Children are the apple of their parent’s eyes and for many, their sense of pride and joy. From conception itself, the children serve as a means of completing their parent’s unfulfilled dreams and wishes.
The parent-child bond the purest, strong and enduring connections between two people, which lasts a lifetime.
Let’s take a look at some of the illnesses or situations that can hamper you youngster’s emotional health:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): It is characterised as an inability to sit at one place for a long, continuous period, or difficulty in concentration and high amount of impulsivity. It is associated with a high degree of co-morbid mental illness due to its secondary effect. Medicines, therapy, dietary changes, and parental counselling help; but first establishing the diagnosis is essential.
Depression: The childhood depression has a prevalence rate of 2%, which more than doubles in the adolescent period. The risk of self-harm is also an alarming matter. It is important to remember that children may not be able to identify their sadness, and usually, the presenting complaints may vary between irritability and anger outbursts to withdrawn behaviour.
Abuse: Child sexual and physical abuse is a cause for concern, and one should be able to spot the signs and symptoms of trauma; also, the appropriate authorities to reach out to
Separation anxiety: Anxiety on being away from attachment figures or caregivers is common in children, and most will adapt to this as they grow. However, in extreme cases, it can lead to separation anxiety which may need medicines or therapy.
Learning disabilities: These are characterised by a difficulty in understanding the written words or numbers. They are distressing to the children who suffer from them and maybe a source of stress, resulting in a loss of self-esteem and confidence. Early assessment and intervention enable children to better deal with this.
Bullying: Bullying is a menace both, the perpetrator and the victim. It is associated with long-lasting Psychological Trauma and scaring, resulting in problems of mood disorders, decreased self-esteem, anxiety, and others.
Establishing awareness building programmes in school is one of the needs of the hour. We also need to be watchful about cyberbullying and trolling that our kids can get exposed to
Indifference from parents: By far, the worst situation for a child’s emotional health is an indifferent or a rigid and authoritarian parenting style, it may hamper a child’s emotional maturing.
‘Tiger’ or ‘Helicopter Parenting’ is also not recommended as it can make a child excessively anxious and dependent.
Here are a few things that you can do actively take care of your child’s emotional health:
Secure home: Create a warm, welcoming, and safe atmosphere at home. It is one of the necessities in the child development of an emotionally healthy child.
Life skills: Teach your child the essential soft skills such as critical thinking, leadership styles, active listening, empathizing, controlling impulsivity, delaying gratification, and others.
Parenting: There is no perfect way to ‘parent’ a child. However, a flexible, permissive approach with clearly established ground rules is a good place to start
Avoid comparisons: While healthy competition is necessary for a child’s competitive attitude; constant and unreasonable comparison may actually create difficulty and can trigger off intense sibling rivalries or permanently damage fragile budding friendships
Every child is his own: Don’t expect them to follow your expectations and aspirations. Enable them to have an independent mind and nurture and guide them, but leave their decisions to themselves once they grow up
Let them have their childhood: Ensure that your child develops at least one hobby and participates in at least one sport. Also, allow them to have some leisure time
Time-Please: Create a tradition of ‘time-please’ where your child can speak freely with you, without the fear of judgment or reprimand. Preserve the sanctity of that trust
Circle of trust: Discuss and establish a circle of trust and an emergency protocol that your child can reach out to in case of trouble. Teach them to run or scream and show them how to get help if they are ever in a threatening situation
Build your feedback system: Keep yourself informed of their friends and reach out to them or their parents. Remember, you are in the same boat and that kids gossip just like adults. Also, remember to get regular feedback… both good and bad from their teachers. Doing this makes you aware of how your child is fairing and helps identify any areas of concern immediately
Monitor: Monitor activities, but don’t smother them under the weight of their books and timetables
Expressing love: Don’t tire yourself by telling your children that you love them and that you are there for them, they are never going to tire of hearing that reassurance.