Are YOU a Professional At Parenting?

Becoming professional means becoming a conscious ­parent—that is, possessing a set of core values and applying them to parenting in a systematic and consistent way. The following discussion involves four essential elements of professionalism taken from Dr. Gerald Newmark’s best-selling book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children…Meeting the Five Needs of Children and Parents Too!

Image1) Making Conscious Decisions

When parents possess a clear set of core values, they are less likely to work at cross-purposes or to misunderstand each other’s actions or motives. It gives focus to their par­enting activities and increases the probability that they will act more effectively.  The initial step in making the five critical needs of children an effective part of family life is to solidify this intent with the following conscious decisions:

Adopting the Five Critical Needs

I will adopt the five critical needs as core values to guide my behavior as follows:

1. By treating my children with as much respect as I would want to receive and give.

2. By treating my children in ways that enhance their feeling of being important.

3. By accepting my children as unique, independent indi­viduals entitled to their own ideas, feelings, thoughts, and opinions.

4. By helping my children feel a sense of community—creating family activities in which they are involved and viewing our family as a “Learning Community.”

5. By increasing my children’s feeling of security through role-modeling a loving, respectful relationship with my spouse or, if a single parent, with the significant others in my life.

2) Having a Game Plan

Changing habits or starting new habits is not easy. Many good intentions break down because they never get converted to action.  The idea is to make a commitment and get started immediately, even if only in a small way. As you gradually start doing things in a more systematic way, it will become easier and you will want to do more.

3) Becoming a Student of Your Own Behavior

Asking one another for feedback is rare among family members, nor does it occur to parents to have regular family feedback sessions to talk about what’s happening in their lives and how to make them better. Cultivate a positive attitude (all feedback is useful).  View criticism as an act of friendship and concern, not hostility.  If you agree with it, use it to take positive ­action.  If you disagree, take the opportunity to clarify and clear the air.  Engaging in the feedback activities has the potential for being one of the most interesting and valuable experiences of family life.  In a future article we’ll provide a tool for studying your own behavior.

 4) Having an Experimental Attitude

Accepting life as one big experiment, the family becomes a fertile and special laboratory to conduct your very own re­search on how to create an emotionally healthy environment in which the individuals are both the experimenters and the subjects.  As you look at your own behavior and identify something you did well, you might then choose to try different ways to expand on this or, for something you didn’t do well, ways to improve. Starting family meetings early in the process is important. This is where you emphasize the concept of the family as a community and what that means in terms of responsibilities to one another and for one’s own well-being.

In this article, we stressed the importance of becoming a conscious, thoughtful parent, of not leaving parenting to chance. The goal of developing emotionally healthy children involves making your child’s emotional needs a priority, ap­plying the four elements of professionalism as a strategy, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle by not neglecting your own personal needs. 

Satisfying a child’s five critical emotional needs will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available in paperback and ebook in both English and Spanish.

***Visit us at The Children’s Project, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***


LOVE is an action word

In How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, Dr. Gerald Newmark defines the five critical emotional needs of children – and parents, too – as:

    The need to feel INCLUDED
    The need to feel RESPECTED
    The need to feel IMPORTANT
    The need to feel ACCEPTED
    The need to feel SECURE

Perhaps you have asked yourself, “What about love? Why hasn’t love been included as one of the five critical needs of children?” It was omitted purposefully, not because it lacks importance—on the contrary, it is extremely important—but rather because the word “love” has lost some of its force and meaning through overuse and misuse.

In many cases, saying the words “I love you” has become trite, meaningless, or confusing. In a scene from the movie Nuts, a conversation takes place between a mother and her estranged daughter: The mother says to the daughter, “You know we love you sweetheart, don’t you? Didn’t we always tell you we loved you?” To which the daughter replies angrily, “Love? What do you know about love? You told me you loved me, but you never showed me you did.” Yes, there is a difference.

There are parents who abuse or neglect their children and then say, “I love you,” thinking it makes up for their behavior. Too often, love is equated with saying “I love you.” If saying “I love you” were enough, we might not have such a high divorce rate. Marriages don’t break up because a spouse stops saying “I love you.” They break up because spouses quit treating each other in a loving way.

Most parents love their children or so we assume. However, we cannot assume from this that most parents act in a loving way. Dr. Newmark’s answer to “What about love?” is that loving your child is essential and saying “I love you” is important, but neither is sufficient unless you act in a loving way. That is why he defines “acting in a loving way” as relating to children in ways that make the child feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure—that’s the best way to say, “I love you.”

Our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook in both English and Spanish.

***As always, you can visit us at The Children’s Project website, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***

Feel Better or Bitter – It’s Always Your Choice, by Maddisen Krown

Feel Better or Bitter – It’s Always Your Choice by Maddisen Krown

Dear Maddisen:

I’m in my 30’s, but I still find myself feeling really angry at my father for all the stuff he did and didn’t do when I was a kid, and for how oblivious he still is about all of that. He’s such an unhappy person. And guess what, so am I. How can I free myself from this bitter prison? And how do I not pass this on to my own kids? AL

Maddisen Krown, Huffington Post columnist and Life Coach, responds to this reader’s question in her Ask Maddisen column at

photo from Ask Maddison column (

photo from Ask Maddison column (

We are thrilled that Maddisen’s response mentions Dr. Newmark and recommends our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.

Her response is very affirming, gentle, and includes simple and concrete exercises (such as a forgiveness exercise) to “transform anger and unhappiness into happiness and more inner peace.”

She also reminds us that “We always have the freedom to choose thoughts, feelings, and actions that support our well being and the well being of all concerned. We can choose to feel better, not bitter.”

She recommends How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children when talking about “supporting the happiness of your own children.

“Childrearing is too important to leave to chance!” This is what Dr. Gerald Newmark writes in his groundbreaking book, “How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children”. I’ve read Dr. Newmark’s book, and I highly recommend it whether you have children or not! His basic thesis is that all children (and teens and adults – all people) have five critical needs that are essential to their emotional health. These are the need to feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure. His book presents a philosophy of parenting and an action-oriented strategy based on the five critical needs. It’s simple, powerful, and effective!

I highly recommend reading the entire column! You can find it here.

Go to to purchase a paperback copy or ebook ($2.99) of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.

***As always, you can visit us at The Children’s Project website, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***

Review and Giveaway of “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children”!

Desiree Pollack, a certified Doula over at Pure Bliss Birth, reviewed our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children by Gerald Newmark, PhD, and is conducting a GIVEAWAY of a paperback copy!
Ms. Pollack begins with a quote from the book

“We know how to send people into space and produce incredible advances in science, electronics and medicine. However, when it comes to living peacefully and treating one another in emotionally healthy ways, we seem to be at a loss.” – Dr. Newmark

And goes on to say

How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children raises your consciousness about the problem, the emotional neglect of children’s needs, this book is a practical resource for parents, teachers, social workers and all others who work directly or even in-directly with children. It’s a way to create emotionally healthy environments for our children and ourselves.”

***Read the rest of the review and enter for your chance to get a free copy of the book!*** (Enter by June 2nd for a chance to win!)

Thanks, Desiree, for your commitment to Emotionally Healthy Children!!!

As always, you can visit us at The Children’s Project website, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!

Emotionally Healthy Children Don’t Join Gangs

What leads to success in life? One of the most important factors — even more so than intelligence — is emotional health.

Bob Brunson, LMFT, Monterey County Behavioral Health

Bob Brunson, LMFT, Monterey County Behavioral Health

It’s lack of emotional health that leads some kids to join gangs. It’s why many use drugs or become pregnant too young. So says Bob Brunson, a licensed marriage and family therapist who manages the Monterey County Behavioral Health Services Department. In the following interview, Brunson explains the critical importance of raising emotionally healthy children. [Continue reading]

[The article above is an interview with Bob Brunson, Board member of The Children’s Project – How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children. It was written by Ellen Wrona and appeared in The Salinas Californian]

Emotional-Health-Friendly Cities: What Does That Mean, and How do We Get There!

by Dr. Gerald Newmark, author of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, and co-founder of The Children’s Project

What is an Emotional-Health-Friendly City?

It is a city whose citizens have developed an understanding of how important emotional health is to success in life and how the neglect of emotional health in our homes and schools has jeopardized the future of our children, families and communities.


“Romancing the Road” by Victor Anunez, Guadalajara, Mexico

It is a city whose citizens have adopted five critical emotional needs—respected, important, accepted, included and secure—as a unifying concept around which all elements of the city can rally to create emotionally healthy environments where adults interact with children in emotionally healthy ways.

It is a city that provides its families and individuals, a small book with a big idea, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children” by Gerald Newmark, Ph.D., in which the concepts of the five critical emotional needs first saw the light of day.

It is a city, which in collaboration with The Children’s Project, makes the book available to all individuals at a cost that everyone can afford.

It is a city where all the elements—business, education, civic and community agencies, the at-risk community, the young and old, rich and poor can come together to learn and practice a language of unity in a collaborative attempt to achieve peace and prosperity.

The feeling of being a part of something that has significance beyond one’s self, with strong implications for schools and families, education and cities nationwide, is expected to raise the morale of all participants throughout the city.

Read about Salinas, CA, our first Emotionally Friendly City!

Our book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook in both English and Spanish.

The Children’s Project