A Parent’s Guide To Fostering Good Mental And Emotional Health In Children

As a parent, you want your child to grow as healthy, strong, and capable as possible. So, you ensure that they’re eating healthy food and having an active lifestyle and that they get regular doctor visits and receive essential immunizations.  

Now, you can be sure that your sweet angel is physically healthy and strong to face and conquer the world. But how about their mental and emotional health? Do you think your child is mentally and emotionally strong enough to brave the challenges of their life? 

Your child’s mental and emotional health is just as vital as physical health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five children suffers from a mental health condition in a given year. 

These mental health conditions that are common in children are as follows:  

  • Anxiety  
  • Depression  
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

If you think your child is experiencing one of the issues above, consult your doctor or visit the nearest counseling center immediately. Although some conditions can’t be prevented, it’s vital to take the necessary actions to ensure that your child will be mentally and emotionally healthy. Below are some tips you can consider for this.   

Look After Your Mental Health

If there are footsteps your child must follow, those should be yours. Your child’s primary role model is no other than you. So, the first step to maintaining your child’s mental and emotional health is looking after your own health. 

If you want your child to be as mentally and emotionally healthy, you must have stable mental and emotional health. After all, your child can’t take something from you that you don’t have. Be a positive example and show your child how to handle stressful situations. Remember, children learn by watching their parents. 

For example, if you have anxiety-related issues, your child may develop them too. They might pick up and absorb your thinking and habits. If you have unhealthy sleeping and eating habits, loss of energy, and difficulty concentrating because of anxiety, your child may imitate you. They may think that these symptoms of anxiety are normal behavior.

That is why parents with mental health issues need to be diagnosed and treated accordingly. If ever such a situation occurs, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor and get the treatment you need as soon as possible.  

Furthermore, keep in mind that your child is at higher risk of developing mental health conditions if both you and your spouse are suffering from one. So, make sure to get help right away to protect your child’s psychological well-being.

Establish A Trusting Relationship

Trust is essential in establishing a healthy and strong relationship between you and your child. Such a relationship is the key to maintaining your child’s mental and emotional health. But how can you build a trusting relationship with your child? 

To build trust, you must ensure your child’s safety and security. It means providing them with all their needs when necessary (e.g., giving them food when they’re hungry, comforting them when they’re sad, and clothing them when they’re too cold). 

Moreover, you must always show them that you do what you preach. Your kids want consistent actions. In that way, they’ll be able to trust and regard you wholeheartedly as someone that can keep them mentally and emotionally safe and healthy.

Encourage Them To Build Healthy And Strong Relationships

Your relationship with your child may be crucial to their mental and emotional stability. However, it’s not the only relationship they need. At some point, they’ll need others to grow and develop properly.  

And so, you want your child to have a healthy and fruitful relationship with some family members. These include their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Allowing them to communicate with important people outside your home will help them have stable mental and emotional health.  

Furthermore, relationships are not just about spending great times with family members. It’s also about having fun and getting along with friends, So allow your child to play, connect, and interact with other kids their age.

Teach Your Child How To Manage Stress

As their guardian, you want to keep your angels safe from traumatic experiences like bullying and other forms of abuse. However, it’s impossible to ensure their safety in stressful situations. At some point, they’ll experience how it feels like to be under stress. 

It’s essential to make your kids understand that stress is a part of their daily lives. Therefore, learning how to manage and cope with it is crucial to their success in the future. But how will you effectively teach your child stress management considering their young and playful age? 

When teaching children stress management, you shouldn’t force them to learn all things at once. Too many lectures may only overwhelm them. Remember, they’re still young, and their minds won’t be able to match your pace. Instead, take things one at a time. For instance, you may teach them how to define their feelings on day one and then teach them how to deal with such feelings on day two.

Establish and Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Developing your child’s self-esteem is a two-way process. First, as their parent, you need to teach them how to establish their self-esteem. And second, you have to boost it. Here are some tips to carry it all out effectively:   

  • Praise Your Child Genuinely: Praising is an effective way to establish and boost your child’s self-esteem. But don’t give them praises that aren’t exactly true (e.g., exaggerations—you’re the most intelligent kid in the universe). Instead, praise their hard work (e.g., your drawing skills are improving, keep going).
  • Let Them Experience Independence: Your child’s self-esteem is developed when they can accomplish things without asking for help. Show them that you trust and support them in everything they want to do. Doing so can also boost their competence at the same time.
  • Develop A Healthy Inner Dialogue: Having self-talk or inner dialogues is normal. Every child does it—even adults, but are they doing it healthily? If you hear your child saying, ‘There’s no way I’ll become a great baseball player,’ correct them immediately. Encourage them to say things like, ‘I can become a great baseball player with practice and perseverance.’

Final Words

Your child’s mental and emotional health is crucial to their overall growth and development. Without stable thoughts and emotions, even your child’s physical health will be at risk, no matter how strong and physically healthy they are. You may refer to the discussion above for some tips to help keep your children as mentally and emotionally healthy as possible.

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