Mental health concerns are something which most parents have to deal with today. The world is a very different place than it once was and in the past, mental health issues were largely swept under the carpet despite a number of teenagers and children suffering from them.
Today, children and adults alike are encouraged to speak about mental health issues and to be open about them. This is very important – if mental health issues are not to be stigmatized any longer, we need as parents to ensure that our children feel able to open up to us.
Speak to your child about their feelings
From their earliest days, name their feelings. Help them to learn that strong emotions are part of being a human and give them strategies to cope with them.
Ordinary, but negative feelings such as sadness, anger, frustration and fear can be frightening for children simply because they don’t have any benchmark with which to compare them.
Letting your child know that these feelings are normal and valid will help them to process the emotions.
Learning to process emotions and learning to help themselves to shake the feelings off through positive actions is a valuable lesson for children to learn.
Show your child the value of a brisk walk in the fresh air, show them how engaging in arts and crafts can lift the spirits, teach them how music can change our mood.
With coping mechanisms like this, as your child grows, they will soon have an arsenal of weapons with which to battle the sometimes difficult feelings we all experience.
As your child grows and starts school, they will be able to access the support of peers and staff to learn even more coping mechanisms.
This secondary school in Kildare for example, offers support to students in a variety of effective ways and pupils achieve good academic results.
Note: This is a collaborative post