Mental health has always been stigmatized. As a society we keep our mental health in the dark, we hide behind our smiles and masks pretending to be okay. My question would be this. Does hiding our emotions impact our children and the way they perceive the world? According to an article by NIHM (National Institute of Mental Health), they state that:” For many adults who have mental disorders, symptoms were present—but often not recognized or addressed—in childhood and adolescence. It can be tough to tell if troubling behavior in a child is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional.”
Considering this, we have to ask ourselves as parents:” How do you approach your child’s mental health?”. Communication is a key factor in establishing a transparent way of allowing our children to express what they feel. Guidance on how to manage and react to those feelings, and encouragement to adjust whilst approaching situations in a positive manner.
Now, I know you are asking how in the world do I use this on my 4-year-old. Well, Rasmussen University claims “there are three major steps to building a well-equipped, emotional toolbox—and they don’t just happen. They involve practice and support from those who understand how important emotional intelligence really is.”, furthermore, parents and other individuals that have the greatest impact on our children’s lives creates the most influence.
Our responsibility as parents is to provide our children with a safe, nurturing, and emotionally stable environment. This has been a struggle for many families across the United States. Economic development, income ratios, job availability, housing, and substance abuse are a few key factors in our unintended failure as parents. We work hard and we do our best to provide for our children. but we can’t always assure their safety or success in life. What we can do is be emotionally available. Using and improving our communication skills, and providing a stable foundation for our children, will set them on the track to sustainable mental health.
Our children are the future, and our households are in ruins due to parents having to work 2-3 jobs to stay afloat. Increasing housing shortages that are affordable, and general economic instability pushes our teens and adolescents to resort to questionable practices to feel safe. Being heard and creating a sense of belonging builds stronger relationships and improves overall well-being. The less time we spend with our children the more they seek outside influence to fill that gap. We have to do better, hold ourselves accountable and help our children navigate this extreme thing we call life.
Change is always easy to talk about but so hard to implement, a fitness facility I used to frequent said it best: ” If it was easy every one would do it.”, how true those words are now. An effort from us as parents will have to take precedence over all, our focus should shift to our children, their upbringing, and more than anything their mental health stability. By practicing some of the steps below we can build an emotional toolbox, that will create self-care for parents so they can reflect back to their children.
The following list includes the tools that are commonly used to stay well and help relieve symptoms of emotional distress. (Emotional Tools)
Written by Ilana Sheppard