At the heart of the television series Big Little Lies are its children. Though the plot revolves around the lives of three women, the show is also about the lives of their children and how they navigate through ups and downs of life. There is a lot on the platter for children who are just starting school—one is on a mission to find out more about his dad, the other is beaten up by her peer on the first day of school. And then, there are the twins whose father physical abuses their mother.
The premise of the series raises some interesting thoughts about parenting. Parenting goes beyond the convention of providing food, clothing and shelter. It includes the bigger responsibility of raising children to be individuals who are physically fit, intellectually alert and emotionally healthy. Whereas most of us, as parents, give importance to children’s physical and mental wellbeing, seldom do we bother about their emotional wellbeing. And so, in this feature, Soulveda explores the need to raise emotionally healthy children.
Psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman in his foreword to psychological researcher John Gottman’s Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child highlights the need for emotionally healthy children. He writes: “Over the last few decades the number of homicides among teenagers has quadrupled, the number of suicide has tripled, forcible rapes doubled. (…) a nationwide random sample of more than two thousand American children, rated by their parents and teachers—first in the mid-1970s and then in the late 1980s—found a long-term trend for children, on average, to be dropping in basic emotional and social skills.”
Goleman points out that a drop in emotional and social skillsets can be attributed to various factors, one being changing economic realities. The new age economic reforms have forced parents to work to support their families, giving them very less time to spend with children. In addition, nuclear families have become the norm. Various studies and evidences suggest that children generally learn these skills from parents, relatives, neighbours and other children. And so, when we live away from our families, we leave our children with little or no scope to interact with our family or friends. Left alone most of the time, children then resort to spending time glued in front of the TV or computer.
The more we listen to our children’s emotions without judging them, the more we’d build a bond of trust with them.