Why You Need to Be Open With Your Children About Mental Health
Children often have complex emotions, thoughts and reactions, but youngsters may not always be forthcoming about what’s on their mind or willing to discuss it. Sometimes, a child doesn’t understand their own feelings so they can’t find the words to tell you about them. However, some of those thoughts and emotions can be quite disturbing, and if left unexpressed, they could even threaten a child’s psychological well-being, according to the Child Mind Institute. This is why you should have an open-door policy with your children when it comes to mental health. Here are a few things to consider.
Early Therapy Can Help
As a parent, you’ll want to help your child, but sometimes it’s easier for a trained professional to break through to them. There is nothing wrong with starting your child in therapy at an early age. It can teach them to process their feelings in a healthy way and even open the door for your child to share with you how they feel.
There is more than one approach to child therapy. According to Renewed Hope Ranch, working with and caring for animals such as horses can be a powerful therapy method. This is a great family activity that you can do with your child. Pursuing this approach together could allow the two of you to bond.
Trust is a big issue with a child. Respecting them and giving them your full attention is a great way to start. You must remember to remain free of judgment during these times of discussion. Otherwise, your child may shut down. Also, remember to keep these exchanges confidential. Your child won’t want the whole world to know what they’re thinking or feeling.
Make It a Two-Way Street
Just as your child shares his or her feelings, you should share yours as well. It will help your child to understand that they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to have strong feelings about something. Of course, don’t share adult problems. Your child doesn’t need to know about past-due bills or relationship issues. Keep it PG-13 so your child can relate to you. For example, you could talk about how your new job makes you feel, and they could talk about how their new class at school seems to them.
Being open and honest is the best type of relationship you and your child can share. Let them know that it’s okay to discuss their mental health with you. This will teach them to manage their feelings in a healthy and productive way.
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