Raising Kids Well and Taking Care of Their Mental Health
One in five adults is living with a mental illness, and 50% of people’s chronic mental illnesses started before they are 14 years old. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more people experienced emotions or situations detrimental to their mental health.
Children were not spared either. A 2021 study on the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents showed that they, too, experienced “significant anxiety and depression” during that time. That is why it is crucial for parents to pay attention to their kids’ mental well-being on top of their physical health
As parents, here are some things you can do to support your child, especially those transitioning into adolescence.
Watch out for parental burnout
Taking care of your child’s mental health means taking care of your own as well. Many parents experience parental burnout. One symptom of this is that you become emotionally distant from your children.
When you are burnt out from your parental duties, it affects how you deal with your kids. That can make them feel unwanted and thus have a damaging effect on your relationship. It can also influence how they view themselves, which they can carry into adulthood.
To prevent the escalation of parental burnout, give yourself some breathing space. Consider the assistance of a house helper or let your child have fun at a daycare center. By doing either, you can have less stress.
On top of that, you may want to reassess your parenting techniques. If you have been following tips that have made you question whether you are a good parent, it might be a good idea to drop them. Or you can adjust how strictly you follow them.
Encourage understanding and acceptance of emotions
Some people who become emotionally damaged as adults or have serious mental issues have experienced a parenting style that did not allow them to accept and understand certain emotions. This may have happened as they transitioned into adolescents or during the period as it is a vulnerable time for them.
As a parent, you need to have a better approach to emotions. A parenting style that is not punitive or dismissive is best. On the same note, let your children fully undergo emotional experiences.
Support them, and listen to what they have to say. Help them understand and accept how they feel. Your support can be crucial in preventing the development of anxiety and depression. It may also help them to better navigate emotional and stressful situations in the future. Because of that, they can be more equipped to care for their own mental health.
Take time to do activities together
You can be awfully busy if you are a working parent. And even if you are at home, you can still be saddled by chores and other things. As a result, you may be neglecting time with your children.
Spending time together can help both parents and children to strengthen their bonds. You can also grow in faith as a family. Being around your kids will allow you to see whether there are some things that they are struggling with.
You also need to get to know your children’s friends. A professional counselor suggests this, as this will enable you to show that you care about them. However, the most important thing is you can offer input or insight to your children, especially concerning unhealthy friendships. You can also guide them to be a good friend.
You can do many things you can do to support your child’s mental health as they grow. But some of the most important things to remember are to take care of your own issues. When you do, you can become better equipped as a parent to help your child navigate situations and emotions.
You also need to be firm and consistent. Be there for them when they need you, especially in distressing and emotional situations. For adolescents, this is crucial as they may be feeling some things for the first time and cannot understand them clearly.
If, at some point, you believe you need outside help, do not hesitate to do so. Not approaching a counselor or a therapist early on could be detrimental to your child’s mental state.