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We know that mental health in kids is becoming more and more of an issue. As parents, we all want the best for our kids. The question is: what is ‘the best’ and how is society shaping that in a pressured and damaging way for our children? A way that we as parents or parents-to-be sometimes don’t even realise is happening…
We sat down with one of our resident experts Christophe Sauerwein a psychotherapist with a specialism in developmental trauma to discuss the dynamics behind this. Click here for the full article and here for the podcast discussion.
If (like most people these days!) you’re tight for time here are the five take away practical points for making healthier decisions when it comes to our kids and their mental health development:
ONE: Question everything, particularly your own motives. When you’re making a decision for your child, the first thing to do is ask yourself really honestly: why? Is this out of tradition? Are we creating a programme of life based on your own aim or experiences? Are we projecting our own desires? Is this something that ‘society’ or peers deem to be the ‘right thing to do’.
Which brings us to:
TWO: Humility and self reflection: it’s really easy to be influenced by all these factors without even realising. We all make decisions every single day without really thinking why we make them. There are of course many, many factors affecting the way we make decisions, and these factors are not wrong or right. However, when it comes to our kids, particularly with big decisions, genuinely taking the time to think about what shapes them and why can be a very powerful first step ensuring the decisions we make as parents are done for the right reasons.
THREE: Observation: No one is perfect and inevitably there are and will be missteps along the way. Being genuinely sensitive and observant as to how a child is reacting and behaving in a given situation, is a very powerful way to support your child’s emotional development. A child will inevitably initially react (and not always in a good way) to a new situation or a change, especially if it is out of their comfort zone. That is normal. However, if a child is showing prolonged aggressive, angry or resentful behaviour or equally is despondent, withdrawn, tearful or regressing then that is a very powerful signal that investigation is needed. Sometimes when a child is ‘misbehaving’ there can be a tendency to blame the child. However, this may well be a signal that something is wrong and needs to be understood and investigated.
FOUR: Flexibility: as humans no one likes to be ‘wrong’, however, if you pick up that a child is struggling in a situation that with the best intentions we as parents put them in, being flexible and humble enough to make a change if necessary is a very important step. Sometimes our desire to ‘make it work’ and ‘stick it out’ at all costs can be very detrimental. Its all about sensitive flexibility. As Christophe says: ‘Try, with no necessity to enforce it to succeed.’
FIVE: Making sense of ‘the fail’: Failure is part of life and happens to everyone. Learning to accept failure is part of educating a child about the way life works. But what is ‘failing’? Often when it comes to particularly young children, a ‘fail’ if often about not meeting the expectations set by the parents. There is nothing wrong with aspirations of course, however repeatedly setting goals that are unrealistic for a child is going to cause longer term problems. Once again questioning ‘why’ expectations have not been met. ‘Making sense of the fail’: is the first starting point. Is it because the expectations set are unrealstic for that particular child? Or are there other reasons that we as parents need to examine and understand beneath it? Once again for a parent, it comes back to fact finding, being curious and asking questions. Sometimes even really simple things like hearing or eyesight being a problem can be a huge reason why a child isn’t meeting expectations.
For much more on this subject click here or for the full podcast click here.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.
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