Children often look to their parents for guidance, validation, and reassurance. As a parent, it's important to support your children throughout any mental health struggles, as your encouragement shapes the way they see themselves. Additionally, your child's mental health can play important factors in the state of their physical and emotional health. Here are five ways to support your child's mental health.
At the end of the day, children are seeking validation that their fears, thoughts, and ideas are important enough to be listened to. Validating them essentially means understanding them and where they're coming from. Quietly listen to them and encourage them to talk through their thoughts and what they're feeling in the moment. Let them know it's okay to feel the things they're feeling and it's not their fault for any scary or sad thoughts that may come up.
Many children who have issues with mental health may not be getting the correct treatment, or any at all. Some children may need talk therapy to work through their thoughts while others can benefit from art therapy to have another medium to make sense of what's coming up for them. Talk to your child about what will best help them to boost their mental health. Ensure you're explaining things in a way they can understand and know you're open to their say in treatment they want to have.
Helping boost a child's self-esteem can assist tremendously in boosting their mental health. This includes teaching them positive self-talk such as, "I can do this project to the best of my ability," taking into account their strengths rather than focusing on any weaknesses. Healthy self-esteem also comes from genuine praise, not just for their accomplishments, but also for the kind of person they are and their efforts. Allow your child to develop independence in their work and during playtime to build up trust within themselves, which in turn grows self-esteem.
As children are still developing, they may not understand or be able to articulate what exactly is bothering them. Children, like every human, have their good and bad days. However, if you see your child constantly becoming angry, withdrawn, or exhibiting signs of poor mental health, it's time to sit them down, listen, and possibly consult a professional. Becoming familiar with your child's normal temperament is key to knowing when their declining mental health is becoming a chronic issue.
As the saying goes, you can't pour from an empty cup. Supporting your child's mental health means supporting your own, first and foremost. Children naturally look for role models and learn by watching others. Therefore, parents are the ones they look up to the most in their formative years. By taking care of your own mental health, you're modeling a strong example for your child, as well as providing a safe, healthy, and positive environment for them to nurture theirs.
Follow Wellspring Prevention on Instagram for more mental health and prevention tips to support your child's positive growth.