Most children today survive, but many do not thrive.
Childhood is about laying down the best possible roots, so that as adults we can flower and blossom. A ‘good-enough’ childhood is the greatest gift a child can have. Every parent wants the best for their child. Yet still, so many children are struggling physically or emotionally.
This blog will not tell you what the best type of child care is, or how to get your children to sleep through the night. It will not give you a list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. Neither will it tell you how many hours per day you should allow your teenager to be on a screen.
What it will do is discuss the nature of children. How every one of them differs and has their own unique needs. It will put a spotlight on common practices and ask questions about whether or not they are serving our children. It will focus on underlying principles and philosophies, rather than the day to day minutiae of children’s lives.
How do we raise children so that they grow up physically healthy and emotionally robust?
Bringing up children has become overly complicated. Well-intentioned parents struggle to make sense of the huge amounts of conflicting advice. Many forego their parental instincts due to societal pressure to parent in a certain way. In regards to the health of our children, it seems that every day there is a new recommendation, often one which contradicts yesterday’s.
This means that we often end up putting our focus on the micro details of our children’s daily lives, at the expense of the overall picture. For example, we worry about our child’s current reluctance to eat broccoli, rather than supporting him or her to create a lifelong healthy relationship with food and eating.
Despite the wealth of advice available, we somehow find ourselves with a generation of children, many of whom are unhappy and/or chronically ill.
Thanks to improved living conditions and the progress of modern medicine, childhood mortality rates in the developed world have fallen dramatically. At the same time, chronic health problems in children are on the rise. Many children are beleaguered by respiratory and food allergies, asthma, stomach ache, headaches or chronic fatigue syndrome. The rise in childhood mental health problems is exponential.
I believe that the best thing we can do for our children is lay the strongest physical, psychological and emotional foundations we can. This gives them the greatest chance of living their best life as an adult.
Nurturing the Young is informed by the philosophy underpinning Chinese medicine. It explores what application this has to 21st century Western childhoods and, where relevant, backs it up with modern research and science. It is not prescriptive but puts forward considerations and, I hope, will inspire reflection.