Being emotionally healthy is vital to our overall happiness and ability to live an enjoyable and fulfilling life. The evidence tells us that children who are emotionally healthy and psychologically resilient are less likely to experience emotional difficulties and are more likely to overcome these difficulties if they occur.
Working as a clinical psychologist with children and teenagers for over twenty-five years and running a large mental health service has taught me that for children, love is the essence of emotional well being. Children who love themselves and are loved, particularly by their parents, have healthier emotional well-being and stronger psychological resilience.
This book explores the concept of ‘loving our child’ and how we can connect with and utilise this love to help our child to be an emotionally healthy person. It explores how we can teach children to love themselves and how this love helps them have emotionally healthy lives. How we can best prevent and manage the emotional difficulties our child might encounter is explored alongside the importance of keeping ourselves emotionally healthy.
Parenting is a journey of discovery through which we learn more about our child and ourselves each day. So too this book aims to help in this discovery journey. Throughout the book there are exercises, aimed at encouraging us to think about our special relationship with our child, their emotional wellbeing, our parenting approach and our own emotional wellbeing. Each question is designed to help us reflect on an aspect of our child or of our parenting. Each exercise is self-contained and help in processing them is provided throughout the book. Support in putting the learnings from all of the exercises together is outlined in the final chapter.
The central message of the book is one of empowerment and optimism. All children have the capacity to live emotionally healthy lives and parents play a key role in influencing and nurturing this. All of us have the capacity to be good successful parents once we connect with our self-belief and natural parenting ability.