Is it common that a person may forget to brush their teeth and get dressed each day? In most cases, absolutely not! However, as important as it is to remember these daily self-care practices, the value of families and individuals having regular experiences of positive emotions is not often at the top of their “to-do” lists.
U.S. families are often bombarded with the pressures of maintaining occupational and financial sufficiency, along with endless maintenance of each member’s basic daily needs and responsibilities. In response, families may often devalue having consistent positive feelings and thoughts, individually and with their loved ones.
In the seventh addition of The Process of Parenting, Jane Brooks (1999) offers insightful information about how experiencing positive emotions can successfully enhance a person’s behavior. Several of the emotions discussed are:
1. Joy – Joy is been shown to be a promoter of play and creativity
2. Interest – Interest has been said to encourage one to explore and learn
3. Contentment- Contentment has fostered a person’s appreciation for their experiences and awareness of how these experiences have been important to their growth
4. Pride – Pride is said to construct one’s connections with others and share with them what has been accomplished
5. Love – Love is the amalgam (mixture) of all positive emotions that are experienced in relationships with others. Love is what encourages and nurtures play, creativity, exploration, and learning together.
Devoted parents strive for their children to stay safe, physically healthy, and to maintain appropriate behavior like saying “please” and “thank you”, sharing toys, waiting their turns, and picking up after themselves. Of course, these are all important parental responsibilities. However, providing opportunities for their families to have regular experiences of positive emotions should also be considered an important and consistent task.
The wonderful feeling of Joy, for example, can be experienced by a father and his two sons any evening of the week through active, interactional “rough housing” play at home, that fosters hearty laughter and exercise (Please view the video of this example provided).
The proud mother and wife of this family also experiences joy through graciously observing. In conclusion to this idea, it is important to remember that the simplest moments of interaction can create these wonderful emotions in families which promotes and protects their well-being and solidarity, individually and holistically.