Raising an Emotionally Sane Child in a World Full of Pain

     Oliveira is passionate about children and helping parents have the support they need to do their very best. She believes that parents usually mean well. They need guidance, not harsh criticism. Many times, their inner child is also hurt.

     Another common concern parents have is when children tell “lies.” “When children start telling fibs, parents can get worried or upset. They need to know that’s just a consequence of their children’s social development. It means they are now able to realize what people would like to hear–a vital social skill. While kids shouldn’t be encouraged to lie, parents should gently nudge them in the right direction instead of acting disappointed. Young kids still don’t understand the effects of saying something that isn’t true,” Oliveira said.

     What about tantrums? How should parents act when their children are making a scene at the supermarket? “Temper tantrums are simply a sign that the child ‘lost it.’ I’m sure everyone feels like ‘losing it’ sometimes. Small kids are not developed enough to worry about what others are going to think. We don’t need to give children everything they want. We just need to empathize with them and guide them back,” she said.

     Oliveira’s advice is backed up by consistent scientific evidence. It is also a consensus among modern specialists, such as Harvey Karp. He is the famous author of “The Happiest Toddler on the Block.” According to him, it is our role to rescue children from their emotions, instead of shaming them for expressing them.

     With more and more people choosing to be childfree, does that mean they don’t have a role in all this? According to Wildermann, they most certainly do! Not having children is a personal choice and thinking about the future of the planet is a noble cause. Nobody should feel excused from being kind to a child, however.  “Treating children badly will not discourage parents from having them. If we really care about the future, we should be kind to those that will be here after we are gone. We should make sure they grow up to care,” Wildermann said.

     It seems we have a lot to learn if we want the next generations to be emotionally healthier than we are. “We can be grateful for everything our parents did and still strive to do better,” Wildermann said. “Maybe you are a functional adult, with a job, a social life and a sense of purpose. That’s because of the things your parents did right. Not thanks to the things they did wrong. Focus on the good, change the bad,” she said. At the end of the day, we can all be to a child the person we needed in our lives when we were younger.