m so proud that today you dared to climb higher in the tree!”, “I’m so proud of how you managed to sleep alone!”.
Now, showing love doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set limits, as these are positive and necessary. However, when affection is sustained, children are able to understand that, even if you scold them or become angry, you’ll never stop loving them. There’s a foundation of affection that’s secure and that doesn’t depend on any circumstance.
Trust their abilities
Emotional security is also the foundation (and encouragement) your child needs to develop self-confidence.
When a child realizes that someone trusts them and encourages them, they also begin to see themselves with those eyes.
On the other hand, when parents are fearful and insecure, that same insecurity is transmitted to the child and results in greater inhibition and fear of being curious.
Spend quality time with your child
Being present in your home for many hours a day but having a screen-mediated interaction doesn’t make much sense.
Really, what matters is that the time you spend with your child be of quality. You should truly come together to enjoy one another and laugh. That enables the development of a bond of love, attachment, and trust.
Through play, bonds with children are strengthened and, in addition, they’re accompanied in their motor, psychological, cognitive, and emotional development.
Accept them as they are
Don’t try to standardize your child so that they comply with a certain image or idea that you have in mind for them. Perhaps, instead of playing your favorite sport, they’ll prefer playing an instrument or learning a new language.
It’s important that you accept their tastes and that you validate their interests and needs, regardless of whether or not they coincide with yours.
This allows them to understand that, although they’re not identical to their parents, they’re just as valuable and important to them. Otherwise, your child will try to please you with things that they’re not actually interested in or that don’t make them feel good. In the long term, this will lead them to take on a people-pleasing role with other people for the rest of their life.
Show your love through actions, more than just through words
Affection can be shown through physical contact, such as taking a nap together, giving your child a big hug when they come home from school or when you come home from work. Also, with a reward after a good deed. Your child doesn’t need big gestures, but rather, small but continuous details.
Take care of them on all levels
Physical health is just as important as your mental and emotional health. Therefore, accompany your displays of affection through good care and healthy routines. When little ones live in familiar contexts and certain things remain stable, they enjoy a calmer and happier existence.
Finally, avoid using derogatory words against them, teasing them, or making them feel inferior just because they’re younger.
You may also want to read: What Is Secure Attachment Between Mother and Child?
Emotional security is achieved through quality time
Many mothers and fathers feel bad because they can’t spend much time with their children. Deep down, there are emotions of guilt, anguish, and discomfort. However, it’s important that you know that beyond the amount of time you spend with your kids, what’s essential is the quality of the time you invest in them.
A few hours of play can be much more significant for the emotional safety of children than a whole day of indifference. If during that time, we’re able to express our affection, to play on the floor, or to let them know that they’re missed, it’ll be much more valuable.
This way, what we want to highlight is that security is built on the bond we build–on knowing each other well. And for this, what’s more important than spending long hours with your kids is being able to dedicate yourself to your little ones, body and soul.
The attachment relationship has a great weight and important consequences for the future development of little ones. So, let’s help them to find in us a refuge and relationship of love and support from childhood.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- García Retana, José Ángel (2012). La educación emocional, su importancia en el proceso de aprendizaje. Revista Educación, 36(1),1-24.[fecha de Consulta 25 de Noviembre de 2021]. ISSN: 0379-7082. Disponible en: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=44023984007
- Gloria Cecilia Henao López y María Cristina García Vesga, “Interacción familiar y desarrollo emocional en niños y niñas”, Revista Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Niñez y Juventud, Manizales, Doctorado en Ciencias Sociales, Niñez y Juventud del Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Niñez y Juventud de la Universidad de Manizales y el Cinde, vol. 7, núm. 2, (julio-diciembre), 2009, pp. 785-802