How to Practice “Psychological Safety” at Home

Parents do a lot to make sure their kids are safe, but how often do you think about your children’s mental and emotional security? “Psychological Safety” is a term often used by HR professionals about the workplace, but seeking it at home can help build healthy family relationships. By making your home psychologically safe, you can boost your family member’s self esteem, improve their confidence, and strengthen your trust in each other! 

What is Psychological Safety?

When used to describe a work environment, psychological safety is the level of confidence that employees have that they won’t face punishment, demotion, or other negative consequences for being authentic and honest. It gives people the confidence to speak up when something isn’t working right, or suggest a new idea to the team. 

A psychologically safe workplace is a highly productive team environment where people enjoy collaborating and coming up with solutions to tricky situations. It’s successful because no one feels as if they have to hold back to avoid feeling of ashamed or embarrassed. All contributions are valued, and no one is belittled.

Building Confidence and Building Bonds

To apply the idea of psychological safety to your family, you don’t have to measure success in dollars and sales as a company would. The emotional benefits of a safe environment for being authentic are the rewards, too! Parents and children alike will enjoy less stress and happier relationships when the family works to make the home a safe place to express themselves. Instead of worrying about the negative consequences of saying something wrong, your family can focus on building each other up, boosting their confidence and strengthening your love for each other.

Emotional Security Creates Better Behavior

Kids act out for many reasons, and sometimes it seems like they act out for no reason at all! But child psychologists say that “bad” behavior from children is often a form of attention seeking, even if the attention is negative like yelling or other punishments. Children who are misbehaving around their parents may just be looking for unconditional love! The more secure they feel in your love for them, the less they will feel like they need to act out on impulses for negative attention. 

What does it look like, day to day? 

Every family is different, so homes that are psychologically safe will be very different from each other, too. But the one thing they have in common is that they are full of love. To create an environment that is psychologically safe, work to eliminate put-downs between parents and kids, you and your spouse, and between siblings. Build each other up instead of calling each other names or belittling each other. If someone makes a mistake, demonstrate that you still love them no matter what. Show your kids that they can come to you if they mess up, and try not to yell at them in anger. If you’re feeling strong emotions of anger or sadness, make it normal to take a step back from the conversation and come back to it when everyone is calmer. Try not to withdraw love and affection from a situation when you feel like someone has messed up. 

The more your family reassures each other that their love is unconditional, the better off you’ll all be.