Support Your Child's Mental Well-being
1) Mental & Physical Health Are Equally Important.
The first rule is to pay attention and take mental health seriously. If your child shows signs of anxiety and depression, treat the situation with the same level of concern as though they were showing symptoms of physical illness, such as fever or a persistent cough.
In children and teenagers, depression and anxiety might not always look like sadness. While every child has a unique disposition, the following list compiles some possible signs of depression in children to keep an eye out for;
- Irritability and Anger
- Dangerous Behaviour
- A Sudden Lack Of Activity
It is important to remember that there may be many causes for such behavior changes, but it is just as important to consider your child's mental well-being through such times.
2) Make Your Relationship A Judgment-Free Zone.
While judgment and expectations inspire self-improvement, your child should also be able to see that you are on their side. Be empathetic and work together to solve issues at their roots. Communication is crucial. Be sure to check in on them every single day and build a comfortable relationship with routine conversations over meals, games, or before bed. When your child is confused by the enormous undertaking of life itself, you want to be the first person that they reach out to.
3) Mental Health Effects Physical Health & Vice Versa.
Just as a decline in mental well-being will have repercussions on physical health, staying in good physical form keeps the mind active and fit. Proper nutrition coupled with exercise and enough sleep will make all the difference in the world. An imbalanced lifestyle and the complications therein will cause much stress, even in adulthood. Learning good habits around caring for one's own body as a child goes a long way in the lifelong development of one's
physical and mental fortitude.
4) Rise Above & Set An Example
Okay, so here's where it gets tougher; your children will pay more attention to your actions than your words. Children are wicked smart; if you are clearly suffering from anxiety or depression and refuse to do anything about it, they will notice. The example that you set may shape your child's narrative of how to cope with their own mental health. Terrifying, isn't it?
Being a parent is anything but easy, but we must remember that it is getting easier. In today's world of information sharing and medicine, we have great options for prevention, diagnosis, and treatments. It is vital that we de-stigmatize the conversations around mental health and support the next generations of our children to be better, calmer & happier than ourselves.