Parents are supposed to take care of their children by taking them to doctors, watching their eating and sleeping habits, and helping them with their education. One aspect of parenting that is getting more attention these days is fostering healthy mental health.
As children grow and develop, sometimes they do not learn how to manage emotions and stress or have difficulty controlling their anger. If you think that you child could benefit from therapy, you may want to check out BetterHelp. Child or teen therapists can help with stress management, emotional intelligence, and coping mechanisms to improve mental health.
However, there are also some things that you, as a parent, can do for your child. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can foster positive mental health and emotional growth.
Take Care of Your Own Mental Health
Children learn by watching other people, primarily their parents. It is important that you are a positive role model for them. In addition, it will be much easier to care for their mental and physical health needs if you are not struggling with your own mental health issues.
Your behavior can teach them how to approach conflict and react to stressful situations. Try not to let your emotions get the best of you. If you do have an angry outburst, that is fine. But you may also want to talk to your child about it and let them know what you should have done in the situation to respond healthily and responsibly.
Taking care of your physical health can also help you improve your mental health and shows your child how to live in a healthy way. Try to choose healthy foods when possible and get enough sleep throughout the week.
Children crave attention and paying attention to their needs and cues can goa long way. This will allow you to see when they are struggling or what they can do to improve their overall health or well-being. Children may not always know how to verbally explain their mental health issues, but there are often nonverbal or behavioral cues that parents may notice.
Try to talk to them empathetically about the things in their lives. Show that you understand that it can be stressful to maintain relationships with friends or to continue to make As and Bs in school.
A child will know if you are interested and whether or not you approve of their behaviors. Try to have an open relationship with them so that they know that they can trust you and will come to you when they need help. This brings us to the next tip.
Foster Trusting Relationships
To establish trust, it is crucial that they feel safe and secure around you. To do this, make sure that you meet their development needs. Make sure they are not going hungry, sleepy, thirsty and comfort them when they feel sad or scared. While it is impossible to always prevent a child from experiencing these feelings or need, you can do your best to allow them to know that you will always be there to care for them.
Also, make sure that you are not dishonest. It can be easy to lie to a child, but it will not foster a trusting relationship. Always mean what you say and follow through with promises. If you do end up being dishonest, explain to them the reason that you were and take responsibility for the inappropriate behavior.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forgo a positive relationship with our children. While it is important and okay to take care of yourself, it is also best for your child to have a relationship with you. If you have a close relationship with your kids, you may even find that they are more likely to listen to you and obey rules.
You want to spend time with them bonding over healthy, fun activities. You should also encourage healthy relationships with other children, neighbors, friends, and family members. Part of bonding with children is playing together, which is healthy for adults and children alike.
Healthy play can improve mental health. It can help you reduce stress levels and prevent burnout. It can help your children reduce their risk of developing anxiety and depression. It will also help you create a lasting bond.
Teach Them How to Deal with Stress
People of every age have trouble managing their stress levels and it can be incredibly healthy to teach positive stress management techniques at a young age. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives and it is important for everyone to learn how to deal with it.
Part of this is communication and being a good model for healthy behavior. However, you can teach them to write in a journal, talk to friends, or exercise when they are feeling upset or anxious. While a kid may not want to meditate, any healthy activity that can help them reduce their stress can be beneficial and help them learn not to give in to feelings of extreme stress.
Let Them Be Imperfect
While you may honestly believe that your child is the absolute best at everything that they do, it is best to let them be imperfect. This will allow them to deal with challenges in a healthy way and understand that they have to have effort in order to grow and get better.
This also applies to failures or distressing experiences. Let them occur while showing them understanding and empathy for their difficult situations. Try not to fix every problem as soon as it occurs. Instead, allow them to work towards a solution on their own.
You may also get frustrated with your child saying, “I am bored” every few minutes, but it can be good for their development to experience boredom. Boredom encourages creativity, conflict management, problem solving, time management, independence, and self-control.
What to Look For
There are also some things that you can keep an eye out for in order to know if there is a mental health problem that requires more interference. Drastic changes in behavior or mood, prolonged sadness or anxiety, difficulty concentrating, or extreme anger or irritability may be signs of a more serious issue and it may be best to speak to their doctor or a therapist.
Children learn to manage their emotions as they experience the wonders of life and growth. It is important to foster healthy mental health habits and grow a bond with them. Try to promote honesty and communication, while also allowing them to be somewhat independent. Finally, be a good role model to teach them healthy behaviors and ways to deal with stress and other challenges.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.