Mental health is a topic we generally ignore due to some pre-existing dilemma. Emotional well-being is equally important as physical health. We take fewer initiatives for the betterment of our mental health. Good mental health allows us to understand, achieve our goals, and improve our quality of life.
Mental problems can affect anyone at any age, including children and teenagers. Children’s mental health is quite different and complicated from adult mental health. It includes wellness and optimal development of a child in the emotional, social, behavioral, and cognitive areas. Children may experience numerous difficulties in their social relationships, psychological and emotional development, and behavioral issues when they lack good mental health.
Various mental health issues affecting children
According to various researches, more than 70% of children and adolescents suffering from mental health problems don’t get the proper attention. The following are a few mental health problems a child can suffer:
- Panic disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Self-isolation trouble after the pandemic
Factors affecting children and young people’s mental health
Good mental health help children develop the strength to cope with various future difficulties in their lives and grow into emotionally stable and healthy adults. Various risk factors can trigger mental issues in children and young adolescents, such as:
- Traumatic events in the family
- Social isolation due to pandemic outbreak
- Frequent changes in surroundings, such as shifting home or changing school
- The birth of a new sibling causes a shift in parent’s attention and leads to emotional disturbance
- Difficulty in adjusting body development
- The pressure of excellence in studies and extracurricular activities
- Abusive childhood
- Unhealthy family environments, such as family conflict, parental substance abuse, parental depression, or divorce
- Problems with friends or extended family members
- Bullying at school or neighborhood
- Digital pressure
How to improve the mental health of the children and young adolescents
Some children face many challenges after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, which leads to changes in their livelihood, conflicts with family, and loss of harmony with friends and surroundings. Sometimes, children fail to express their feelings and develop frustration and depression. As a parent, you can take essential steps to support them emotionally and help them copes with the struggle they are facing, such as:
- Listen to them: If your child is suffering from emotional turmoil, ensure them that you are there and will do your best to help them. Make them comfortable so that your child has enough confidence in you to talk about their feelings without holding back.
- Be involved in their life: Make efforts to participate in their daily routine and show them you care for them. You can play with them, help them with their projects or homework, and enjoy various fun activities.
- Support them: Sometimes, children struggle to tell their problems. It is common for children to have some behavioral changes while going through growth stages. But, if you notice that your child starts isolated from their friends and family members with minimal to no interest in their daily routine, it’s an early sign of mental health problems. So, let them know that you are there to support them whenever they need it.
- Open communication: You need to make sure your child knows that they can talk to you about any matter and that they will be heard and valued by you.
- Motivate their interests: You can support and encourage your child to explore their interests without putting pressure on what you think. You can try to involve in their activities, learn new things with your child, and show them team spirit by working in teams.
- Create a healthy routine: Unclear schedules can build stress and anxiety in children and young adolescents. You can create a general timetable at home, such as daily meals, weekly outing plans, movie schedules, or game nights. A well-managed routine decreases mental stress and frustration in both parents and children.
- Always give positive feedback: Children and young adolescents love receiving positive feedback. It gives them a sense of achievement and increases self-confidence. Positive reinforcement for good behavior encourages your child to redo similar behaviors.
- Consider their view in decision making: As their parent, we often feel that we know what is best for our children and ignore their perspective, which causes disappointment and detachment from reality. To improve this, you can find ways to include your child in making simple decisions and value their opinions.
Since children will undergo developmental changes in their growth spurs, it’s normal to have some psychological changes while handling these situations. Still, if you notice any unusual behavioral changes in your child, don’t be afraid and consult your doctor for needful.