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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Emotional Climate Change

family
Sandy Millar
/
Unsplash

I’d like to talk about “Emotional Climate Change.” As emotional beings, our initial context for expressing emotions is our families of origin. This natural system involves roles and interactions that develop into patterns of behavior between family members. These patterns significantly influence each person’s development into their adulthood.*

For example, two parents constantly argue, creating a tense family climate. How does this affect their children? Typically, one child develops a troublesome behavioral problem. Another child may try to be the “good child” to not attract attention. One or both parents turn their focus on the difficult child. This may give relief to their tense relationship. However, it distracts them from dealing responsibly with their own troubled relationship. But, if these parents begin recognizing the impact of their own dysfunctions on the family and work on relieving these tensions, the family emotional climate can become more settled and healthy for all.

Here’s what’s interesting. Emotional climate dynamics also play out in organizations, including churches, corporations and all levels of government. If leaders recognize an often knee-jerk reactivity to people and tensions – shaped largely in their families of origin – they can change anxious organizational climates by staying calm, thoughtful, and open to creative deliberations. Increasing emotional maturity promotes healthy interactions where diverse ideas and cultures are listened to, even amidst tensions and challenges. Emotional climate change from families to societal systems can foster mature decision-making and hope for the future.

I’m Connie Seraphine and that is my perspective on emotional climate change.