How to nurture your child’s mental health? As a parent, how important is it for us to nurture our Child’s Mental Health? To make them life-ready instead of making them ready to win all the competitions, trophies, and top all the exams?
As per WHO (World Health Organization) over 300 million people are suffering from some of the other kinds of Mental Illness. More than 8 lacs of teenagers end their life by suicide worldwide every year and hardly 10 % of them receive timely treatment in the form of proper counseling and medications.
We as a parent often want to control our child’s life, and due to the external stress, we unknowingly pass on our anxiety to them.
How to nurture your child’s mental health?
Parents have a lot of power when it comes to their child’s mental health. It’s a cry from the deep-rooted stigma when most of the parents want their kids to fulfill a dream, a career option that they could not pursue or complete due to some reason.
My daughter is seven years old, she is studying in an International school where apart from the academics she is provided with all the extracurricular activities like swimming, dance, art, theatre, public speaking, taekwondo, skating, and whatnot.
I do get asked questions like don’t you send her for tuitions? Dance class or drawing class? Do I need to put her in any extra class in this situation? Won’t that be too much for a seven-year-old? The environment has become so superficially competitive that people blindly follow the rat race, and forget to pause and reflect.
Besides, competition as a parent when we ourselves are going through a lot of stress and pressure, it becomes a challenging task to maintain our sanity and protect our child’s peace.
Just imagine if you are staying with a mother in law who is disrespectful towards you or you are going through deep financial stress, you are bound to get anxious and feel irritated and all this affects your child.
What are the leading causes of Mental Health problems in Children?
How to nurture your child’s mental health? Maybe we can begin by being there for them. By being available for them emotionally too. If we treat them as an individual too. If we help them by nurturing their intelligence and natural skills to bloom.
Here are few leading causes of childhood stress which if not intervened timely takes their due course and the child carries its scars throughout his life.
- Performance pressure
Unknowingly we are creating a very competitive environment for our children, we compare kids, we get worried over their performance and we pressurize them. I am not saying that we should not monitor them, we should, but we need to define a line, set a capacity meter, performance measure from the child’s last performance and not with other children’s performance.
Not every kid is the same and neither their Intelligent quotient will be the same. Let us help our children bloom and discover their areas of interest. Where a schools’ role is to provide an atmosphere of basic learning to a kid to enhance his intellects, the parent’s role is to make them aware and knowledgeable by continuously nurturing them with positive thoughts and values.
- Physical abuse
It occurs when a parent or an adult causes severe physical or emotional harassment to the child. Lucky ones are those who are treated as the apple of the eyes of their parents. There exists a group of children who are regularly physically tortured, tying their hands, starving them, throwing objects on the child and it’s really heartbreaking to even imagine the worst forms.
- Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse happens when a child is forced to commit a sexual act. It also includes fondling a child’s genitals or making a child touch someone else’s genitals, telling a child dirty jokes or stories, forcing a child to undress. It is a very disturbing fact that most of the time it is discovered that the culprits are someone from the family or close relatives who commits such a heinous act with the child at such a tender age.
Bullying is a cruel, aggressive, and oppressive behavior usually carried out over a period of time. It can be physical, like hitting or pushing someone, or verbal or emotional threats and intimidation. It s very distressing for a child to bear it.
Above mentioned are few causes which are prevalent causes to trigger a Mental Disorder of any form in a child in the long run. It can cause long-term emotional damage as well as physical scars. Victims are likely to feel humiliated and powerless, resulting in lower self-esteem, no self-confidence, low self-worth, and their studies may be disrupted as well.
At its worst, the effects last up to adulthood sometimes and have driven victims to self-harm and ending their lives due to suicide.
10 Ways To Nurture Your Child’s Mental Health
Hey mama, I know it is a lot to take and accept that these things can actually cause damage. But that’s where we need sensitization and mindfulness, through which we can at least avoid the damage which our children might carry with them wherever they go and pass it ahead.
I am no one to give a piece of parental advice but I am certainly trying to make an attempt to help people notice that we are heading towards a superficial world and it will lead to more depression, more anxiety, and all the more stressful environment. How to nurture your child’s mental health in such a scenario? Here are a few gentle reminders that will help you to consciously deal with your child.
|5.) Teach them to accept failures|
|6.) Have a holistic approach|
|7.) Act mindfully|
|8.) Act of kindness could help|
Listen first, and talk second. When we allow them to speak and express themselves we break that communication barrier we parents often complain about when our child reaches his teenage.
How to nurture your child’s mental health? By shedding your parental ego. Apologizing to your child doesn’t make you a less parent or weak. It helps them to realize that apologizing is a great thing and they will learn from you.
Encourage them to do things on their own and let them discover new things, appreciate them when they accomplish a short goal.
Share your personal experiences in the form of stories, validate their feelings, and share similar incidents that might help them to overcome inhibitions.
5.) Teach them to accept failures
How to nurture your child’s mental health? By letting them know that it is ok to not be perfect in everything you do, winning and losing are part of life.
6.) Have a holistic approach
A holistic approach refers to the physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a child’s life. When parents apply a holistic approach to their child’s development, children learn different things at different stages.
7.) Act mindfully
Losing patience with children is common and very natural so do not shame yourself for yelling at them but when you consciously decide not to yell, you not only save your sanity but also help them to control their response in the future. They mimic what we do, they learn from us, so acting mindfully helps.
8.) Act of kindness could help
A little random act of kindness puts a sense of compassion in kids, keeps on doing some activities which will keep them connected to the basic values of life and it will also appreciate the importance of gratitude.
Did you know? Your child could be your best friend too. Explore things together, exercise together, do some yoga asanas, meditation, and go for a walk with your kid and when you are with them just be with them, avoid phones and other distractions.
How to nurture your child’s mental health? By praising their efforts over achievements. By motivating them to do better next time and being their support system which will help them to build resilience.
In the end, the environment we provide for our child holds many opportunities for nourishing good mental health both at a young age and into adulthood. I would say that the whole idea of perfect parenting is a myth, we should simply aim to be happy. Every parent tries to be a good one for their child, just take a few more steps and be there, be aware and be present with your child.
Lots of love and gratitude
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.