When you have children your life changes. You’re completely responsible for another life which is an immense responsibility. We all do our best but still make mistakes.
The key is how you handle those mistakes.
Do you grow from it? Do you ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you keep reinforcing possibly negative or detrimental patterns? Do you acknowledge it and realize you can change it? Can you get over yourself enough to put your children first?
These are all tough questions we have to ask ourselves when raising children from both a mental health and chronic disease standpoint.
Addressing Emotions to Prevent Eczema and Autoimmunity in Kids
My husband and I are both acutely aware of the importance of mental health issues being healthcare practitioners. We’re trained to identify anxiety, depression, and other conditions as they are so prevalent in society. (This needs to be acknowledged and solutions offered).
From a personal aspect we also understand because we both come from families where there is a history of mental illness and mood disorders to varying degrees. We both agree that while our parents tried, we wish they made these considerations for us and our families as children and teens.
We’re not saying that we had horrible childhood’s by any stretch of the imagination. However, neither of us feel we were given great emotional coping tools- something we work on in our home daily.
And guess what…. we’re not perfect and we don’t always get it right. But, we are always aware, practice self reflection, and try to do better the next time.
Nothing frustrates me more than when my son lies to me. His are more like omissions or being sneaky. For example, the day after Halloween the Switch Witch came which meant the candy went away in place of a small toy. I left a few pieces of candy I bought that were made with better ingredients and allergen friendly that he could have occasionally.
He asked for the candy and I said no. He asked again and I said no again.
I thought the issue died, but then found a wrapper on the bathroom floor.
I asked him about it and he fessed up. He said he just wanted it and that’s why he did it (and let’s face it…little kids are ruled by their desires). I didn’t yell (but sometimes I do and often regret it). I said I that was disappointed and no treats all weekend.
Hopefully a lesson was learned?!?!?!
Current research and my friend Dr. Keesha Ewers book, “Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle,” says that these “little issues” can add up and do damage as adults (you can take an Adverse Childhood Events/ACES quiz here for you or your kids):
– Cause chronic conditions like IBS and autoimmunity
– Cause skin conditions such as eczema, rashes and hives
– Contribute to anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
– Prevent us from fully achieving our own personal greatness because of self doubt and sabotage
– Create dysfunctional relationships
We want to avoid the discord that arises when issues aren’t dealt with. Relationships can become strained and distant when everyone knows there’s a skeleton(s) in the the closet that everyone is just sweeping under the rug. It is impossible to have healthy relationships with other people if you can’t trust them.
We work hard on a daily basis to overcome some of the negative patterns that have been ingrained in us since we were young children.
We decided we don’t want this path for our children. This is what led us to take our five-year-old to a martial arts studio that focuses on teaching love, respect (for self and others), and self control.
We did this for a multitude of reasons.
- He is a sweet and smart boy. He gets stellar reports from school and is usually a good boy at home. However, he sometimes chooses not to listen to our requests which ends up in turmoil.
- He has been a strong-willed child from day one…even in utero! This determination often gets him in trouble. It’s kind of like the idea of curiosity killed the cat… sometimes he just can’t help himself. The self control aspect of martial arts is one of the main reasons we chose this route for him.
- We want him to know from a very young age that asking for help is completely normal and healthy. We know he won’t be perfect at this and will have to rely on others for guidance to learn.
- My husband and I are aware that even though we are conscious of some of the negative patterns that we learned from our parents, they occasionally show up and our son has seen it. At such an impressionable age, we are hoping that if he picked up on any of these that they can be reversed now rather than him having less-than-ideal emotional reactions as an older child, teen, and adult.
- It takes a village. We know we don’t have all of the answers and would like exposure and input from an impartial party that isn’t Mom or Dad that he can relate to, trust, and respect.
- He tends to be a perfectionist and sees everything is very black and white (as toddler’s do). He doesn’t handle being corrected by us very well. For example, he went through a phase where he called the letters of the alphabet numbers. When we would try to explain to him that that wasn’t the case, he would get extremely angry and breakdown, as if we were accosting him. We want him to realize that it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to fail, and it’s okay to receive constructive criticism. The key is to always learn and grow from these experiences. (A wise and uber successful acquaintance of mine once told me that every night when he puts his children to bed he has them talk about three successes and one failure. He said he felt that the one failure was more important than the successes because it provided opportunities to learn, grow and improve which can be way more valuable than successes that come easy.)
We really want him to have a solid emotion base, self confidence, and resilience so he can avoid the issues of eczema, chronic disease, and autoimmunity that so many in our family have suffered from. Mostly, we want him to be a happy, kind, and well adjusted person because the world could use lots more of that.