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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Your child needs your encouragement

Your child needs your encouragement

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Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A., J.D. AYA ENELI 

It was 10:30 p.m. and my phone was vibrating again. I took a quick glance and noted it was my first daughter. For an instant, I thought to myself, “Ain’t nobody got time for this. I am exhausted.” But, I quickly challenged that thought. If I don’t have and won’t make time to meet their emotional needs, what then do I expect them to do? Who will fill their tanks and with what?
It had been a long day. Two clients had called with crisis they needed me to help resolve. Some of my business partners had requested and received some one-on-one training to help them meet their goals. My washing machine malfunctioned. Two other children needed help working through some challenges. I felt like I had been giving all day and I was all given out, or so I thought.
I picked up the phone knowing that whatever issue my daughter had on the other end of the line, most of all she needed to be validated. We all need to know that we matter. We will (even as very young children) need the security that comes from knowing that someone really cares about us. When our emotional tanks are not filled at home, we will look elsewhere to have it filled and sadly the options are not always positive.
While many children are thriving, there are too many children who are languishing and therefore more vulnerable to the despots in our society primarily because they are not receiving the love, attention and security they need from their loved ones.
According to a recent study, young men with high self-esteem shared some common childhood influences. There were three major characteristics of their families. (1) The high-esteem group was clearly more loved and appreciated at home than the low-esteem group. (2) The high-esteem group came from homes where parents had been significantly more strict in their approach to discipline. By contrast, the parents of the low-esteem group had created insecurity and dependence through their permissiveness. Their children were more likely to feel that the rules were not enforced because no one cared enough to get involved. (3) The homes of the high-esteem group were also characterized by democracy and openness. Once the boundaries were established, there was freedom for individual personalities to grow and develop. Thus, the overall atmosphere was marked by acceptance and emotional safety.
The impact of adult expectations and interaction on a child’s success is well-documented. In Harvard social psychologist Robert Rosenthal’s classic study, all the children in one San Francisco grade school were given a standard I.Q. test at the beginning of the school year. The teachers were told the test could predict which students could be expected to have a spurt of academic and intellectual functioning. The researchers then drew names out of a hat and told the teachers that these were the children who had displayed a high potential for improvement. The teachers assumed they had been selected because of their test performance and treated these children as special children.
According to the results, first graders whose teachers expected them to advance intellectually jumped 27.4 points compared to the children labeled with lower IQ’s who only improved by four points. One child who had been classified as mentally retarded with an I.Q. of 61, scored 106 after his selection as a late bloomer.
This study and many others shows the impact parents and other adults have on how a child him or herself and ultimately behaves. Every child benefits from someone who loves and believes in him.
So, the next time your child seems to be having an attitude, the next time you see that longing in their eyes as you are whizzing through your to-do-list, the next time they start to say something and stop and say “never mind,” the next time you see them so engrossed on the phone or a video game to the oblivion of everyone and everything else, the next time they try to mouth of at you, DON’T GET UPSET! Your child’s emotional tank may just be teetering on empty and they need you to care enough to stop, put aside your own issues and fill their tank. Tell and show them they matter. Make your child’s well-being a priority.
Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney and is a candidate for Killeen School Board. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. Follow her on Twitter @Ayaeneli, on Facebook at or e-mail her at


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