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Raising Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Included

Submitted by on March 6, 2013 – 3:09 pmOne Comment

Dad Talking to Daughter

Fourth in a Series of Articles on Raising Emotionally Healthy Children


Guest Post from The Children’s Project

Feeling Included is a fourth critical emotional need of children.  They need to feel they belong, to feel a part of things, to feel connected to other people, to have a sense of community.  That’s why kids join cliques, gangs, clubs and teams – to satisfy that need to belong.

Engage in Family Activities

People who do things together feel closer to one another.  Family activities offer a way to become closer and to also have fun, learn and contribute to others.  Identifying strongly with the family unit makes children more resistant to outside, negative influences and more open to positive role models within the family.  Obviously children can’t be included in everything, but we need to make a conscious effort to include children in deciding on family activities that appeal to all.  When activities are repeated on a regular basis, they can become traditions and rituals that further satisfy the need to feel included and secure.

Tell Kids About Your Work

Including children in your work life has multiple benefits, also.  Describe to them where you work, what you do, with whom you work and how you feel about your work and your fellow workers.  If possible, take them to work – and encourage them to ask questions and ask their opinion.  If you work at home or have your own business, introduce them to client s and co-workers and possibly have them do some work for you and with you.

Take the Time to Communicate With Your Child

Communication is another key tool to having children feel included.  Parent-child communications too often are brief, fleeting, dull, or haphazard.  Consequently, despite the best intentions, care parents have little understanding of what kids are thinking or feeling.  Meanwhile, children often feel misunderstood and puzzled by parent actions and frustrated by what they feel are attempts to control and overprotect them.  The challenge for parents is to move from sporadic, brief interchanges to sustained and substantive dialogue.  Family meetings and especially feedback sessions provide settings and context for this to happen.  This is a regular time set aside to share thoughts and feelings and to discuss “How are we doing as a family and as individuals and what could we be doing differently and better?”   Make a conscious decision to include children in as many choices, discussions, and decisions as possible as part of their everyday lives.

Read the first article in this series: Respect

Read the second article in the series: Important

Read the third article in this series: Acceptance


To learn more about Dr. Newmark and The Children’s Project go to You can also visit us on facebook: and follow our tweets on twitter: @emotionalhealth. To order the book How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children by Dr. Gerald Newmark go to  Available in book, Kindle and audio.



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