Every parent wants the best for their children. They are super diligent about their children’s education, nutrition, immunization, and overall wellbeing. But how often do you think about your child’s mental health? Like physical health, children’s mental health is equally critical, especially when dealing with stress and anxiety.
Nowadays, students have a lot of academic pressure. There is a persistent urge to perform well because their college admissions are at stake. Similarly, students face a lot of peer pressure. Following the Instagram influencers, they try to mimic others’ behavior and look for a certain way to fit into the societal norms. Some children can deal with these stressors, but others become self-conscious. In addition to being unhealthy, it triggers many mental health problems.
Therefore, it is time for teachers and parents to acknowledge these problems. They have to support the mental health of students by teaching coping skills and providing feedback. If you want to learn more about this, you can seek help from public healthcare workers. And as a teacher, if you want to advance your credentials, you can opt for a Masters public health no GRE degree. It will help you to understand the mental health challenges they face.
Here are a few tips to support the mental health of children and adolescents.
Encourage Children to Share their Feelings
Most children hesitate to share their feelings. It’s because of the fright of being judged, or maybe they think no one will understand them. As a parent, you have to check in with your children. Invite them to join in a task and chat about their day. Likewise, remind them you are there no matter what and acknowledge their emotions. Besides this, teachers also have to become good listeners. Whenever a child opens up to you, respond with positive phrases like ‘I understand’ or ‘that makes sense.’
Moreover, learn to empathize with the children. You can brush up on your behavioral and social health skills by pursuing educational programs.
Model Healthy Coping Skills
Unlike adults, it is challenging for children to cope with situations. Often, adolescents show anger and frustration as a response to such situations, damaging their mental health. As a parent or teacher, you have to model healthy coping skills. You can either engage in these skills or make them understand. If any child feels angry over small things, practice deep breathing exercises to calm them down. Likewise, promote the usage of stress balls and painting since they help cope with feelings. They also relax the stressors, allowing children to think and act accordingly.
Monitor Behavioral Changes
During the developmental stages, it is normal for children to go through changes in behavior. Hence, if your child has become withdrawn or isolated lately, check upon them. It might be a sign that they are experiencing a situation they don’t know how to process. For instance, it could be bullying, peer pressure, or lack of social contact. In such situations, let your child know you are there and ready to support them. However, don’t force them to open up if they don’t want to.
Provide Positive Feedback & Encouragement
Truthfully, children love to receive positive feedback. They feel super happy when people tell them they have done something well. It increases the feelings of pride and confidence, which sticks with children in the longer run. In addition, you have to provide positive reinforcement for behaviors. Suppose a student has cleaned the playground after lunch; reward that behavior. It will encourage children to repeat the behavior, improving their overall wellbeing.
Teach Stress Management
Unfortunately, parents can’t prevent their children from experiencing stress. It is a part of life, and learning to deal with it healthily can set up children for success in the future. In some instances, children will have disagreements with friends. Similarly, they might fail assessments and tests. You have to help children develop skills to deal with such circumstances while building their mental strength. For this, familiarize them with stress management techniques and personalize their stress-relief activities.
Involve Children in Decision-Making
As adults, we know what’s best for children. Because of this, we often leave them out of the decision-making process. Indeed, it is more appropriate for parents and teachers to make the final decisions. Still, children should be a part of the process. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial; relatively, making them a part of small things. Perhaps, you ask them whether they feel like having macaroni for dinner or not. It will make them feel valued in their homes, developing confidence.
Work Through Conflict Together
Unsurprisingly, conflicts are inevitable when raising children. At times, you won’t agree with your teens’ choices, whereas sometimes, they might refuse to listen to you. Instead of getting angry at each other, you have to work together through the conflict. First, listen to your teen and remember, everyone gets stressed. It is always better to empathize with your child rather than assert control.
It will allow them to trust you with their problems and make them feel better. Most importantly, never discuss issues when you are angry. It is better to walk away, take a breath, and talk about the problem later.
As children go through various changes during their development phase, it affects their emotional expression. As a result, you’ll notice significant alterations in your child’s behavior at each stage. All you have to do is support and be there for them. Also, try to understand what they are going through instead of controlling their feelings and emotions. It will make them feel more confident and help them cope with mental health challenges easily.