How Parents Can Help Their Children’s Mental Health
It can be hard to start a conversation about mental health with your child. As parents, one of our key jobs is helping our children grow, both mentally and physically. Part of that job is teaching our children the importance of mental health. As children grow and face more challenges, it’s important to teach them the techniques of having a healthy connection with mental health.
Mental health is important for so many reasons. It affects all aspects of growth from mental effects to physical as well. Negative mental health also affects students in a big way. School is a huge stressor and learning to manage time and stress is one part of growing older. Parents can help their kids with open conversations, and teaching techniques to handle stress. When a child’s mental health is on the decline, it can result in memory loss, small attention spans, lethargy, and more.
So, how can you help your child with their mental health?
Starting The Conversation
The first thing you want to do is just talk to your child. Sit them down and have an open and honest conversation with them. If it’s just a check-in, let them know that.
If you’ve been noticing worrying behavior, then you want to make sure your kid feels safe, and not like you are attacking their behavior. Let them know that you care for them, and why you are concerned. Don’t shove “fixes” in their face, but offer to find solutions and coping techniques together.
During the conversation you’ll want to:
- Ask open questions. Don’t assume an answer or “lead” to a specific one.
- Don’t judge! Nothing is going to clam up your kid more than feeling judged.
- Be empathetic. It’s ok to not understand their feelings, but not ok to dismiss them.
Starting the conversation is probably the hardest part.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or just want extra resources, don’t be afraid of reaching out to therapists! Therapists are there to help, and often have great techniques that you can learn. A qualified professional can be a great tool to lean on. There are also psychologists and therapists that work especially with kids.
Don’t forget your mental health as well! While staying strong for your kid, it’s important not to let your own mental health slip. Talking to your own therapist, or even just having “me days” can be crucial.
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