I was in Grade 10 and didn’t score well in pre-board exams in maths and science. My science teacher commented,” Your father is a well known scientist, why have you not performed well!” How much ever I try, I can’t forget this statement.
The teacher didn’t even think a second before she decided to comment so casually. Never did it cross her mind that how it will affect me. Here is this girl, whose mother is a Principal and father a well known scientist of the country who is already under immense pressure to prove herself to the society. All she wants is the support and encouragement of her teachers. Isn’t it!
In the 90’s rarely did teachers think about the emotional wellness of students. Thankfully, just one month to prior to board exams I found a teacher who guessed the reason of me not performing well academically in our very first meeting.
When I first met him and he asked me to solve a sum, my hands trembled. This was my last chance, I thought. I had to impress him, I had to just do one sum correctly so that he will take me under his wings. But I couldn’t write, I just cried. He held my hand. He was one the most well known tutors and didn’t have so much time to spend on one student, yet he just sat with me while I solved the sum. Although I didn’t get it right, yet he didn’t teach me the concept. He was a true teacher, an expert not only in his subject but to gauge the emotions within me. He knew that the mistake I made while solving the sum was not because I didn’t know the concept but it was just lack of confidence. I didn’t believe in myself. In the next one month he just worked on my emotional wellness and not mathematics. He made it simple. Everyday I had to solve one question paper of maths and science. And when I would come to submit my answer sheet, discuss with him how I felt before I solved the paper and after I solved the paper. Was I happy with my performance, was I sad, was I angry with myself that I didn’t know the answer, what did I feel? Have I addressed these emotions?
This simple exercise proved extremely effective. I got my lost confidence back. I studied for myself and not to prove anything to the world.
Understanding Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness refers to the ability to recognise, understand, express, and manage our emotions effectively. It involves being in touch with one’s feelings, as well as developing the capacity to cope with stress, handle adversity, and build positive relationships. Emotional well-being is not solely about avoiding negative emotions but also about fostering a healthy emotional balance.
Importance of Emotional Wellness In Children
I interact with teenagers and young adults on a daily basis because of the nature of my work and I know that they are under tremendous pressure. It reflects in their behaviour. Most come to me feeling nervous and are not able to share easily. It is a highly competitive world out there. They feel this pressure a lot.
I strongly believe that while academics and extracurricular activities play a significant role in a child’s development, nurturing emotional intelligence and resilience is equally, if not more, essential. As parents and caregivers, fostering emotional wellness in our children lays a strong foundation for their overall well-being and success in the future. Children who are emotionally well-adjusted tend to have better self-esteem, improved social skills, and a higher likelihood of developing healthier relationships.
That brings me to the topic of my blog post,
Can Emotional Wellness Be Ingrained In Our Kids and How?
Encourage Open Communication:
Create a safe and open environment where children feel comfortable expressing their emotions without judgement. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and concerns. One effective method that I have learnt after speaking with experts is to have this weekly circle time wherein all family members sit in a circle and just share. This is not a time to give solutions but to just listen to each other.
Teach children about different emotions and how to label them. Reading books and using age-appropriate resources can be helpful in this regard.
Help children understand the emotions of others by discussing feelings and perspective-taking. Engage in activities that promote empathy and compassion.
Teach children effective problem-solving strategies to manage their emotions and resolve conflicts. Encourage them to brainstorm solutions to their challenges.
Share stress-reduction techniques with your children, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation. Practice these techniques together.
Celebrate your child’s emotional successes and provide positive feedback when they handle challenging situations well. This reinforces their emotional growth.
Set a Positive Example:
Children learn a lot by observing their parents and caregivers. Model healthy emotional regulation and conflict resolution in your own interactions.
Seek Professional Help:
If you notice persistent emotional issues in your child, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a mental health professional. Early intervention can make a significant difference.
Emotional wellness is not something that magically develops in children; it requires intentional nurturing. Remember that emotional wellness is an ongoing process, and as parents and caregivers, we have a vital role to play in fostering it. By providing a supportive environment and the necessary tools, we can empower our children to lead fulfilling, emotionally balanced lives.
Oh, I forgot to share. You must be wondering how I performed in my boards. I scored 94 in Science and 89 in Maths, chose commerce for further studies and became a teacher, now a career counsellor so that I can be that mentor to my students, one who understands them, doesn’t judge them based on their academic performance and gives priority to help them become strong individuals who can face life challenges with elan.