Parents probably know how to gauge their child’s health. Out-of-place behavior is usually a sign that something is wrong, or about to happen, regardless of whether it’s the common flu, stomach bugs, or seasonal allergies.
What about your mental health? How can you ensure that your child’s psychological, emotional, and mental needs are met?
These are some things you should do to help your child identify if their behavior is normal teenage moodiness, an adolescent tantrum or something more serious.
How to recognize and identify the mental health disorders your child may be at risk for
According to the Centers for Disease Control there are a few mental disorders that children can experience, including OCD, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, PTSD, OCD, and oppositional defiant, OCD, and anxiety. The CDC website provides more information about these disorders and their causes.
Children can suffer from mental health problems that are not actually mental, and they may also experience general, poor mental health if they do not receive the right care.
Watch out for signs of poor mental health
Are you noticing that your child isn’t sleeping well? Do they complain of headaches or stomach problems? Are they able to pay attention longer than usual? Are they having more outbursts that normal?
You may notice any of these signs that indicate poor mental health. It could also be a sign that something is deeper.
Ask the Right Question
Even if these symptoms are not obvious, it is worth checking in with your child to determine if there are any possible problems.
Ask them if there are any concerns or fears they have about something. Ask them if they are sad or upset. Ask them about their relationships at school and with friends. Ask them how their life is going. Ask them about their current excitement and if there are any future plans.
You might also ask your child, if they are older, what their opinions are on current events. Ask your child what their feelings are about the actions or feelings of others, whether it’s a loved one going through a difficult time or a celebrity who has spoken out on sensitive topics such as sexuality and substance abuse.
Although you may need to be more specific to find the root cause of your child’s problem, these questions can help you get started. Begin by commenting on your feelings and thoughts if your child is having trouble speaking up. Sometimes, just hearing a parent say “You know, lately I feel kind of sad and I don’t know why” can be enough to get your child talking.
Do Your Part
Even if your child is in a good place, it’s important to do your part to support their mental well-being, regardless of age.
You can do your best to create a home environment that promotes love, acceptance, and compassion. Your child should feel safe and supported at home. In your own life, model good coping skills and self-care.
You can ensure your child is as safe and comfortable as possible at school and in their recreational settings.
Do your best to change bad family habits, such as inactivity or too many screen time and poor eating habits.
Get Help when You Need It
Sometimes, a parent can’t do it alone. Reach out to professionals if you need additional support. There are likely to be experts at your school in adolescent psychological health. Talking to a therapist, or your child’s pediatrician about any concerns is a good idea.
No matter what you do, don’t let your child’s mental health slip by. Your child’s mental health can be improved and set up for success in adulthood.