Our emotional health is all about our thoughts and feelings and how we manage our emotions while coping with life’s events. Your emotional well-being doesn’t only affect you; it significantly impacts those around you. When most people hear about emotional health, they assume it’s all about the grown-ups. But mental health matters for both kids and adults.
Sound emotional health is essential for children because it helps them develop socially, physically, and mentally. They can build loving relationships, interact appropriately, and form healthy habits. Also, a child with good mental health is able to enjoy life, learn well, and manage angry, sad, or worrying feelings with ease.
Mental strength in children (or adults) isn’t about suppressing emotions, acting tough, or being defiant and unkind. It’s about resilience and courage that make the child confident in their abilities to achieve any goal they set.
Parents play a huge role in their children’s emotional health. The following tips will help you raise your kids to be mentally strong and prepared for the world’s challenges.
1. Care For Your Mental Health
You cannot give out what you don’t have. Caring for your own mental health is pivotal in helping your kids grow up sound and happy because children are natural copycats. They observe how their parents interact \with people and display emotions, and they imitate what they see.
No matter how much we care for our kids, we can’t raise them to be emotionally healthy if we aren’t fulfilled and content in ourselves because our kids will get the same energy we exude. This doesn’t mean we should deny our frustrations and put on a brave face. We can never fully mask our feelings, and we certainly can’t stop our kids from perceiving them. So, consider seeking professional help for yourself by booking an appointment with a therapist or mindset coach.
According to Darren Smillie, ”You may love being a parent but still find yourself feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied with your life. In such a situation, you’d need help to rewire your brain, shift your thought process, and remove your mental blocks so that you can be and feel your best.” Once you have control of your mind, your work, parenting, and relationships will change for the better. You’ll be happier and become the parent your child needs.
2. Model Emotional Strength
The best way to instill mental strength in your child is by showing them how to be emotionally strong. Prioritizing mental health and self-improvement in your life will help you prepare your child for emotional strength. So, talk to your child about your personal goals and show them that you’re actively taking steps towards improving yourself and achieving your goals.
Also, teach your child mental toughness by working with them in various situations they may find uncomfortable. For example, if your child makes a mistake, you can leverage that as an opportunity to teach them that mistakes are common when learning. That way, they won’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about getting something wrong initially. Allow the natural consequence of their action to take its course (if it’s safe to do so) and teach them how to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. You can also utilize pediatric counseling to help you teach your children about emotional strength.
3. Help Them Manage Fears
Teach your child how to face fears and overcome them one step at a time. You can start by getting them to talk about their fears. You need to be patient and ask specific questions because a child may know what scares them but lack the right words to explain it. So, if your child is afraid of the dark or being alone, you can probe deeper to find out if they’re scared of all dark places or a specific place. Also, find out if something happened to them when they were alone or in a dark room.
Once you have a grasp of what frightens your child, you’ll know how to help them fight the fear. Don’t brush off their fears as being baseless. Instead, validate their feelings by letting them know that others out there faced similar fears and overcame them. Next, work with your little one to set reasonable goals for overcoming their fears. For instance, if your child is scared of being alone, you can stay with them in the room until they fall asleep but agree that they’ll start turning off the light and falling asleep on their own by the end of the week.
Remember, change takes time. So you’ll need to be patient with your child and acknowledge their efforts when they make significant progress with tackling their fears. For example, telling your kid how brave they are after falling asleep alone can make them feel more confident in themselves.
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