8 Parenting Tips for Nourishing Your Child’s Mental Health
Guest contribution by Rachael Pace
Parenting tips abound online about how to raise a happy child, how to be a better parent, and how to nourish a child’s mental health. And it’s no surprise, as the World Health Organization reports that issues of mental health now affect one in four people – including children.
As parents, it’s our job to make sure our children are growing up into healthy adults. This means providing financially for them, keeping a roof over their head, and making sure they’re well fed. It also means guiding them and ensuring that we’re nourishing their mental health.
Don’t be left in the dark when it comes to mental health issues and your children. Here are 8 parenting tips for nourishing your child.
1. Open the Lines of Communication
Communication is essential for happy, successful relationships. That includes the relationship between parent and child.
If your child is struggling with their mental health or is confused about how they’re feeling, they need to know that they can come to you with their problems.
Open the lines of communication with your kids by asking them open-ended questions. This will encourage them to speak their mind and will give you a better idea of their thoughts and opinions.
Be careful how you respond to your children when they come to you. Being overly negative or judgemental may hinder future communication. Instead, give them your undivided attention and be respectful to their feelings.
2. Spend Quality Family Time Together
Spending quality time together as a family is important for maintaining good mental health. Planning weekend outings, having picnics, playing cards, playing games and talking together strengthens the family unit and creates a sense of stability and love in the household.
Many families also choose to regularly sit down for meals together without television or other distractions in the background. This is a great opportunity to talk, laugh, and bond as a family. Plus, studies show talking during meals promotes a child’s development.
3. Maintain Your Marriage
One of the biggest parenting tips when it comes to your child’s mental health is to make your marriage a priority. Studies show that children function better when their parents take care of their marriage. Why? Because the peace of the marriage plays an important role in maintaining a safe and loving environment at home.
Statistics show that children of divorce are more likely to have ADD, to suffer from emotional turmoil, and to be held back a grade.
These facts make it clear that spending time with your partner and making quality couple’s time a priority will have a positive effect on your child.
4. Give Unconditional Love
As with all parents, there will be times when your children do things that you don’t approve of. It’s important to give them discipline and structure during their youth to guide them, but be careful that your discipline isn’t so harsh that your child begins to question your love for them.
A child needs unconditional love to prosper in their mental health.
Of course, as parents, we all want to encourage our children to be the best that they can be, but it’s equally as important to be clear with them that your love is not based on their appearance, goals, or accomplishments. Your love and loyalty are unconditional.
5. Encourage Positive Friendships
Research confirms the age-old adage “monkey see-monkey do”. Basically, children learn from observing those around them. If they are surrounded by positive people who have goals and treat people kindly, they are more likely to put an emphasis on these things.
Similarly, if children surround themselves with negative people who have bad habits, they are more likely to emulate this behavior.
One of the best parenting tips to help nourish your child’s mental health is to help your child build emotionally beneficial friendships.
Good friends are loyal, share things in common, respect each other and have fun together. Since parents play an important role in helping children develop friendships, make sure the playdates you’re setting up are with children who will be a good influence on your little one.
6. Build Positive Self-Esteem
Self-esteem has a lot to do with mental health. Don’t be afraid to praise your child for their good deeds. This may mean complimenting them for their grades, the way they treat people, their devotion to exercise or healthy eating, and the list goes on. This will help encourage them to continue positive, healthy behaviors.
At times sarcasm can be humorous, but try and avoiding harmful sarcastic remarks to your child as these can be damaging to their self-esteem. Instead of berating them for a poor grade or bad behavior, look for ways to build them up and give them confidence so that they can conquer the next test or social situation with ease.
By following these parenting tips to bolster your child’s self-esteem now so they can reap the positive mental health benefits.
7. Create Safe Surroundings
One way you can nourish your child’s mental health is by creating a home environment that is positive and safe.
The last thing a child, who is potentially dealing with mental health issues, needs is to come home to an environment that feels unsafe, stressful or is full of arguments or tension.
The home front should be a child’s safety zone where their parents are their protectors. When they come through the front door, they should know that their home is filled with love, nutritious food, support, and respect. It should be somewhere they can relax and let go of their worries.
Knowing that such a place exists for them can help children feel secure and satisfied with their lives.
8. Nourish Your Child’s Mental Health With Help From a Therapist
As the world around us changes, we change – and this includes adjusting our parenting tips. Children deal with mental health issues on a daily basis and it’s up to parents to nourish their kid’s mind, body, and soul. Build up their self-esteem, make family time a priority, and open the lines of communication to keep your kid’s mental health in tip-top shape.
Consider fostering your child’s mental health with assistance from an experienced child therapist or together as a family with our family therapists. At Eddins Counseling Group, we have several therapists that specialize in cultivating your child’s mental health in a safe and serene setting. Call us today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.
Author Bio: The author is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com that supports healthy happy marriages.
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