OPINION: Raising Emotionally Competent Children

By Lynette Monroe | 2/21/2018, 11:52 a.m.
All parents should feel empowered to teach their children social and emotional development.
All parents should feel empowered to teach their children social and emotional development. Submitted photo
  1. Give Your Child Tangible Heroes

There was a ‘no posters on these walls’ policy in my house. I am almost certain my grandma didn't want posters of celebrities on her wall for respectability devotions. However, the unintended outcome was an elevated perception of self-worth. Since, my grandma never provided me the opportunity to idolize my favorite pop stars, I learned to look to the people around me for role models and guidance. Ultimately, I learned that whatever tools I needed to succeed were already within me. I learned how to control my behavior. I held the sole responsibility for my choices and whenever I felt confused, the first people I looked to for help were in my immediate support system.

  1. Encourage Your Children

I never received a reward for expected behavior. I didn't get taken out for pizza or ice cream for good grades or behavior. Nevertheless, my grandpa never missed an opportunity to show his appreciation for a job well done, either through a big bear hug or a cheesy smile. My grandpa showed his love for me regardless of any accolades I obtained. He made it clear that he loved me; just for me. He told me I was beautiful before anyone else ever got the chance to. On bad days, I still here his voice saying, “That’s a pretty dress there. Twirl around, let me see it all the way around.” In that moment I would feel as if I was the only girl in the world. I felt we had similar interest in pretty dresses and that made him more than just my father figure; that made him my confidant. I credit this experience for my ability to form meaningful relationships.

Neither of my grandparents graduated high school, however they were able to have a profound impact on my academic progress by simply validating my voice, providing a strong support system, and encouraging me regardless of accolades from the outside world.

Learn more about social and emotional development and the Every Student Succeeds Act at nnpa.org/essa.

Lynette is the program assistant for the NNPA’s Every Student Succeeds Act Public Awareness Campaign and a master’s student at Howard University. Her research areas are public policy and national development.