A Q&A with Action Jackson
by Action Jackson on May 27
How important is it for parents and carers to recognise their child’s emotions?
Emotions can be an immensely powerful force, as human beings we experience a range of them and sometimes as adults it’s very difficult to handle and manage them all. From excitement to sadness and sometimes even anger these emotions have a way of controlling our lives. Helping our children to understand their emotions is critical. Failure to do so may result in them not being able to control the force of emotion.
Take for example anger – this is quite normal for anyone but if you don’t know what to do with it, it has the tendency to consume you and you could almost begin to define yourself as an angry person. What’s important is to understand that we have emotions, we are not our emotions, and we must not be ruled by them. We should be led by love and other emotions that help us to understand one another. If parents and carers can learn how to first of all control their own emotions, it becomes easy for them to support their kid’s emotions.
In what way could a parent/carer respond to their child’s emotions?
Empathy plays a great part in helping a child to understand their emotions. I like to create characters for each emotion, and I also like to give them names. Now when a child understands that every emotion is a character that they can control, they are able to take a proactive approach to handling those very emotions. We can help children understand that emotions come in different ways and a child should not feel strange when they feel an emotion. They can be taught to have primary base emotions and if they come off the base they shouldn’t feel scared, but instead create a command such as I have emotions. I am not my emotions. I will not be controlled by my emotions when I feel angry or sad.
Is it important for parents and carers to celebrate the ‘wins’ for their child?
Celebrating small wins reinforces success habits. We all have an innate need to feel significant and connected and whenever we celebrate the small wins for a child it helps them to understand that they carry great value. Society has a way of focusing on the negative but the more we focus on the positive and the small wins of life it helps us to feel that there is hope in all that we do and we are capable of achieving greatness. This is important for our children as they venture into the world of uncertainty. The confidence to know that they can achieve whatever they want is crucial and celebrating small wins helps them to understand that there is always a reward at the end of hard work. Celebrating small wins also has a psychological and a biological impact on a child. Whenever we celebrate their wins, it releases chemicals in the body that reduce stress, anxiety and depression. These are called endorphins – they also get released when a child is playing a computer game. Once these chemicals are released the brain begins to create an addiction to whatever releases them. So, when you celebrate a small win a child begins to get addicted to the process of success. I couldn’t think of a better thing to get hooked on than winning and learning.
What kind of goals would you suggest to a parent/carer to set for their child?
When it comes to goal setting, a parent should endeavour to set goals that have something to do with kindness and empathy – this goes a long way to building a child’s character. If a child has kindness and empathy as their foundation, any other goal they set becomes easy because kindness and empathy are the makings of great leaders. Aside from the soft skills of kindness and empathy, parents and guardians can help their children set challenging goals. These goals are designed to help them to understand the importance of the process of trying, failing, learning, and repeating. This type of goal helps a child to master resilience. Through setting tough goals and celebrating the progress rather than the win it helps them to see that sometimes in life we may not win, but we will always learn.
How did you start out on your journey to well-being?
My journey to Wellbeing began when I attended a seminar about life mastery. We learnt the important of putting the right food in our body and the impact of exercise and the importance of effective breathing. Since that day I have adopted several habits, such as running regularly, drinking water and only eating at a certain time during the day so that I don’t feel lethargic.
I believe my body is a temple and I must treat it with respect for me to achieve my goals in life. I need my body and my mind to be healthy for me to be able to make an impact in the world. The more I put my wellbeing at the forefront of my daily habits, the more I am able to take full control of my life and live in a wholesome way that inspires the people around me. We are living in a time that is placing a high demand on our time and mental capacity, this means that wellbeing has to be put first. We can’t chop the tree down if the axe is blunt.
Who are your role models and influences?
I am surrounded by many role models and people who have influenced my journey. I am going to talk about my parents. They taught me the importance of love and hard work. These became the foundations for me during my younger years. They gave us strong Christian values such as loving our neighbour and treating others the way we would like to be treated. I believe that these are some of the traits that have helped me to become who I am today. I count my parents as my role models and influence in my life.
We know you have a love of singing – what part can music play in supporting a child’s wellbeing?
It was the great Bob Marley that said, one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. From a very young age, children are able to recognise rhythm and sound. These sounds have a way of changing their state, so when I’m feeling good I play music to lift my mood to another level, when I’m feeling down I play music to lift my emotions to a better place. When supporting a child’s development, music can act as a crucial tool. You can help them to select songs that resonate with their happy place. You could create a happy playlist that they play regularly and dance to – the act of singing and dancing releases the good chemicals that help shape the thinking and the mindset of a child and at early age. Sadly, many teenagers I know often times listen to deep, dark, depressing music because it resonates with how they’re feeling at the time. These types of music don’t help them get out of that vicious cycle. But if we can teach our children how to use music to lift their mood, it will help them control their emotions for the future.
What one thing could parents do to look after their own wellbeing? How important is this for the wellbeing of the child?
If it wasn’t for my parents, I would not be where I am today. This is why it’s so important for parents to look after themselves. Parents or guardians are leaders of the next generation, the lessons parents teach and the character they live is a crucial part in the shaping of the mind of a child’s happiness and success. These character traits are not taught, they are caught. If a child sees an adult drinking water regularly, they sub-consciously pick up that habit.
Looking after yourself as a parent goes a long way. Parents work very hard to make sure that their children are okay, so they deserve to feel great. Like they say on a plane flight, “In case of an emergency, when the mask drops, please put it on yourself first before you put it on your child”. There is nothing noble about being burnt out as parents. REMEMBER YOUR LIFE IS IMPORTANT.
Let your day be filled with sunshine as you listen to Action Jackson talk about the importance of self-belief and leaving a heart print on those around you on the FSF podcast.