Parents vital to kids’ emotional health

Published 2:20 pm Monday, November 9, 2009

During more than 30 years as a middle school counselor, one situation bothered me more than any other. I saw students sitting in the classroom unable to focus on learning because they were trying mentally to answer unanswerable questions concerning their biological parents. When children reach puberty, they think about what kind of adult they are going to become.

They instinctively know they are part Mom and part Dad and they want to know a lot about these two people. The problem? They might have a parent who they have never met, one who has emotionally abandoned them or abused them. Regardless, they tend to love their parents unconditionally.

To get to know someone, you need regular, positive contact. It doesn’t necessarily need to be physical contact with them. We have many ways to communicate including letter, telephone, e-mail or text.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

When a parent refuses to communicate, the child interprets such behavior as rejection. To be rejected by a biological parent is a devastating emotional experience. Few children can develop a positive self concept while trying to rationalize such an experience. They spend a great deal of their day trying to figure out what about them is so negative that their parent can’t love them.

If you have parented a child and don’t have a positive,

ongoing relationship with them, stop whatever you are doing and develop one. No matter the sacrifice, it will produce positive results in your life and your child’s. Your child’s emotional future depends on it.