Better Inner Life for your child

A Better Inner Life for Your Child in School

By Miemie van Loggerenberg

What is a better inner life for your child at school, and why is it important? In the article “What lies at the heart of workplace well-being?” you can read about the inner work life of adults. Similarly, the inner life of school children refers to their inner world of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that arise from their experiences within the school environment. The state of one’s inner life can change from day to day, depending on circumstances and perceptions. It is a complex and dynamic aspect of their lives and is shaped by various internal and external factors.

In this article, we will discuss the following points:

But what are the factors that influence the state of the inner lives of children?

1 The Important factors that affect the inner life of school children

The following are the most central factors that affect inner lives at school.

a) Peer relationships 

One of the most critical factors that affect the inner life of school children is their relationships with peers. The quality of their interactions with other children significantly impacts their emotional well-being. Positive relationships with peers foster feelings of acceptance, belonging, and connection. On the other hand, negative experiences can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

b) Relationships with teachers

Another critical aspect of the inner life of school children is their relationship with teachers. Teachers are crucial in shaping a child’s emotional and academic development. Positive teacher-student relationships enhance feelings of trust, support, and motivation. However, negative interactions lead to feelings of disengagement and stress.

c) Academic demands

The academic demands of school also contribute to the inner life of children. They may experience stress and anxiety related to academic performance, homework, and grades. Stress can be exacerbated by a lack of support from teachers or resources to address these issues.

Better Inner Life for your child

d) School environment

In addition, the school environment has a significant impact on the inner life of children. School climate, policies, and culture shape a child’s sense of safety, belonging, and self-esteem. Adverse experiences like bullying or exclusion can lead to feelings of shame, anxiety, and depression.

Given these points, you can see the inner life of school children is multifaceted and dynamic. Educators can support students by understanding and addressing the unique challenges and experiences in the school environment. 

2 How a child with a negative inner life might behave at school

A negative inner life can manifest in different ways for each child. These are a few examples of how a child with a negative inner life might behave at school:

Withdrawn and isolated: A child with a negative inner life might struggle to connect with peers and withdraw from social interactions. They may prefer to spend time alone or avoid group activities. 

Disruptive or aggressive behaviour: A child struggling internally may act out in class or during recess. They exhibit anger or frustration by disrupting the class. The child may be verbally or physically aggressive with classmates and teachers or break rules.

Better Inner Life for your child

Poor academic performance: A child with a negative inner life may struggle to focus on their studies or complete tasks. They may lack motivation, struggle with concentration, or feel overwhelmed and unable to meet expectations.

Negative self-talk: The child may have a pessimistic outlook and frequently express negative thoughts about themselves or their abilities. They struggle with low self-esteem or self-worth and are overly critical of themselves.

Physical symptoms: Often, children experiencing inner turmoil exhibit physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue. These symptoms may be caused by stress or anxiety and impact the child’s ability to participate in school activities.

Consult a qualified mental health professional if you are concerned about your child’s well-being. The question is how parents can assist their children in developing a healthy inner life at school.

3 How you can ensure a better inner life for your child

Teaching your child skills to manage challenging situations at school lays the foundation for resilience as an adult. Let us look at some steps you can take.

a) Foster positive relationships 

Help your child develop positive relationships with her peers and teachers. Encourage her to participate in extracurricular activities, support her in social interactions, and advocate for her needs at school. She is more likely to feel supported and accepted by fostering positive relationships. It leads to better emotional well-being.

b) Teach coping skills

Teach her coping skills like deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness. It helps her manage stress and anxiety related to academic performance, social interactions, and other stressors.

c) Promote a healthy lifestyle 

Encourage your child to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in regular physical activity. A healthy lifestyle improves mental and physical health and improves emotional well-being.

d) Stay involved

You can stay involved in your child’s academic and social life by attending school events, volunteering in the classroom, and communicating regularly with teachers. It will help you identify potential issues early on and provide support when needed.

e) Encourage positive self-talk

Model positive self-talk and encourage your child to think positively about herself and her abilities. Positive self-talk improves self-esteem and promotes a healthy inner life.

Better Inner Life for your child

f) Talk to your child

Discuss challenging situations and solutions to problems that may arise. Listen to your child and validate her feelings. Never judge!

You help your child thrive in the school environment and beyond by supporting your child in these ways. It is an investment in her future.

What do you do to ensure a better inner life for your child? How do you support your child in challenging situations? Please share with us in the comments below.


American Psychological Association. (2018, March). The inner life of school children. Monitor on Psychology. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/03/inner-life-school

Child Mind Institute. (n.d.). Helping kids develop inner strength. Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/article/helping-kids-develop-inner-strength/

Harvard Graduate School of Education. (2017, November). Supporting students’ inner lives. HGSE. https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/17/11/supporting-students-inner-lives

National Education Association. (n.d.). Supporting students’ inner lives. NEA. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/supporting-students-inner-lives

The Center for Social and Emotional Education. (n.d.). The inner life of students. CSEE. https://www.csee.org/blog/inner-life-of-students

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