In my opinion as a society we need to become more aware of mental health care with children, even though massive leaps in recent years for mental health have happened, it’s still often forgotten about or brushed under the carpet, especially with the care of children. The statistics say one in four adults will suffer with a mental health problem, but I am certain that figure is higher. I think many of us have been parented in an anxiety inducing way that manifests as we become adults. I am working on my own mental health, trying to be more aware of myself and how I treat others, especially with my children.
People might not want to face up to the realisation that many mental health disorders are deep rotted from childhood or teenage years, this could be from parenting, discipline or even abuse (physical, sexual or mental). People often talk about the chemical imbalance in the brain of mental illness, but not where it could have started.
Parenting is tough and I for one I am the first person to admit it and I am certain I am not doing it perfectly much of the time. I have tried since first having my children to practice attachment parenting and gentle parenting, which helps form strong attachments with parents, which then gives your child security. I try to be conscious how I speak to my children, admit when I am wrong or have overreacted in a situation. I will make mistakes as a parent, but the important thing is that I explain to my child why I acted in a certain way and apologise when wrong. I don’t want my children to be anxious like me and I want to show them why it’s important to admit when you are wrong. I don’t believe we apologise enough as adults for our bad behaviour, yet we expect our children to be so quick to.
Three children in every classroom has a mental health problem and this is something that deeply saddens me. More needs to be done to recognise mental health problems in children by parents, teachers, health visitors etc. Children deserve the chance to get access to mental health care and support.
Something I have been focusing on recently with my oldest is mindfulness and yoga. I have found both have really benefited me and it’s something I want to share with my children to start health habits which will hopefully help them throughout life. Me and Miss J found a great website called Cosmic Kids which has videos of stories, yoga and mindfulness exercises, this has been amazing for Miss J as she is unaware that she is learning and is just enjoying taking part. I believe this will help her with her concentration and mental wellbeing, whilst it helps us bond over a shared interest. More schools than ever are starting to take part and use mindfulness in classrooms and I believe this will increase when people see the benefits it has.
I hope people are starting to realise that children should be seen and heard. They shouldn’t be expected to act in a certain way, be carbon copies of their parents and that every child deserves to grow and express their needs and desires. Children are the future and I am doing everything I can to make my future as self-aware, empathetic and mindful. Mental health care for children matters.