With each passing day, children get exposed to various aspects and things every day. They become curious to learn more because of this; they attempt to seek independence and awareness. Parents need to be available for their children during this time and extend their support to them in whatever form is required. Parents need to take their children’s mental health as seriously as their physical health.
Mental health is mental stability or instability that is an emotional, psychological, and social state of mind. It influences one’s behavior, feelings, mood, and thinking. It also affects our choices, reactions to situations, decisions, and how we respond to stress and tension.
Parents must realize that their children can also be overwhelmed by some encounters in their day-to-day life. Therefore, the change in the children’s behavior in correspondence to their personal life might need your attention.
We know that it is not easy for children to open up regarding their mental health with their parents. Hence, we have shared some tips below to help you support your children’s mental health.
1. When to seek professional help?
Sometimes it’s important to consult a mental health professional. Parents must be open-minded in such a situation. If your child’s mental health problems are something you cannot cater to, consult a mental health professional. According to the CDC, only 20% of children with mental health problems get the necessary treatment. However, if you are helping your children move on from trauma, stress, or depression, you should consider seeking professional help, so you do not feel overwhelmed by the information. It is the parent’s responsibility to be wise during such a situation and send their children to a rehab center like Delphi Group that can help your child battle the addiction and mental health disturbance in an intimate setting individually with immense support.
You are the expert on your child; it is crucial for you, as a parent, to take notice of your child’s changed behavior, habits, and attitude. Keep communicating with them and help them find the most suitable way to overcome their issues.
2. Work on your parent-child relationship
You need to have a healthy and open relationship with your children so they can express their feelings without hesitation. The parent should be approachable and welcoming to the children, so they will feel that there will be no judgment. They should have a simple relationship in which they would look up to you to share their emotions. Try to connect with your child and figure out the reason for their depression. Look for clues in their behavior and communicate with them. Consistent communication with your children is important, so they feel comfortable approaching you.
3. Build Trust
Children need to feel safe around their parents to ask for support. The parent’s job is to create an atmosphere in the house where sharing one’s challenges, needs, and struggles is usual. This would motivate the child to be open about their feelings, as they’d learn from the household. The child must know that the parent trusts them and that their feelings are respected. The trust would naturally limit mental health challenges for children, too, as they would share their problems with their parents and be supported initially.
4. Share some coping mechanisms
Transition is difficult to accept and move on from, especially for the little ones. Parents should talk to their children about ways to overcome depression, stress, anxiety, or similar situations. Some effective coping mechanisms that you can share with your child are as follows:
- Meditation: peaceful mind exercises are important for children to clear their headspace and focus on the rightfulness of the mind. This helps to remain calm.
- Mindfulness: is another mental exercise to focus on your present moment without any evaluation.
- Physical activity: like outdoor exercises, running, etc., helps avoid stress and anxiety. It helps the child focus on the present.
- Creative activities: if the child invests their mind in other activities, they will tend to forget the stressful situation. Putting their minds into creative activities like do-it-yourself projects will require productive thinking from them.
Change is hard for children, so talk to them about how they can cope with stress, fear, and anxiety like exercising, taking deep breaths, thinking positive thoughts, journaling are all good ways, and playing with pets. However, rememeber what might work for you might not work for them!
5. Limit screen time
It may sound cliché to you, but your child needs to get limited screen time. This will help your child become more productive and free up more time to carry on other activities in the day. Screen time can make one lethargic and lazy and sometimes unknowingly cause stress and anxiety.
A lot of time, social media also can be a reason why your child is feeling upset. Children can compare their life to YouTubers, celebrities, etc., who show their dreamy life with no complications. This can be why your child may feel upset, sad, or depressed. So, it is your job to limit their screen time and spend more time with them, explaining to them the reality of emotions and life.
6. Spread awareness regarding mental health
Talking openly about mental health can decrease misconceptions and stigma and encourage children who are skeptical about discussing their hardships and are facing difficulty finding a suitable support network. It is also important for parents to understand the impact that mental health has on daily life. Awareness for both parents and children is important to take the right measures. Mental health is not taboo and should not be considered a disgrace. Everyone goes through mental health changes, and it is completely normal.
7. Practice self-care
Self-care is about taking the time to do things that improve your quality of life and your physical and mental health. Self-care can help lower your risk of illness, manage stress, and increase your positive energy. Self-care is not always pampering or long days outdoors. It can be a day of acceptance and individual growth.
It is really important to deal with your child’s emotions calmly. Don’t panic, and watch your tone. Be nice and understanding. Respect their stress and problems. Do not let your frustration invalidate your emotions and feelings. Be there for them and tell them that you love them no matter what happens.