How to Promote Positive Mental Health in Children
Definition of child’s mental health.
A child’s mental health is totally different from an adult’s mental health, in my view, the mental health of a child is defined as the healthy development of a childhood milestone without any indications of general stress, anxiety, low motivation & energy, learning disabilities and difficulty in social and relationship management.
During this pandemic, if your child’s pattern of thinking and expressing his/her feelings and behavior towards you and your friends have changed, then you must start observing your child very carefully. Change in behavioral patterns is the first sign of changing mental state.
In younger children, the first sign of the mental disorder is delays in and obstructions in developing age-appropriate skills like maintaining eye contact, interacting with strangers, and the ability to grasp new words phrases.
For most parents, it is difficult to catch and understand the severity of mental disorders in the child, because after some time and training children start to show improvements. Apart from that, every child is unique, and depending on a child’s age they might not be able to explain how they feel or why they are behaving in a certain manner.
Common disorders to watch for.
Lack of attention and hyperactivity.
Impulsive mood swings, difficulty with attention at a particular activity, and hyperactivity are the combinations of ADHD.
Medical practitioners aren’t certain what is the real cause of eating disorders. but according to behavioral experts idoling a favorite cartoon character or actor/actress seeds the correlation of health and food in a child’s brain. for example, in order to look big and strong like my favorite actor, I must eat more. some other factors could be
- Feeling of helplessness
- Low confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of society.
If you spot your child is preferring to spend time alone while binge eating or may not be interested in his/her favorite food, call your child’s doctor right now.
If your child is spending more time with his/her gadgets, always looks sad, and is not interested in any outdoor and social activity, this could be the early signs of depression or other mood disorders. If you are noticing sudden mood swings, behavioral highs that may be risky and unsafe, start talking to your child.
Some other symptoms to watch carefully.
- Sadness or spending time alone for more than 2 weeks
- change in academic performance
- hurting oneself
- extreme irritability
- loss of weight
- headache or stomachache
- difficulty in concentration and mind Fogg
- Avoiding and missing school.
What to do as a parent for your child’s mental health.
The first thing you as a parent need to remember is whenever a child faces a stressful situation he/she will look at you, and try to copy your behavior in dealing with stressful situations. So it is important for you to take care of your mental health first.
So make sure not to indulge in binge-watching and Netflix or getting drunk or playing hours of video games. instead, talk and spend time with your family so you can pass the message of protection and safety in form of family in the child’s mind.
Always remember, children of parents with untreated mental health issues are more likely to develop mental health problems.
Make and maintain routine for your children.
Children with hyperactivity or lack of attention problems like to do unpredictable things, they want to know what are the consequences if they break the rules or turn down parents’ requests, or what extra rewards they will receive if they follow the rules.
When a child’s life is unpredictable and has many highs and lows in daily life, it becomes difficult for them to trust and express their feelings and emotions. Things like moving to a new school or city or maybe chaotic situation like divorce, in such cases children don’t know how to approach life, resulting they withdraw from society and grow anxious.
maintaining a disciplined routine is extremely important to keep a child’s wandering mind in check and in control.
Develop self-esteem in a controlled environment.
You might think, where is the fun part, my child could get bored and become repulsive to the routine. You must understand that developing self-esteem in controlled activity can give a significant boost to their mental health.
This doesn’t mean letting your kids do whatever they want to do, Instead whenever your child shows you some work like painting drawing or a new lego model you can boost the creativity by asking how did he/she make it, avoid false praise, instead of praise their efforts( our kids can see the difference)
Give controlled independence.
Kids feel empowered when they are able to do things on their own, so show some trust in your kid, whether you are teaching how to attend an online lecture or make sandwiches, let them do it by themselves. Ignite their competence, it helps in prepping your child for this competition-laden world.
Play with them.
This is my favorite part, Take time to put aside work and daily chores and focus solely on your child, make your child feel that they are worth your precious time.
Even studies have shown that engaging in playful activities with your child not only reduces depression and anxiety in you but also makes you more relaxed from your daily stress. Plus all the precious laughs and smiles of your child can be the greatest stress reliever for you and your child.
When you play with your child, You are not only strengthening your relationship and bond but also having fun too.
Practice truthfulness no matter the consequences
When you speak truth to your child, it builds the most important bond of trust between you and your child. This bond creates a sense of safety and security in your child’s mind.
This trust ensures the child that you are ready to provide the physical and emotional needs of your child by taking care of them whenever they feel hungry, thirsty, hot, or cold as well as emotional distresses like being scared, anxious, or sad.
It’s your responsibility to put the behavioral base of consistency, honesty, and care in your child. Find ways to demonstrate that you love them and that they can trust you to keep them safe.
What to do if you are already seeing red flags?
If you are already seeing signs of mental illness in your child. Then in modern medicines, there are only two ways.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or behavior therapy, is the very same technique that I, ve discussed above to address the mental health concerns of children.
By talking with a trained psychologist or other mental health professional, children and adolescents learn how to talk and express thoughts and feelings, how to respond to them, and how to learn new behaviors and coping skills.
Another way is a shortcut way that is medications
Your child’s doctor or mental health professional may recommend a medication such as a stimulant, antidepressant, anti-anxiety medication, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizer as part of the treatment plan. This is the biggest No for me, but if your child is seriously unmanageable make sure to ask the doctor about the risks, side effects, and benefits of drug treatments.