Although many adults regard their youth as an idyllic time, it’s easy to forget just how difficult adolescence can be. Peer pressure, academic anxiety and problems with friends are just a few of the issues that contribute to depression and poor self-esteem.
No parent relishes watching their child suffer from the aforementioned afflictions, but not all moms and dads are well-equipped to help children who are battling mental health issues. Parents searching for ways to improve their children’s outlook and provide assistance with mental health should consider the following pointers.
Find a Dependable Therapist
It’s easy to understand why people suffering from mental health issues tend to resent being told to seek therapy. If you need advice to help your kids, check this site healthychildren.org In their minds, friends and family members are essentially abdicating responsibility by pawning them off on someone else.
While this line of thinking is somewhat understandable, it generally isn’t grounded in reality. In many instances, being told to seek therapy is an act of concern from those in your inner circle instead of an attempt to wash their hands of you.
In actuality, therapy can prove incredibly beneficial to one’s long-term mental health and overall outlook. However, this isn’t to say that all therapists are created equal. As is the case with any type of health professional, some therapists are considerably more effective than others.
To ensure that your child is matched with the right person, seek out therapists who have ample experience with patients in your child’s age group and the types of problems from which your child is suffering. Even if your child is resistant to taking part in therapy, insist that they attend a few sessions before deciding whether it’s for them. If they’re extra hesitant, offer to accompany them to their first session.
Encourage Regular Exercise
Consistent physical activity is synonymous with numerous health perks. In addition to helping people maintain favorable physical health, regular exercise can also do wonders for one’s psychological wellbeing. For this reason, it’s recommended that you encourage your child to regularly engage in physical activity.
Physical activity in children can take many different forms. For example, if your child is enthusiastic about a particular sport, they may benefit from joining a school team or local league.
Children who are very athletically inclined may enjoy taking part in sports academy basketball and other long-term sports programs. Alternatively, kids who don’t have much interest in sports should be encouraged to take walks, ride bikes and engage in other forms of everyday exercise.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Depression and anxiety are commonly attributed to poor sleeping and eating habits. While these habits generally aren’t the root cause of said afflictions, they often serve to make things substantially worse. With this in mind, parents should make a point of encouraging healthy sleeping and eating habits in their children.
This means ensuring that your kids are eating three balanced meals per day and getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Improving one’s sleep schedule and meal routine may not cure depression entirely, but it can go a long way toward improving general outlook.
Keep in mind that instilling healthy sleeping and eating habits in your children takes time. Not all kids are equally receptive to changes in routine, and if they’ve gotten into the groove of eating poorly and staying up excessively late, you’re liable to experience some pushback. However, instead of throwing in the towel at the first sign of resistance, parents are urged to stick it out until children are fully onboard.
Offer Positive Reinforcement
Children dealing with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness can benefit from consistent positive reinforcement. When suffering from said afflictions, it’s common to feel as if you’re bad at everything and nothing you do has any kind of positive impact.
Parents can help combat this line of thinking by letting children know how much they’re loved and appreciated at every available opportunity. Celebrating your children’s successes can be an effective way to push back against negative thoughts and help your kids starting viewing themselves in a more positive light.
Since people battling mental health issues should feel as if they have a solid support network in place, it’s imperative that your kids know that they can count on you for anything throughout this ordeal.
Don’t Seek to Minimize
When attempting to talk to a child about their problems, it’s imperative that you avoid minimizing the struggles they’re dealing with. Even if certain issues seem fairly miniscule from your viewpoint, the fact that they’re a big deal to your child means that you’ll need to approach them with seriousness and empathy.
For example, problems pertaining to social media, cyber bullying and online harassment are often regarded as unimportant by parents who didn’t grow up with the same type of digital landscape. However, as a parent, it behooves you to make genuine efforts to understand and address the issues facing your children – regardless of how much personal experience you have with said issues.
Lead by Example
When working to treat mental health issues in children, it’s important that parents lead by example. Kids of all ages imitate behaviors they observe in their parents, and if they see you taking some of your own advice, they may be more amenable to trying your recommended treatment options.
For example, if you encourage your kids to talk about their problems despite always keeping your own problems bottled up, they’re unlikely to view you as an authority on the matter. Conversely, if they observe you openly discussing things that bother you and/or seeking therapy, your words may start to carry more weight with them.
Far too often, mental health issues in adolescents go undiagnosed and untreated. Some children are uncomfortable talking about these issues, while others simply don’t know how. As such, it’s important for parents to keep a watchful eye out for signs of depression, anxiety and waning self-esteem in their kids. Just because a child isn’t talking about these afflictions doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by them.