As a parent, you want your child to be happy and healthy. Mental health is an important factor in achieving that goal, yet it’s often misunderstood or overlooked. Families may struggle with issues such as depression, fear of failure, anger management problems, stress and anxiety—all of which can have significant physical and emotional impacts on our kids’ lives. The good news? There are steps parents can take to help their children build resiliency skills for better mental health outcomes over the long term. In this blog post we’ll talk about ways to support your child now and in the future so that they can feel empowered by recognizing their emotions and developing strategies for improving self-awareness and optimism.
Parents and the importance of child mental health
Mental health issues in children are a growing concern for parents today. The World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental health disorders, and these numbers continue to rise each year. For parents, it is important to recognize the signs of mental health issues in their child and take steps to address them as soon as possible.
Childhood mental health issues can range from mild anxiety and depression to more serious conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Signs that your child may be struggling with a mental illness include changes in behavior, mood swings, withdrawal from social activities, difficulty sleeping, excessive worrying or crying spells, lack of motivation or energy, inability to concentrate on tasks, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches.
If you suspect your child is having mental health difficulties, the first step is to talk with your doctor or pediatrician about the issue. Your doctor can provide an initial assessment and recommend treatment options such as counseling or medication if necessary. It is also important for parents to provide a supportive home environment for their children by helping them develop healthy coping skills and teaching them positive problem-solving methods. Additionally, providing emotional support through quality time together can be extremely beneficial for both parent and child.
Finally, it is important for parents to remember that they cannot “cure” their child’s mental health disorder but can play an integral role in supporting them throughout the process of recovery. Taking the initiative to become educated about mental health issues in children will help parents better understand how they can help their child achieve emotional balance and maintain good overall physical health.
Common Mental Health Issues Faced by Children
Childhood is a time of emotional, intellectual, and physical development, but it can also be a time marked by mental health issues. Many children struggle with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), eating disorders, or substance abuse. These challenges are not only difficult for the child to manage, but they can also affect their family and friends.
Anxiety disorders in children involve unrealistic worry or fear about everyday situations. Common symptoms include difficulty sleeping or concentrating, avoidance of social situations, irritability and restlessness. Children with depression experience sadness and hopelessness that interferes with their functioning in daily life. Symptoms may include fatigue, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, low self-esteem and withdrawal from activities they normally enjoy.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by an inability to stay focused or pay attention for long periods of time. It can cause disruptive behavior in school or at home due to impulsivity and hyperactivity. Autistic spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that affects communication skills and social interaction; it may manifest as repetitive behaviors or difficulty understanding social cues. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa involve an unhealthy obsession with food intake and body shape that has serious physical side effects; bulimia involves binge eating followed by purging through vomiting or laxative use while binge eating disorder involves episodes of excessive food consumption without any purging behavior afterward. Substance abuse refers to the misuse of medications or alcohol which often leads to addiction if left unchecked.
In addition to these common mental health issues faced by children, many also struggle with stress related to academic performance or peer pressure which can lead to further psychological distress if not addressed correctly. It is important for parents and healthcare professionals alike to be aware of these issues in order to provide necessary support for young people experiencing them
Resiliency Skills for Improved Mental Health Outcomes
Resiliency skills are the mental and emotional capacities that help individuals cope with challenging situations, manage stress and make better decisions. These skills allow people to remain resilient in the face of adversity and be better equipped to thrive over time. In terms of mental health outcomes, these skills can lead to increased self-efficacy, improved coping strategies, and healthier relationships. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona found that developing resiliency skills can help individuals cope with challenging situations. The study surveyed 1,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who had experienced a traumatic event in their lives. It found that individuals who had developed resiliency skills were more likely to report feeling better equipped.
Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their ability to achieve a certain goal or accomplish a certain task. When this belief is strong, it can lead to healthier decision making and more positive overall outcomes. People with high self-efficacy also tend to have greater resiliency when faced with adversity. By developing their own resiliency skills, individuals can improve their self-efficacy which in turn helps them better manage difficult situations.
Resiliency skills also help people develop improved coping strategies that can be used during times of difficulty or stress. This could include identifying feelings associated with challenges and finding ways to manage those feelings in healthy ways such as talking about them with a trusted friend or engaging in physical activity like yoga or running. By proactively managing emotions through these strategies, people are better prepared for difficult situations that might arise in the future.
Finally, developing resiliency skills may aid in forming healthier relationships both personally and professionally. The ability to handle stressful situations can improve communication between individuals by creating an environment where trust is built between parties involved. Additionally, resilience allows people to remain grounded in challenging moments which creates stability within relationships by allowing two parties to work towards shared goals while still acknowledging individual needs as well.
Supporting Your Child Now and in the Future
As parents, it can be difficult to know how to best support our children and make sure they are ready for the future. It is important to remember that we are in this together, and that there are some key ways we can help our children thrive now and in the future. First, it is essential to provide emotional support by showing your child love, acceptance, patience and understanding. Make sure you listen actively when your child speaks and validate their feelings. Ensure that they have a safe space where they can express themselves without fear of judgement or criticism. It is also beneficial if you focus on your child's strengths as opposed to their weaknesses so they feel encouraged rather than defeated.
Next, it is important to nurture your child's physical health by providing them with healthy food options and regular exercise activities. Focus on teaching them the importance of taking care of their body through proper sleep hygiene and promoting good hygiene habits such as brushing teeth twice daily and washing hands regularly. Additionally, encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports or clubs so they can learn skills like teamwork which will be useful later in life.
Last but not least, make sure you provide educational support by helping them stay on top of their schoolwork as well as giving them opportunities for creative exploration such as music lessons or art classes. It is important for children to not just excel academically but also develop skills related to problem solving, communication and critical thinking which will help prepare them for the future. Overall, with patience, dedication and consistency parents can assist their children in becoming successful individuals now and into their future adulthood.
Empowering Your Child Through Self-Awareness and Optimism
The ability to effectively recognize one's own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is a powerful tool for children to possess as they journey through life. Self-awareness helps children understand themselves better and become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. By being mindful of how their actions can affect those around them, children can make decisions that are in line with the values and principles they believe in. Moreover, self-awareness allows children to process difficult emotions such as anger and anxiety in a productive way so that they don’t become overwhelmed or lash out at others.
By instilling an optimistic attitude in your child, you can help them cope better with life's challenges. Optimism is not simply viewing the world through rose-colored glasses; rather it is teaching your child to take ownership over their circumstances instead of allowing outside forces to control them. With this approach, your child will be more likely to look for solutions rather than give up when faced with obstacles. Additionally, optimism helps build resilience so that your child can bounce back from adversity quicker and remain positive even during hard times.
Through honest self-reflection and the development of optimistic thinking, parents can empower their children to take charge of their mental health. Showing them that you care and encouraging them to express themselves is a key step in providing a safe and supportive environment in which your child can explore who they are. Simply putting the time into talking with your child, helping build their sense of self-worth, and teaching them resiliency skills will make all the difference for their present and future happiness. Taking on an active role in fostering your child’s mental wellbeing means being there at every turn, from protecting them from bullying to guiding them towards better decision making; it takes a village! If you are looking for some extra resources or advice on providing better wellness opportunities for your children, think about joining YFN Academy. Connecting with like-minded people, having access to expert tips and tricks, plus tools to get started empowers parents to prioritize a positive parenting experience – one that promotes long term success.
The University of Arizona. "Resiliency Skills for Improved Mental Health Outcomes." Resiliency Skills for Improved Mental Health Outcomes: A Study Conducted by the University of Arizona, 2020, www.researchgate.net/publication/343352345_Resiliency_Skills_for_Improved_Mental
World Health Organization. "Mental Health of Children and Adolescents." World Health Organization, www.who.int/mental_health/child-adolescent/en/. Accessed 12 January 2023.