MENTAL HEALTH AND CHILDREN


By Ally Moores and Lisa Gorsuch, MA


The negative evolution of the display of children/teens mental health within their own homes persists.


As society is faced with issues out of their control, like the emergence of the Coronavirus, it is essential to recognize the effects reflected in the youth. Dr. Ovidm a pediatric neurologist, recognized the increase of mental health issues derived from a child's home life through the growth of ADHD, depression, and even suicides of children under age 15.


As we spend more time indoors (more than anyone likes) to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus, the protection of our children's mental healthand stability is just as important. According to psychiatrist Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos, the overstimulation and increase of material objects on children's lives may give off the perceptiion of happiness and fulfillment, however, it leaves a lot of room for the deprivation of the basic foundations of a truly happy childhood. A few examples of necessities in a child's homelife that have the potential to positively impact their overall mental health are:

  • emotional availability of both parents

  • balanced nutrition

  • healthy amount of sleep

  • movement (outdoor more than indoor)

  • creative gaming

  • social interactions

In a society where the constant use and need for material items continues to grow, it becomes easier to lose sight of the most basic needs that a child needs to grow mentally. The connection between parents and their children- espeically in the environment of their own home- is one of the most apparent bonds that serve as a safe place for the chil. If a child feels his/her parents are "losing interest" in them by attempting to occupy them with materialistic mindset, then a hole within the child is formed.


There is nothing more important than the bond between parents and their children. Along with the formation of a bond, it is important to ensure that children are, and more importantly, FEEL that they are part of the environment around them. The giving of responsibilities to children allows them to become more personally connected with their home environment and slowly prepares them for independence. Along with the giving of responsibilities, the maintaining of expectations between parents and children allows for the growth of open communication and the expression of feelings.


As parents, it's your responsibility to lead and guide your child throughout childhood to adequately prepare them to be the healthiest and happiest they can be. Keep in mind that most growth comes from the little things. One of the best things a parent can do is to im[ly be present. By being present and acting as a guiding light--as opposed to taking full control of your child's life- allows them to make mistakes and learn how to handle those situations. Allowing your children to come into their own skin in their own way will allow a stronger bond between parent and child. You will become the person they can rely on for advice. The healthy relationship built between parent and child will increase the child's overall mental health so they do not only have confidence in their support system, but also in themselves and their abilities.


STRATEGIES AND TIPS FOR PARENTS:


  1. Set boundaries. This gives kids a sense of structure and security.

  2. Say "no" when necessary. It will help them to know that they can't have or do whatever they want.

  3. Make time for family dinners. Sit down and learn about each other's day.

  4. Give your children chores. Having a sense of responsibility and accountability starts at home and allows your child to feel important in the household.

  5. Allow them to have some independence. This give your child a chance to try things on his or her own and make mistakes with you to help them to learn from it.

  6. Encourage your teens to share their feelings and to express them in he

  7. Be emotionally available for your child. Let them know your door is open to talk about anything that is on their mind or in their heart. They will learn to come to you, especially when things get difficult.

  8. Show them love and support as much as possible.

  9. Encourage them to take breaks, have some downtime- it's important that kids learn to decompress from their day.

  10. Connect in fun, loving ways such as hugs, isses, walks, hikes, drives, smiles, dancing, jumping, exercising, games, and being creative together.




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