When I started writing on Children’s Mental Health I was worried. I thought to give you some concrete advice that can enhance your understanding of the problem and at the same time, It can also boost your confidence to tackle your children’s mental health issue on your own. Repeated happening creates a pattern in the brain that lead the situation. Though we see the problems at a superficial level, whereas we have to understand that the root cause of any problem is deep inside the mental ecosystem of any person. Issues related to mental health is not restricted to any age or gender that makes it more vulnerable for those who don’t pay attention to it.
It is a very serious problem in countries like America, Canada, and most of the European continent. Almost about 20% of the total children’s population is being suffered from this problem. In this blog, we will talk more about Children’s Mental Health whereas if interested you can check my thoughts on mental health for men and women as well.
So coming back to the point…
Why your child has developed this unusual behavior that has made you worried?
Sometimes you may be over judging and sometimes (as parents) we actually get late to understand the struggle of our own children in their minds.
What has caused the disturbance in the mental programming of your child can give us a way to solve the problem. Sometimes this disturbance could be very small and does not need any special attention whereas sometimes it may be so serious that you could feel helpless to solve the mental issues of your own child.
When I was a child multiple times I went under circumstances like depressions, not feeling happy, worried more about exam results, getting neglected from high society friends, and the list goes on. These are those which I remember but there could be many more. So we have to understand things which do not matter to us may be a big matter for our child.
It’s highly important to identify such mental issues in your child at the early stages else it turns into unwanted behavior, and then it becomes difficult to treat. Before I go further let me explain how the brain perceives the things, how it nurtures, how the brain develops the mental program, and executes it. For instance, I’ll explain this with an example.
As a child, we remain new to the world and we want to know our surroundings. What are the things around, how it functions, what is good for us, and what’s bad? Many children remain curious about such things and want to know the answers. For them, we as parents remain a guide to their curiosity.
When we respond to their queries they feel satisfied and happy with the answers or they may come up with a new query challenging your answers. Now think about this situation at the mental level. Your child’s brain wants to know about why birds can fly and we can’t and your answer does not satisfy him. What will happen?
He will again ask the question. If not answered well or it is so technical for him to understand your answer, he may ask to somebody else. If he got a satisfactory answer from somebody else his brain got a signal that the other person could have answers to all his queries. It will develop trust and he will become more comfortable with the other person.
In children’s life, few special personas are meant to be the world for them. If it continued for a long time he will be more close and comfortable with the other person and don’t feel easy to share any problem with you. This mental program could lead to a serious family issue at the later stages. So now if you could understand his behavioral pattern, you need not to do something substantial. You just have to identify it in the beginning and start giving more time to your child. Just by playing with him, participating in his favorite game can bring him back to you.
It was just a basic example. Now let’s dig out into how you identify the problem and finds a way to solve them.
How you are so sure that your Children’s mental health is a matter of seriousness?
Sometimes stress and lifestyle can develop some irregular changes in your child’s behavior and you may consider it a mental health issue. That’s why sometimes it becomes difficult to find out whether he is actually suffering from a mental health issue or this is just some temporary consequences. There could be n number of reasons which could have led you thinking wrong.
I have listed down some points which you should not ignore:
- If it is a biological problem and you identify it, so act asap
- Noticeable sudden changes in his behavior
- Remain lost for a long time
- Changed perception and not being happy for anything (Schizophrenia)
- Changes in diet and food liking
- Hopeless about the future
- Changed performance in academics
- Significant changes in his sleeping routine
- Started ignoring people with whom they used to enjoy
- Harm to self by any short of punishment like head-banging, consuming extra alcohol, etc.
- Being hopeless for the future
- Becoming more Angry, Sad, Worried, etc. than normal
- Having some serious inferiority about anything
- Uses alcohol or drugs
- Developed any unwanted habits and perform it ritually many times in a day (Tic disorders)
- Hopeless talks about loss, death, suicide, etc.
- Remain anxious and worried
- Finding very hard to concentrate on something – ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- See bad dreams and listen to voices in his mind (hallucinations)
- Damage surroundings and heart people
While doing research on Child Mental Health issues I get this site – Test Mental Condition of Your Child. Go to the site follow the checklist and submit your form. Based on your remarks some mental health professionals will revert to you with the findings and guide you on how to go further.
What has happened to your child in his mind?
In our brains, things work on some basic rules. Thoughts which we bring regularly we get used to of it. Good or bad any though changes our behavior accordingly. We as a mature person who has lived millions of thoughts, consequently have developed some sort of understanding and belief against happening. But as a child who is new to these thoughts have no idea how to deal with that.
Due to some unwanted happenings, when some harmful thoughts started coming in their young mind they think that it is happening only with them and started considering themselves as a victim. In this situation if they have anybody close to their hearts, they may share their problems with them but if not then things may go wrong.
How you can fix this mental health disturbance on your own at his mental level?
In a nutshell, the only remedy to this problem is spending quality time with your children.
- Play and joggle with your children to get their trust and love
- Start a conversation with them for anything unusual without fear. And mind giving enough space to your child to speak up. Don’t be judgmental and never let your child think that if he opens up with you, he will be judged and treated differently. Always have smooth discussions with a happy ending.
- Encourage your children for anything they are not good at and help them excel that.
- Value to their feelings and offer support
- Small children may not express their feelings well. Even then stay calm and don’t interrupt. Listen to them carefully as if you are 100% focus on their words and help them feel as if you understood them well.
- Help your child to develop self-esteem and confidence by praising them, Encouraging Honesty, No Sarcastic remarks, setting realistic goals.
What if you find yourself helpless to improve your Children’s mental health?
It could be true that even after so many efforts you are not able to help you, child, in his struggle with mental health. Now in this situation, you can do two things.
- Increase your knowledge about this subject through online, offline resources and implement it to get some positive results.
- You can seek some professional advice and avail their services
Following are some resources that can be helpful:
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Children’s Mental Health(American Psychological Association)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation(American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
- Mental Illness in Children: Know the Signs(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Treatments and Therapies
Choosing a Mental Health Provider (University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics)
Mental Health Medications (National Institute of Mental Health)
As a survey has revealed that there could be many reasons for Children’s Mental Health issues but there are some basic and common reasons for Children’s Good Mental health.
The Basic reasons for Children’s Good mental health:
- Unconditional Love and support from family, especially from parents
- Family members spending quality time with their children like, playing with them, watching a movie together, roaming around together
- Discipline in parents lifestyle is replicated in their children
- Providing appropriate guidance to their children
- Upbringing in a safe and secure environment
- Encourage and help children develop their confidence and high self-esteem
- Encouraging teachers and supportive caretaker
Keep on doing good things and things will turn up.