Are you an emotionally available parent?

Family time

What on earth is Emotional availablity? simply its being present emotionally, not distracted by your Blackberry, TV, I phone, computer or money. Not concerned and anxious about what happened yesterday, or last week or worrying about what will happen in an hour, a day or next week.

Present, here, available. Here to play, learn, interact and observe our children.

Research shows emotional unavailability towards our children equates to proximal abandonment. There is physical abandonment and emotional abandonment.

Physical abandonment is primary while emotional abandonment is proximal. You are in the child’s presence but your mind is “on the other side of town” as a line from a famous old song goes. The x-box, TV, PSP, Internet, DS become the alternative “parent” serving as the sounding board for the expression of needs and vehicle of learning.

A reader asked how do we spot mental illness and do something before it’s too late? By being emotionally available is one simple beginning.

Don’t get it twisted, emotional availability is not giving in to every whim or desire. I recall a parent that literally said they give or buy their child everything they want because they can’t be there as much as they would like. This parent wanted to know why their child still was not satisfied and not behaving well.

Truth be told children thrive on your emotional availability. This is how they the learn to trust the world, understand how to operate in it well and pass on their own emotional availability to their offspring and to each other.

Emotional unavailability is but one of the root causes of addiction, mental illness, and low emotional intelligence– degradation of an ability to function emotionally. We usually spend time in our own minds (me, me,me) and are in a hurry, instead of being here and being with our children and each other.

Psychologist, Dr. Daniel Goleman, a officionado on emotional intelligence, speaks at TED on being present and stepping outside of your world. We can learn a bit more on compassion which totally requires the presence of mind here as well.

So Go on! get up get your kids and get outside! Me included.

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