When a child avoids expressing certain emotions that are part of his human condition, such as sadness, jealousy or pain, instead of making them ‘disappear’ as if by magic, what he achieves is that these sensations become encrusted in his unconscious and, from there, begin to regulate your personality and mood. The emotions entrenched in the unconscious can profoundly affect the child’s psychological development, causing the child to feel frustrated with himself, to become an aggressive little boy or, on the contrary, a shy and withdrawn child. In the long run, long-repressed emotions lead to emotional disturbances, behavior disorders, and social integration problems. In this regard, various studies have found that entrenched emotions can also make children sick since emotional imbalances weaken their immune system and make them more vulnerable to diseases.
Learn to manage emotions instead of repressing them
The key for a child to have healthy emotional development lies in teaching him to regulate his emotions. It is about the little one accepting and understanding his own emotions so that he does not try to suppress them, but redirect them. In this sense, parents have an enormous responsibility since they are in charge of teaching their children to manage those emotions and thoughts that society classifies as ‘negative’.
- Encourage your children to talk about their emotions and thoughts. In this way, they will feel more confident to express their feelings, they will stop perceiving them as something negative, and they will learn to be more open emotionally. This will not only benefit your emotional development but will also make your social interactions easier.
- Accept and respect their emotions. Avoid reprimanding them if they talk to you about their ‘negative’ thoughts or feelings. Let them know that you accept what they are feeling and that you respect their views, although they must learn to deal with those emotions.
- Teach them to put their feelings into words. It is very difficult for children to express their feelings in words because they have a very limited vocabulary, and it is difficult for them to understand their own feelings. Therefore, a good strategy to help them manage their emotions is to encourage them to express in words what they feel, helping them to name each emotional state.
- Help them build their own emotional resources. Every child is different, so you can’t expect your children to think the same as their friends or cousins or to be excited about the same things. Each child needs to develop their own strategies for accepting and dealing with their emotions. An easy way to help them is by presenting them with conflicts and problems so that they think about what they would do if they were in those circumstances.