Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is critical at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. Therefore, as parents, we need to help our children manage their mental health.
Why Is Children’s Mental Health So Crucial?
Being aware of our children’s mental health is critical because they do not always recognize what they are feeling or experiencing. In other cases, they merely struggle to convey those experiences into words. In recent years, parents have started focusing not only on their child’s physical health but also their mental health. There are many reasons why mental health is so critical for our children. Our mental health affects everything in our lives, from our physical well-being to how well we can socialize. The same is true for our children.
- Provide Unconditional Love
Providing love, security, and acceptance for our children should be our focus as parents. Our children must understand our love and affection is not dependent on their achievements. Failures and/or mistakes should be expected and acknowledged. Confidence blossoms in a home filled with genuine love and devotion. The more confident our children feel, the better they will be at handling the challenges that they face.
- Talking About Our Own Feelings
Everybody loses their cool from time to time. When we do, it is critical to discuss what happened and why we are upset. We must also apologize if we were wrong. The better we can talk about our feelings with our children, the better they will be able to regulate their own emotions. As part of this is making sure we seek support for ourselves or our children if they are struggling. This can boil down to understanding the different roles of a psychologist vs psychiatrist and when each should be consulted.
Psychologists are trained professionals. They’re skilled at assessing, diagnosing, and treating behavioral and psychological issues that can disrupt life. These types of things can lead to stress, coping issues, addiction, and more. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who focus on diagnosing and treating mental illness.
While both psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to help people, one main difference between the two fields is that psychiatrists have an actual medical degree which allows them to prescribe medication. Therefore, their treatment plans often focus on medication management.
- Building Our Child’s Self-Confidence
As parents, we should make sure to praise our children when they accomplish something, especially if it is meaningful for them. This might mean celebrating them winning a game or doing well on a school project. Our children can also increase their self-confidence by exploring and playing in a safe area where they cannot get hurt. It is critical we help our children set realistic goals. We also must be honest with our children and not hide our own failures. It can be very reassuring to know that adults are not infallible. We should encourage children not only to strive to do their best but also to enjoy the process. Trying new activities teaches children teamwork and new skills.
- Providing Appropriate Discipline
Children require the opportunity to experiment with various skills and gain independence. Simultaneously, children must learn certain behaviors are inappropriate and that they are accountable for the consequences of their actions. We should always provide fair and consistent counsel and discipline. Learning these social skills and rules of behavior will help our kids as they head off to school.
- Providing Opportunity to Play
Play is very important for kids. Playtime helps children be creative, learn problem-solving skills, and learn self-control. It is helpful for children to have time with their peers. Children discover their strengths and weaknesses by playing with others, developing a sense of belonging, and learning how to get along with others. We can also join in on the fun of play. Playing is a great way to spend time together in a relaxed setting. The key is being involved and enjoying an activity, not winning. We should ask our children, “Did you have fun?” not “Did you win?”