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Traditions: Refection of Our Values

Traditions: Reflection of Our Values

At this time of year I often reflect on my traditions, and what they mean to me and my family. Traditions connect one generation with another, bringing shared family values into our daily lives. Our Children learn what we hold dear, what is important and necessary to us, through our incorporation of these values into our home life. Families are as unique as the people within them, and traditions exemplify these differences. John Gottman, author of Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child says, “Rituals symbolize cultural identity and values we share with our families.” Therefore traditions, whether inspired by holidays or daily life, are important for emotional connection within a family.

What constitutes a family tradition or ritual? How can parents incorporate them into their very busy lives? Many rituals are already a part of the day whether we consciously know it or not. For instance: Bedtime routines may include classical music, favorite books or special words repeated nightly, or meals may be “special” on Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Families come to rely on these comforting words or actions, uniting them through shared activity. Some traditions however, need to be thought out and take deliberate planning. Discussing with your co-parent what shared values you want your children to have as they grow, helps with creating rituals to reinforce those values. Whether it is sitting down together as a family to eat, having a “no screen night “or taking your kids to the theater for their birthday; what you do with your children will impart your values onto them.

As parents we strive to make our children feel happy, safe and secure; incorporating purposeful events that reoccur and specified time gives them a sense of security, while the anticipation of the event provides the happiness. As we enter this holiday season, let us be conscious of the traditions we want to incorporate into our children’s lives.

“Children remember the moments that happen again and again… the rituals that they can count on and make them feel safe and loved. Rituals and traditions can stay with them forever.” Galinsky 2001

Social Emotional Development: Creating a Secure Base for Our Children

Children need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. As parents it is our job to make sure those safety nets and secure routines are in place. Creating an environment that offers positive social emotional experiences is essential for the rich relationships that children need in order to grow and development into their best selves. Social emotional development is the foundation by which our children learn about emotions, self- esteem, self -awareness and self- control.

When our babies are born they have the ability to see exactly as far as they need to: your face. From the safety of your arms your baby sees your face and feels your emotions. This connection allows for a mutually regulated system between you and your baby. You give love, you feed and keep them safe and warm, and they respond and regulate to you. That give and take begins at birth and should be nurtured and enhanced throughout their life.

The Center for the Study of Social Policy states, “These dimensions of social emotional competence do not evolve naturally. The course of social emotional development whether healthy or unhealthy – depends on the quality of nurturing attachment and stimulation that a child experiences.”

Relationships matter. Creating routines that incorporate your culture and values helps to give your child a sense of self within the context of the family. Including them and their interests further that goal. When a child feels secure and safe in his own environment and within the context of the family relationship, he is more prepared to make other connections, both social and cognitive.

What We Can Do:

Create predictable routines. Center those routines on daily regulatory needs like eating, sleeping, bathing and dressing.

Know and accept your child’s temperament.

Accept and show emotions (modeling emotion can help a child understand theirs)

Repair any rupture that occurs during the day

Create a time to chat daily and go over the day’s activities ( positive and negative) in a supportive way

Offer rich opportunities for your child to interact with others and with you.

About this Blog

The HRC Blog will be a place for sharing information on special topics of interest such as family support, early childhood development, etc. Submit blog entries to Nancy.Spiegel@harborrc.org.

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