Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as maintaining one’s physical health. Over the past years, campaigns for mental health awareness have increased tenfold. Surely, times are changing but society still has a long way to go before totally eradicating the stigma often attached to mental illness and its victims, and parents can contribute greatly to their kids’ psychological development.
In order to help prevent these disorders, those in close proximity must take proactive measures to help address these conditions and even the early symptoms. Though mental illness could be tricky, there is still much hope and endless possibilities to help those in need. Here are some ways that you, as a parent, can check your children’s mental conditions, as provided by psychometricians, Ms. Alexandria Daplas, RPm and Mr. Joseph Samson, RPm:
1. Always communicate
Having good communication with your children plays a crucial role in their psychological development. While each parent has his/her own way of interacting with their children, a few important points must be remembered to ensure that parents are actually doing good than harm. When it comes to asking how your children are doing (e.g., at school), focus should be more on the process instead of outcomes. This will reinforce persistence in completing tasks/activities. Children will feel more appreciated when they are recognized for their efforts instead of being rewarded merely for successful outcomes.
2. Get involved
As children grow up, their environment becomes more complex as they begin to interact with people outside of the family. This usually becomes evident when kids start playing with others around their age and when they begin with formal education. Usually, there are school activities that encourage bonding time between parent and child like sports fests and career days. School events also give parents the opportunity to learn about issues that their children may be encountering and to have a chance to speak with their children’s teachers if needed. By attending such events, parents show that they care about what their kids are up to.
3. Provide an environment that is nurturing and supportive
There are four known parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive/indulgent, uninvolved/neglectful; and authoritative, which has been known to be the best. It is because parents who adopt the authoritative style allow their children freedom to explore their surroundings. This eventually translates into self-confidence, autonomy, and independence when kids reach adolescence and mature into adults.
4. Ask your children random questions
Understanding your child’s unique inner world must be given as much attention as his/her basic needs. It could start with a simple question such as, “What is your favorite color?” or “What do you want to be for Halloween?”. You’ll be surprised at how creative they can be with their answers. Also, asking what they are interested in and what else they want to learn outside school will help your kids discover their talents and realize their potential. It will also mean a lot to them if parents are willing to explore their imagination with them by contributing ideas to make it more fun.
5. Know their Friends
The influence of your child’s friends becomes greater the more he or she spends time with them. With this in mind, a parent has to make sure that one’s son or daughter is hanging around with a good bunch. Not only is knowing your children significant; it also pays to get to know the people your child frequently hangs around with. But remember, this does not give parents an excuse to meddle with their children’s privacy. It is also important to respect their privacy and personal space, which are other features of authoritative parenting.
If you think your children are showing signs of mental illness or if you want to further understand them, it’s best to seek professional help or advice. For more tips to help your kids navigate their student life, check out Edukasyon.ph’s Parent Portal.