We at the Law Office of Angela Barker are delighted to continue our efforts to inspire you, our friends of the firm, to live a gratifying and purposeful life. In our previous newsletter, we expounded on the first Goal of our Vision Board, ‘Using Your Divorce as a Tool for Personal Growth’. This Month, we would like to explore ‘Prioritizing Your Child’s Mental Health’. As parents, we all want the best for our children’s overall health and happiness, including their physical and mental well-being. We have curated four tips for navigating the inner workings of our children’s minds, connecting with them emotionally, and helping them to take care of their mental health. We will also speak about the importance of being open with our children about Mental Health and seeking help where necessary.
Tip #1 – Spend quality time with your child:
Amidst our busy schedules, it is easy to forget the importance of spending time with our children. Try to carve out a little time each day to connect with your child, ask about their day and listen to their thoughts and feelings. Let them know that they can always be open and honest with you. Research has found that spending quality time strengthens the parent-child bond, increases self-esteem, and leads to better academic performance and social skills in children.
Tip #2 – Monitor their physical health:
A healthy lifestyle is crucial to your child’s overall well-being. Ensure they are getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and adequate sleep can improve a child’s physical health and prevent chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who engage in regular physical activity have lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Tip #3 – Set positive boundaries:
Boundaries are a vital part of healthy relationships. Establish clear expectations and rules for behavior, and be consistent in enforcing them. This helps your child understand their boundaries and builds their sense of security. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that children who grew up with clear and consistent boundaries had better self-control and were less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Additionally, boundaries help children build trust in their parents.
Tip #4 – Provide Emotional Support:
Let your child know that you are there to listen and support them. Research has shown that children who have supportive parents are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The American Academy of Pediatrics, stated that parents can help their children develop emotional intelligence by acknowledging their feelings, validating their emotions, and helping them find ways to cope with difficult situations.
Navigating Mental Health Issues with Your Child
Children need to know that mental health is just as important as physical health. Talk to them about the importance of looking after their mental health and how to recognize signs of distress or mental health problems. Children who are educated about mental health are more likely to seek help when needed and have better mental health outcomes. Studies have found that talking openly with children about mental health reduced their stigma towards mental health issues and increased their willingness to seek help. Additionally, early intervention is crucial, and parents can play a significant role in identifying early signs of distress or mental health problems in their children. By discussing mental health openly and honestly with your child, you can help them develop healthy coping strategies.
As parents, it is important to monitor our children’s behavior and emotional state, as children often struggle to express their emotions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, warning signs of mental health issues in children include changes in behavior, mood, or sleep patterns, as well as withdrawal from activities or friends. As such, it is important for parents to be aware of these signs and seek professional help if they notice anything concerning. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that early treatment for mental health issues can improve long-term outcomes for children and reduce the risk of chronic mental health problems.
By being vigilant and seeking professional help when necessary, parents can help their children receive the support they need to maintain good Mental Health. If you suspect that your child is struggling with a Mental Health Issue, it is important to seek help from a medical or mental health professional. Seeking help can provide parents with the tools and support they need to help their child navigate their mental health journey. There is no shame in seeking help, and doing so can make all the difference in your child’s overall well-being.
Taking care of your children’s overall health and well-being is an essential factor in the prioritization of their Mental Health. Vigilance is important and as parents, we should not only speak to our children about Mental Health but know the signs associated with Mental Health Issues and be prepared to take any necessary action to help our children if they need it. We hope these tips help you to continue to build strong, loving relationships with them. Thank you for reading, and we’ll be back soon with more tips and advice, and to check in on your 2023 Vision Board progress!