Intentional parenting

It’s never too early or too late to start taking your child’s mental health seriously

It’s not an easy feat maintaining high levels of self-esteem and self-worth in this world. There are simply too many things we’re exposed to that cause us to feel bad about ourselves and our lives. Some of these things are within our control. Many are not.

There are so many adults that trudge through life feeling like they don’t fit in. Some of these people feel misunderstood, while others feel inferior. Some feel forgettable, while others feel that their behaviour is too memorable.

There are adults whose negative thoughts about themselves far outweigh the positive ones. Some of these people haven’t received enough feedback from others, while others have received too much criticism.  Whilst we all have our weaknesses, being able to view ourselves according to our strengths is a skill we haven’t all been taught.

There are adults who feel like their lives don’t have purpose. Some of these people just haven’t felt fire in their belly yet, while others feel like they have nothing to offer that’s of any consequence to themselves or others. Some people equate a lack of purpose with a lack of self-value.

When a person persistently feels these things and has these perceptions, the consequences can be drastic – drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide – just to name a few.

It is sometimes the case that the onset of these feelings doesn’t occur until adulthood. All too often though, adults feel this way simply because it’s the way they’ve always felt, right back from when they were children.

Life is both a beast and a beauty. It cannot always be tamed and it’s the unpredictability of it which makes self-esteem and self-worth hard to maintain. But in order for them to be maintained, they must first be established.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to establish our child’s emotional wellbeing and then nurture it. We must make it clear to them that they are wanted and needed. We need to tell them this, as well as show them.

My parents have loved me unconditionally throughout my life and they couldn’t have communicated that any clearer to me. I treasure that. I want my children to have the same luxury.

I was inspired to write this post after seeing news in my Facebook feed of a young father who committed suicide. I did not know him. That didn’t stop me feeling sad about it though. It pains me to know there are so many people in the world who feel the only way to fix their world is to end it.

Make it known to your child that they are indispensable. Tell them that they are essential to your life. Tell them that your family functions better with them in it.

It’s never too early or too late to start taking your child’s mental health seriously.

If you know that your child is struggling, make them aware that there is support out there. A great starting point is the Kids Helpline which is a free, private and confidential phone counselling service available 24/7 to children as young as 5 and as old as 25. Parents can also access this service. The number is 1800 55 1800, or head to their website www.kidshelpline.com.au for web chat, email and useful articles.

Beth x

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