Protecting Our Children Emotionally

Jennifer seemed like a typical teen and never missed a youth function. She seemed by some to be on an emotional roller coaster, but others thought she was a typical teen. In 2018, she got in her car, logged onto Facebook live and committed suicide in front of all her friends.  No one could help her in time since they could not find her. What a tragic true story!

WAIT!!! How could no one have known that this was coming??  How can a person be in such a desperate, dark emotional state of mind and her parents not see her condition? This roller coaster ride she lived on soon came to a complete stop while shocking all those who knew her.

Way too many kids are emotionally messed up. As we know, teen suicides are increasing because of this. Parents, we MUST know the emotional state of our children at all ages. We cannot take for granted that they are just a typical kid going through a normal stage. We must be certain they are emotional stable. This is the responsibility of all parents.

There are signs to look for in your children to reassure that they are emotionally stable:

1. Watch for signs of depression.

  • Does she prefer to be alone more than with others?
  • Does he stay in his room a lot and not really doing anything?
  • When with others, is she connected or seem to be off somewhere else in her mind?
  • Have his eating habits changed to where he eats very little and does not to eat with the family?
  • Does she have trouble sleeping and does not wake up in a good mood?
  • Are his conversations mostly negative with very little excitement or joy?

2. Watch for triggering signs in their relationships.

  • Does she look forward to being with others or consider it a bore?
  • Are his friends a big part of his life?
  • Does she enjoy family time or seems to be on the outside looking in?

3. Watch for unusual comments that are not normal for them.

  • “I am nobody and have no friends.”
  • “No one would even notice or care if I’m gone.”
  • “I just want to die.”

4. Watch for declining grades.

  • Emotionally unstable kids don’t take school seriously and they don’t seem to mind if their grades are going down.

5. Watch for mood swings.

  • Do they hit bottom too fast and too often?

As you probably know, if they have been introduced to pornography, alcohol or drugs then their emotional state can be altered. This may make them feel guilty, scared and unstable. They may think that the only way out is death. Make certain they are not dealing with any of these things, but if so, seek help for them.

How do we protect our children emotionally?

1. Do some investigative work to be certain they are not involved in things we talked about earlier or in emotionally abusive relationships.

  • If you have to shield them from certain friends or family members that are influencing them in a negative way, just do it!! Their lives and eternity are more important than who they hang with.
  • If you have to change schools or homeschool them to protect them, by all means consider this as an option.
  • If you have to move from a neighborhood that is surrounded by bad influences, it will be worth the expense and effort. Whatever you have to do to protect them emotionally – just do it!

We cannot allow our kids to be victims to Satan’s devices, but we need to protect them as a shield from the darts he throws at them to destroy them.

2. Build up their self-esteem. This is so very important. A child that feels good about themselves will not try other things to fit in so they feel good about themselves.

  • It is the parent’s responsibility to build your child’s self-esteem. You can refer back to the blog Raising Your Child’s Self-Esteem on ways to raise their self-esteem.
  • A child with high self-esteem will be a leader and not a follower.  
  • They will not have to do bad things to feel good about themselves.
  • They will concentrate more on helping others than spending their lifetime trying to like themselves more.
  • Note that if your children have faced separation from a mom or dad because of divorce, they will need counseling from someone capable of showing them how to deal with this drastic change in their lives. Many times they blame themselves. Even though that doesn’t make sense to us, it is the way it often goes.

3. Keep them in the house of God!

  • If the doors of your church are open, make it a point to be there with your kids. They need all of God that they can get while living in this troubled world.
  • Take your child with you when you go to pray in a service. They need to know that God is the answer to all their situations in life and that we need to take our problems to Him since we are not capable of handling it all our own. It brightens my day when I see parents praying with their children – way to go!
  • Keep them involved in activities and ministries that fulfill them. Things like feeding the homeless, ‘adopt’ a missionary kid to encourage, help in work day at your church, do yard work for an elderly couple or whatever you may find to keep them busy doing good and feeling fulfilled.

Parents, we cannot take for granted that since we are emotionally stable that our kids are too. We want them to have an emotional balanced life that will create a stable and happy adult and future parent. Or if you are dealing with low self-esteem or unstable conditions in your own life, please get the help you need now. We cannot expect to be able to help our kids if we are in trouble ourselves. Please love your kids enough to get emotionally stable.

“Those who fear the Lord are secure; He will be a refuge for their children.” Proverbs 14:26 NLT

To Do:  Analyze each of your children one at a time to grade their emotional stability. You will need to know where they are now before you can see what to help them with.

Family Time:  Here is a fun way to teach our kids to do things for others.  Take time with the family to sit down and think of neat things to do for others. Write them on small papers and put them in a jar. Choose one day a week to have everyone draw a paper out of the jar and do what it says. Some examples:  Call Grandma and just tell her you love her. Help a neighbor with a chore. Make your brothers bed. Do the dishes for mom today. Since they helped make the list, it will make it more fun to do them.

Time to Smile:  “It’s clear,” said the teacher, “that you haven’t studied your geography. What’s your excuse?”  “Well, my dad says the world is changing every day. So I decided to wait a little while until it settles down.”

Suggested Reading:  The Art of Parenting by Dennis & Barbara Rainey. This book is a must to read if you desire to to aim your children towards the heart of God. It has so many ideas that you can use to draw your children closer to their Creator.