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Tips For How Women Can Protect the Emotional Wellness of Their Children

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Modern moms have incredibly active lifestyles. Between juggling careers and balancing family life, the modern woman works far longer than most men, on average. For example, men spend an average of 6 hours 17 minutes a day on paid labor and 1.5 hours on unpaid chores. Conversely, women average 3 hours and 52 minutes of paid labor and 4 hours 47 minutes of unpaid time.

And these figures are averageswhen you look at women with full-time jobs, you will quickly realize just how long their days truly are. Additionally, women are the primary caregivers for most families and spend as much as 50% or more time caregiving than men.

Of course, one of the major challenges when it comes to caregiving for their children is helping to manage their emotions and keep them strong and well.

Source: dupagechildrens.org

Emotional wellness refers to a child’s ability to recognize and cope with emotions, whether they are positive or negative. Emotional wellness is a lifelong struggle, but the coping skills taught to children often remain their first instinct when faced with strong emotions.

Emotional wellness teaches children coping skills and healthy ways to deal with stress or adversity. Additionally, it allows children to practice their problem-solving skills. This type of practice can enhance emotional wellness, boost a child’s self-esteem, and lower stress. Additionally, learning these skills early can help your child maintain overall emotional wellness throughout their life.

Believe it or not, some key challenges impacting our kids’ emotions come from online interactions. It is estimated that youth between the ages of 8 and 28 spend approximately 44.5 hours each week in front of digital screens. Unfortunately, this time online can leave them vulnerable to emotional attacks. Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and over 25% have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or on the internet.

In fact, Tania Haigh, Founder of Kids Too Movement, an organization passionate about protecting kids’ online safety, shared, “There is a range of negative experiences our kids are experiencing online that lead to stress, anxiety, and fear. One driver is a combination of activities that fall under “cyberbullying” and is one that has received more awareness among parents, kids, and school environments.”

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These reasons demonstrate why moms should be aware of dangers online that have become more explosive through the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids are being exposed to explicit material online far more frequently than they could even imagine including things like:

  • Child sexual abuse material (CSAM)
  • Swearing and other profanity
  • Sites that encourage crime, racism, terrorism, eating disorders, and even suicide

Even with all of the coverage and information about cyberbullying, there are a number of reasons that women and moms can sometimes overlook this danger or think the threat is less prevalent than it truly is. In a mad dash to get everything done, monitoring a child’s online presence can sometimes fall lower on the priority list – especially because it can take time to go through all of the platforms a child may have on a smart device. Additionally, the complexity of many apps can be a tremendous challenge for moms who may not be too tech-savvy.

Nonetheless, there are some helpful tips that Tania Haigh wants to share with moms so they can be better equipped to prevent these types of emotional dangers.

Increase and improve communication with your child.

Our children have so much experience that it’s nearly impossible to keep up. However, increasing communication and improving the quality of dialogue with our children helps us gather more information about what they’re thinking or living, especially when they spend more time online and at school than at home.

Paying attention to the child’s behavior.

It’s easy to shrug off behavior and treat it like a “phase.” However, if a child is experiencing stress, trauma, or anxiety (to name a few), this will come through their behavior. Moms should lean into their instincts to explore what could be causing this behavior to alleviate the stress or remove their child from possible danger.

Lean on being a nurturing parent.

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There is a range of parenting styles, and often as moms, we draw from our own experiences that reflect how we were raised. However, a parent’s love and caring determine how a child grows up and how a child will eventually parent. You can help your child feel loved and secure by letting them know you love them; encouraging them; spending time with your child, and using non-physical options for discipline.

Modern parents face the challenges of juggling the demands of work and home life, which seem to be increasing. According to Scientific American, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed parents to the next level of stress. “Parents are just being hit on all sides and, in many cases, can’t catch a break,” says University of Indiana Bloomington sociologist Jessica Calarco, who has collected information from parents about their experiences throughout the pandemic.

Given how much parents have to manage daily, it can be challenging to carve out time to listen to our children. However, challenges continue to transpire for the youth in our country, meaning it’s even more critical to listen to and engage with our children. Unfortunately, more often than not, our children gather information – and misinformation – from friends at school.

But parents can help shape their children’s emotional acuity and wellness in ways that can last a lifetime by helping them adopt healthy habits. And with the many risks that come with digital connectedness, parents must act quickly. Now is the time to step in for our children to protect their emotional wellness.