Just like grown-ups, children also have physical needs. Such as good food, warm clothing, a strong roof over their heads and ample security.
These are primal needs required for basic survival, needs that parents tend to focus on.
However, parents need to keep in mind that mental health is also equally important. Identifying the key factors related to mental health needs are not as simple.
Mental health needs must be recognized and addressed as they make children feel secure, grow strong interpersonal skills, maintain a steady growth and grow strong self-confidence.
Studies have shown that one out of every five children in North America has been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Kids nowadays are struggling with issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, learning disabilities, and depression.
If not dealt with soon enough, children combating these issues find it difficult to make new friends, achieve desired goals in school and struggle in becoming independent from their parents.
Parents need to help their children in their early stages so they can overcome these problems. Here are a few steps parents can take to address their child’s mental health needs.
Show your children how you want them to be. Show them that it’s okay to lose your temper once in a while as long as you apologize.
Encourage them to share their feelings and help them make the right choices. Aid them by giving your own successful examples.
Parents have to realize that love and reassurance is the best way to discipline a child. You must set realistic expectations and be firm while helping them achieve it.
Don’t nag or threaten them as they are seldom effective and children tend to grow a resistance to these actions.
Teaching children the importance of following rules and values is very important in the early ages.
They must be taught the significance of rules within a family. Best way to accomplish this is to offer fair and reliable supervision and discipline.
Children need to be able to make the right decision and be accountable for their choices. They have to understand that certain actions are improper and unacceptable.
Children will invariably learn more if the methods are fun. So parents need to incorporate the right toys for the kids which will make learning a fun experience, making it something the kids will look forward to.
Children must be assured that participating in an activity is the main achievement. Winning is not the primary goal, having fun and being involved is most rewarding.
In a family, a child needs to feel most secure and loved. Children must feel that the love and support from their parents are unconditional and unwavering.
Parents must set attainable goals and need to guide their children with love and assurance. Accomplishments need to be praised and mistakes should be accepted with a smiling face.
Children must be encouraged to try new activities with the assurance that failure is only a pillar to success. Self-confidence in children can be boosted by active participation from the parents.
How to Identify Mental Health Issues in Children
If something is constantly troubling your child and he has fears that won’t go away, then you have to identify the cause and find ways to eradicate it. But first, it’s important to identify the symptoms.
Your child needs emotional support from you if he’s having trouble concentrating, not staying focused in school, having frequent negative thoughts or placing self-blame.
Pay special attention to your child if he has difficulty sleeping or relaxing. If he overreacts vehemently and suddenly, needs to be alone more often, daydreams a lot, seems less enthusiastic, overly emotional and less energetic, changes need to be made.
Frequent mood swings are a clear indication of mental health issues in children. Check to see if your child seems embarrassed, fearful, dismal, angry, unhappy and overly worried.
It’s time to pay extra attention to your child if they feel helpless, dejected, and alone.
Sometimes emotional problems cause physical symptoms. Such as feeling tired and drowsy, having headaches, stomach aches, or pain in different parts of the body.
Lack of sleep and loss of appetite is also caused by continuous mental health troubles.
Sometimes children display some nervous symptoms due to mental health problems. Some of these may include twitching, nail biting or hair twisting.
Children may develop an unhealthy fear of school from a stressful event such as shifting schools or moving to a new neighborhood.
A bad incident or experience at school might also make them want to avoid going to school.
Many children may get used to staying at home following a long illness and they might not feel interested in returning to school.
Fortunately, nowadays there are mental health organizations to help guide us through these particularly challenging times for our children.
Counselors at school provide special education services and outreach programs for students struggling with issues at school.
Child pediatricians can provide treatments for children having physical difficulties due to mental health issues. Community outreach programs can be especially beneficial for children facing challenges at home.
At the end of the day, the mental well-being of your child starts at home. Parents must ensure a loving, caring and secure home for their children.
They must feel totally safe and know that family is where they can receive unconditional love and support.
Good peers and supportive parents help children develop high self-esteem and self-confidence. Hence the parents must play an active role in helping the children have a healthy emotional outlook towards life.
Stepheny is a content writer at FeedFond. She’s a loving mother to her two children and is passionate towards child psychology. To read more of her articles, visit FeedFond.com.