Looking after your children’s mental health can be stressful. 1 in 6 children suffer with some form of mental health issue. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to be a parent sometimes. You have a responsibility to protect your children from things which might upset them, but this is easier said than done considering the world that we live in and we should probably not forget that you also need to look after yourself at the same time.
How to Look After Your Children’s Mental Health
Trying to help your child manage their mental health can be a challenge, but there are things you can do. From building their confidence at communicating to helping teach them strategies, let’s take a look at what you can do as a parent.
Help Them Learn to Communicate
Communication is a vital skill for a person to have, and it is something I’ve seen a lot of when it comes to my role as a public speaking expert, celebrant and toastmaster.
Time and time again, I’ve noticed that a lot of young people aren’t confident at expressing themselves. They don’t have experience when it comes to communication, and they don’t have the confidence to properly voice their minds. This means that these children won’t talk about their mental health struggles, or any worries they might have.
Teaching children how to communicate is so important to help them develop ways to say “my mental health isn’t great right now” or even “I need help”.
Be Honest With Them
As parents, you often feel a great responsibility to shield your child from the upsetting things that they might see in the world. It’s a normal instinct to want to protect them, but as kids get older, that becomes less helpful for them.
Children need to be taught a little of how the world works from a younger age. A child that hasn’t been sheltered is one that develops more proactive strategies to manage their mental health. As much as you might want to protect your kids from these things, being honest is often the way to go. Isn’t it better that they learn from you then finding out the hard way.
Being a child is hard. There’s no way around it, growing up is never easy for any child. It often involves accepting hurtful truths and realising that the world isn’t always nice. As a parent, the best way you can help their mental health through this period is to be supportive. Tell them about times things did not go right for you, who you spoke to and how things were resolved.
It may not seem important to you, but whatever your children face, both the good and the not so good, they should have your love and support.
Help Them Make Strategies
Much like how an adult can benefit from strategies to help mental health struggles, children can also benefit. I’ve worked with children who have tried public speaking to overcome anxiety and it does help them a lot to do something proactive. It can come in the form of writing, speaking, exercise, music and so many other ways but they need to have a strategy to cope.
As a parent, you should try and focus on helping to make a positive impact on your children’s mental health. This means supporting them as they develop their tools for navigating the world.
Accept What You Can
It may be hard to accept but your children will struggle with their mental health. You can support them, and encourage them to look at it with a positive lens, but the truth is that you have to make sure they can face this. These types of challenges can often be important trials to adulthood and growing as an individual person.
In the long-term, these challenges can help your child develop strategies and a mindset that will let them face mental health struggles – and this is definitely one of the best things you can help give them.
The key message in all of this is to ensure that your child is able to communicate what they are feeling, seeing and hearing in a way that will allow both you and them to find a way to navigate through the issue. Each time this happens and there will be more than one time, make sure you both review, reflect and learn so that the survival toolkit is built up to help your child through the journey of life.
If you would like to discuss more about looking after your children’s mental health and see how I may be able to help then do reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org