As parents, our aim should be to raise our children into independent beings. Despite our emotional need to always being there for them, let’s face it, we won’t be! We are always concerned about making them physically fit and financially strong. However, we often fail to invest enough energy into improving their mental health. Children undergo various kinds of pressures at different ages. Specially, social acceptance at school is a huge factor that adds to stress in young children. As adults, we might assume these are not big issues. For Children, that is what their life is all about. Let’s delve deeper into why it is important to proactively work on your child’s mental health.
Physical Health and Activity
As an adult have you ever skipped meals before a huge exam or a high-stake interview? You might have even been unable to sleep the entire night prior to a big day. The stress takes a toll on your physical health. Now, consider its impact on the children who are much more vulnerable to mental deterrents. A child unable to deal with his stress and anxiety will in turn eat poorly. He might even start waking up with night terrors which will then begin to affect his daytime levels of activity. Outdoor playtime might start seeming uninteresting when a child is not able to deal with his internal voices.
Why is this? According to the Harvard Medical School publishing, people with depression have reduced levels of the hormone Serotonin. This hormone plays a major role in one’s lifestyle as serotonin is responsible for regulating eating and sleeping habits. Therefore, a child with depression is bound to show symptoms of a general decline in physical health.
Confidence and Lifelong Habits
Confidence is a key element of a strong personality. A child who is not confident will never be able to trust his abilities to do well in any task. These trends lead to the development of low self-esteem. The more worrisome point here is that these trends may not go away with time. If left unaddressed, these issues continue to affect every aspect of one’s adult life, be it employment, friendships or relationships. But how does confidence stem from mental health? If a child is mentally strong, he will know his own worth. Rude and unnecessary comments will bounce off of them. On the other hand, if the child is unable to fend for his feelings internally, every single criticism will divert them from paying attention to the more important matters at hand.
The NHS UK webpage states that low self-esteem becomes a lifelong problem. While there are several causes for low self-esteem in children, parents have a huge hand in either letting it develop or curbing it at the right time. Strengthening a child’s mental confidence does not mean hurling taunts or criticisms whenever and wherever and expecting them to grow a shield. This can very much do the opposite and create an emotional resistance in them. The right approach towards helping your child grow mentally stable is to communicate effectively.
Read More: How to Boost Confidence in Children?
Where should you start?
Learn to communicate with your child at subtle situations. Bombarding depressed or disturbed children with interrogatory questions will not help. Instead, pop a casual conversation about school life during the car ride home. Perhaps, schedule a session with the school counselor every once in a while without making it seem a big deal. Your approach should be to put yourself in their shoes and not get discouraged when they resist communicating openly. It always takes time to open up about stress and anxiety even for adults.