How to Care for Your Child’s Mental Health
Mental health has been a major topic in the country for the past few years. At one time, there was a stigma behind mental illness or seeking counseling for it. However, mental health services have become a regular part of healthcare and insurance. Unfortunately, mental illness isn’t something that only affects adults. Your children can also suffer the effects of it. Read on for insights about how you and other parents can help promote a healthy mental state in children.
Regardless of how bad or mischievous your children may be at times, always let them know that you love them. Don’t just tell them you love them when they bring home a good report card or in front of friends. Even if you punish them, say I love you, and then tell them what their punishment is. They will always remember how you made them feel even when they are too young to verbalize it.
Encourage Relationships with Others
Are you close with your children and never want to let them out of your sight? Well, that could be natural for any loving parent. However, it’s important to not smother your children and isolate them from other people. Encourage them to have relationships with other children and other family members. Even if you’re in the middle of recovering from a harsh divorce, make sure your children maintain a good relationship with your other spouse. Proper socialization will help fully understand the nuances and ups and downs that can happen with any relationship.
Lead by Example
As a parent, you’re your child’s first teacher. If you say one thing to them and do another, it can be confusing for their moral and mental development. That’s why it’s best to lead by example and stick to your convictions. In other words, if you want your children to be healthy, set an example of a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t want your children to be violent, avoid solving problems by yelling and starting fistfights.
Look for Changes in Behavior
You might think that childhood or adolescence is worry-free, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. More children are committing suicide at alarming rates, and it’s the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 14, according to NAMI. So be hyper-vigilant about any alarming changes in your child’s behavior. Do they no longer socialize with friends? Have their eating habits rapidly declined or increased? Do they seem to be angry or more quiet than usual? Something may be going on in your child’s life that they may not understand how to express to you. Take the time to sit down and talk to them before something happens.
According to Roots Through Recovery, one in five adults in the U.S. are dealing with a mental health issue, and some of them may have had it from childhood. When kids are little, they often ask many questions but become quieter as they develop into their teen years. Don’t be afraid to answer all the questions your children give you, regardless of how old they are. Being open and honest with them will make them feel comfortable to come to you in times of need. Some comfort can prevent lingering health issues from worsening.
As of 2021, over 36% of the American population was buried. Unfortunately, some of them may have died from being unable to cope with mental health stress. Make sure your children and teens have the tools to tackle mental illness head-on. Do what you can to help them be at their best mentally, physically, and emotionally. Health is wealth, and that includes mental health!