As a parent, you should always keep in mind that a child’s mental health is also as vital as their emotional and physical health. Believe it or not, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that one out of five children undergoes mental health issues per year. Therefore, it is your role as a parent to keep your kid mentally healthy all the time. Here are some ways to do so.
The first step into taking care of your child’s mental health is to keep yours healthy as well. If you don’t, it would be difficult for you to assist your child with this process. Not only will they copy your bad habits, but it will also establish an environment that is not safe for your kid.
The best way to go about this is to set a positive habit every day. Keep in mind that your kid is always watching you. They copy whatever you do. Therefore, make sure that you show them the right attitude when dealing with stressful situations.
Studies also show that if parents have mental health issues themselves, this will also trickle down to their kids. They’ll probably feel the negative energy from your problems. Therefore, make sure to seek assistance from healthcare professionals once you experience such issues.
For children, playing is just playing, and playing is for fun. However, are you aware that their playtime also weighs the same with food and physical care? These activities are opportunities for your child to learn self-control, creativity, and problem-solving skills. It boosts how their minds work, which is an excellent strategy to keep both their physical and mental health as healthy as possible.
Introduce The Language Of Feelings
One of the reasons why children spiral down is that they don’t know how emotions work. As a parent, it is your responsibility to introduce the concept of feelings. You should teach them how to recognize their feelings and translate these by expressing them in words. Assist them with the perfect terms to use to mirror what they’re feeling.
At the same time, make sure that they do not keep their real emotions hidden. It happens most of the time because they see unhappy feelings as something shameful and damaging. However, it is also healthy to explore these emotions, given that it is normal to experience this. Knowing these negative emotions will help them deal with it in the long run. It is also your duty as a parent to advise on how they can cope with these.
Your relationship with your child will be the foundation of everything. You won’t be able to guide them without building trust. You can do this by creating an environment full of security and safety. So, where do you start?
You can do this by trying your best to meet your child’s needs. Make sure to take care of them when they’re thirsty, hungry, not feeling well, anxious, scared, etc. With this, your child will get the message that he or she can trust you fully.
Avoid Negative Reinforcement
Keep in mind that negative reinforcement will never be the answer. If your child does something terrible, do not result in nagging, bribes, and threats, for these are seldom effective. The best strategy for this is to explain calmly and provide the reason why you are disciplining them. Discuss with them the possible consequences should they continue with these actions.
Keep in mind that negative reinforcements only affect their mental health. There is a large possibility that this will only hinder them from opening up to you. As mentioned, it is essential to understand their emotions and allow them to show this. However, if you push for negative reinforcement, they’ll most likely be afraid to consult with you since they’re scared to be “punished.”
Teach Stress Management
Stress will always be present, no matter whether you’re an adult or a child. It’s a part of life; therefore, your child must deal with it naturally and healthily. It will help him take control of his life in the future.
Always keep in mind that there is no single stress management strategy to address this. There are various ways to combat its adverse effects on your body, but it has to be personal. What takes away the stress of one child might not be as successful with another one.
For instance, your child may opt to call a friend whenever they’re feeling down. However, talking to a friend might only bring additional anxiousness to another person when having problems. Writing in a journal may be more effective with him or her.
Taking care of your child’s mental health is not an easy task. If you feel that your child’s mental health is spiraling out of control, then maybe it is time for you to look for professional advice. Remember that there is no such thing as too early to get the assistance of a mental health provider. It will certainly help both you and your child.