Mental health impacts the way people think, act, and feel. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of ourselves physically. As a parent, you play an integral role in your children’s mental health. Your child’s mental well-being is determined very much by the things you say and do, as well as the environment you create at home. By being present in your child’s life, you would be able to detect the early signs of distress and know where to seek help.
Here are some ways you can help your child to be mentally healthy
1. Building strong, stable, and caring relationships with them
It’s crucial for children and young teens to have stable relationships with friends and family. Be that someone your child knows he can run to for help and guidance.
- Help them develop self-esteem so that they feel good and secure about themselves:
- Show a lot of love and acceptance.
- Praise them when they exert effort and do well. Recognize their efforts as well as what they achieve, no matter how small.
- Ask questions about their interests and activities.
- Help them aim for realistic goals.
- Listen to them, and respect their feelings:
- It’s all right for children and youth to feel sad or upset. Encourage them to open up about how they feel. Mealtime is an ideal time for talking.
2. Creating a safe, positive, and happy home environment
Be wary of your child’s media and internet use, both the content as well as the amount of time spent. Be conscious with who they could be interacting within chatrooms and online games.
- Be careful about discussing serious family issues like finances, marital problems, or illness where your children can hear. Children can worry about and stress over these things.
- Allow and set time for play and family activities.
- Be a role model: Talk about your feelings.
3. In tough situations, help them solve problems:
- Show your children how to rationally solve issues that arise. Teach them how to defuse and relax when they feel upset or angry. This could be deep breathing, doing calming activities (such as a quiet activity they enjoy), taking some alone time, or going out for a walk.
- Talk about creative solutions or ideas to improve a situation or solve a problem. Resist the urge to take over.