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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5 thoughts on “Are you an emotionally available parent?

  1. My grandson (13 yrs) has told me of his fears (in confidentiality)and his inability to deal with them, unfortunately I am not able to help him. Could we communicate in private (via email) to discuss some of his fears? I do understand that you are a busy person but I am at a loss on how to help him.

    • Hi Ayrrant,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! its good to know your grandson feels he can confide in you, its very important when children are able trust someone close with their private thoughts. I would be happy to help through my website and address as i also offer online therapy. my address is drtammyhaynes.com or email drtammyhaynes@gmail.com

  2. Excellent site you have here but I was curious about
    if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

  3. Proximal Abandonment as in emotional unavailability is also happen in the work-place . The tendency to ignore/neglect persons who are having work related stress .WHO catchphrase ” there is no health without mental health” should be a priority in any life setting. This is almost always lead to negligence by not giving financial support for any mental health project.

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