Bob Brunson: How to raise kids who won't join gangs

Book cover: How to raise emotionally healthy childrenFrom the Salinas Californian (and see the video interview on YouTube): What leads to success in life? One of the most important factors — even more so than intelligence — is emotional 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.

“You can begin right from Day One,” Brunson says. “If you carry your baby, if you hold them, if you sing to them and read to them, they will feel secure and important” — and children who feel that way seldom end up in gangs.

QUESTION: How do you define emotional health?

ANSWER: Emotional Health is the ability to have a good self-concept and to connect with other people. The single most important driving force in a human being is the need to love and be loved. It is a stronger motivating factor than anything else. If you are unable to connect emotionally, you are not going to have a very fulfilled life in any area: home, work, school, or relationships.

News Item Publication Date: 
Monday, April 22, 2013