Every parent wants their child to succeed and live a happy and healthy life. Parents make decisions based on what is best for their children. However, early parental feedback, whether positive or negative, can have a major impact on a child’s mental health, laying the foundation for their emotional resilience and psychological development. “A child is impacted differently every time they go through a difficult situation, whether it is a family dispute or psychological stress. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a term used specifically to describe these types of unpleasant situations. In simple terms, these are scenarios that can be distressing for children, such as domestic violence or a divorce. Therefore, your parenting style and home environment can have a significant impact on your child’s mental health,” says Nidhi Tiwari, Child Psychologist. (Also read: Is your parenting style harming your kid’s mental health? )
How parental feedback shapes a child’s mental health
She further shared with HT Lifestyle, “One in three children under the age of 18 suffer at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), and 14% experience two or more ACEs, according to statistics from the National Survey of Children’s Health. About one-fourth of the time, ACEs are brought on by divorce or separation. Children are highly responsive to their parents’ words and behaviours from a very young age. Their interactions are crucial in determining not only their general emotional health but also their sense of self-worth.”
“Parents can have a significant influence on their child’s mental health. This does not mean that mental health problems are passed on from parent to child. For example, if a parent suffers from anxiety, this does not necessarily mean that the child will develop anxiety. But the chances of that happening are higher for a child who experiences it with a parent as they grow up. Mental health problems tend to emerge in adolescence. But the seeds are sown in the early years,” says Rachna Narwekar, early years educator, curriculum expert, and learning disability coach.
She added, “How a child reacts to a fall depends on the parent’s reaction to the action. If we stop a child from running fast or riding a bike after a fall, we have transferred our fear to the child. our fear of the child. Underplaying a situation does not help a child either. Pain is an inevitable part of growing up. Denying it when a child is hurt will do more harm than good in the long run. We need to acknowledge and address our daily struggles in order to have a healthier mindset.”
How parents can positively influence their child’s mental well-being
Rachna further shared valuable insights with HT Lifestyle on how parents can positively influence their child’s mental well-being.
- There is no harm in seeking professional assistance if your child experiences sadness on a regular basis and the emotion lasts. When it comes to children’s mental health difficulties, especially if persistent attempts have not yielded any results. Get in touch with a psychologist or other mental health specialist.
- You should talk to your children about mental health issues sensitively, using age-appropriate language that they can understand.
- Help children acknowledge their feelings and let them know that it is OK to feel what they are feeling.
- If your child does not want to skate because they are afraid of getting hurt, you can say the following “I know this must be scary, but I’m sure you’re brave enough to try it!”
- Help them establish a healthy communication channel with you.
- Mental health problems are no less than physical issues and should be treated with the same urgency we give to dealing with physical ailments. If the flu or a migraine can be diagnosed and treated without reservation, mental health issues should be treated with the same sensitivity and priority when seeking help for a child.
- Give your child the tools to deal with the issues that are troubling them. Remember that the best medicine is always to listen to your child, understand and acknowledge their feelings, and then find a way to manage them together.