There are times where I am baffled by my children. It is like I have a couple of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes. When we go out for the day (anywhere away from home), my kids behave very well. They watch, listen, and generally stick close to my wife and me. When we are at home, though, it is a very different story. My kids are quick to act up at home, be crazy, and run afoul with sinister giggles. Perhaps, your kids are the same…and guess what? I think this is a great sign that we are doing something right.
A great home environment is one that creates and maintains emotional safety for the child. When a child feels emotionally safe, they are free to express themselves fully let their hair down. The home life should be like the prototype lab of a company. In the lab, ideas are expressed, things are tried, adjusted, tried again. The home lab (environment) thoughts and expressions are made that might not be world ready….and that is ok! Sometimes things get wild as the kids learn how to be well-adjusted citizens. And like a prototype lab, the home environment should be a safe place to work things out and develop.
What is emotional safety? Emotional safety is where a person can be who they are without concern of judgment, punishment, or disrespect.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” – Fred Rogers.
There are five components of emotional safety. Each of the components is important in cultivating a safe home environment and rock-solid relationships.
- Trust: All emotional safety begins here. Trust is built in many ways, but for the home environment, the child should rely on a consistent support experience. When running a household, this is often facilitated by making everyone feel significant and heard.
- Empathy: A great home is one where all of the members are understanding and are sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of each other. The family unit shares the victories, hardships, and drudgery of day to day life.
- Non-judgment: We accept each family member as they are while tempering down the feelings of who we want them to be. This acceptance provides the freedom for the child to develop their authenticity through their unique individual needs.
- Emotional Respect: A safe home environment is where feelings can be expressed without repercussions. Emotions are honored and are not made out to be good or bad. In this respect, I find it helpful to remind myself that I can control what I think, but I cannot control the feelings that arise. Therefore, I do not judge emotions when they happen to my children. Then I can coach the child in how to manage the emotion without shame or guilt.
- Individuality Respect: We respect the similarities and differences of all members of the household. In this environment, we share admiration towards each other and demonstrate their importance.
Emotional safety is not only for the home environment. Utilize these five components everywhere you go and with everyone you meet. You will be amazed at the transformation in your relationships when these five areas are honored. Hopefully, this post today brought some awareness in creating the ultimate home environment for your children (loved ones).
Photo by Allen Taylor via Unsplash