Talking About Mental Health with Your Child

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Good mental health is vital for your child’s physical and emotional well-being. If mental health issues are ignored in the early childhood years, they can lead to more significant problems as kids grow older. Children need to learn self-confidence and be able to develop healthy relationships with other people.

Just because your kids are young, it does not mean they don’t face challenges every day.

What Factors May Affect Your Child’s Mental Health?

Kids may develop mental health issues due to several reasons. They can be biological factors such as genetics and family history. Psychological factors like experiencing loss, stress, physical or mental abuse, and bullying.

Children might also face trauma if they are physically disabled, sick, or have gone through an accident. In some cases, moving to a new place or family conflicts can also contribute to such issues.

Mental Health Issues That Children Face

One in 10 people experience mental health issues before the age of 16. The most common issues faced by this young generation are depression, anxiety, ADHD disorder, and conduct disorder. If you feel like your children are not acting like themselves, it is better to communicate with them and try to learn if they are facing any trouble.

Other signs to look out for are:

  • not eating or sleeping properly

  • avoiding social interactions

  • disinterested in their hobbies

  • lethargic and not performing well at school

  • being unusually emotional

Talking About Kids Mental Health

The first step in creating effective dialogue between you and your kids is not to be afraid of having difficult conversations. Even if you don’t have all the answers, talking to your children about mental health issues may help you understand and decide if they need additional support from a therapist.

Parents should try to develop a sharing environment in their homes. Kids need to feel comfortable to speak candidly and not be afraid of being judged, ridiculed or disciplined. Moreover, patience is critical. If your child is not ready to talk, then don’t force them. Understanding and patience are critical.

Most importantly, consider their feelings seriously and don’t undermine them. Your children need to know that you are supportive, and this can go a long way in improving your kids mental health. Try to help them understand that they are not alone, and that help can be provided to them.

If you think your child needs additional support, contact the Counselling and Wellbeing Centre. We use effective strategies specially designed for children and young adults to help them navigate through their problems successfully. You can find our contact details here or call our friendly team on (07) 3891 2273.

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