Children, like adults, are not immune to mental health challenges. Let us remember that childhood is not all candy floss and unicorns; rather it involves discovering the joys of discovery while simultaneously navigating a labyrinthine of growing up – which at times may feel intimidating and daunting.

Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

The Mask of Resilience

Children often wear masks of resilience while still struggling with mental illness, unaware they may need help in order to cope. Children, like adults, imitate this technique of “faking it until you make it”, trying to hide anxieties behind bravado of bravery. But just like adults need assistance managing daily struggles such as ADHD, depression or anxiety disorders; so we must look behind their masks in order to understand what is really going on inside their little heads.

Peek-a-Boo: Making the Invisible Visible

Our children often hide behind radiant smiles and lively laughter to mask the struggles they’re going through in terms of mental health. Making their invisible battles visible is no child’s play, but something we must all engage in as parents. Recognizing signs can be as challenging as finding hidden eggs. Unlike your typical game of hide-and-seek though the stakes here can be higher; such as subtle changes in behavior, mood swings, unexplained fears as well as retreat into their shell or acting out aggressively. These signs could all tell you something important: these might not be tantrums but messages saying something like, “Hey I need some help here!” Let’s ensure no call goes unseen by being on top of this challenge as super-parent vision will ensure no such call goes unseen!

Mythbusters: Children’s Edition

Let’s embark on a mission to disprove some persistent myths! Let’s start off by debunking one that stands the test of time: 

  • The myth that “kids cannot suffer from mental health problems”. Mental health concerns do not discriminate based on age; even children as young as one year old can be susceptible to stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Myth No. 2: “Talking about mental health will give children ideas”. Not true! Discussing mental health with children can equip them to understand and manage their emotions more effectively – giving them an emotional compass for navigating life’s unpredictable waters of emotions. 
  • Myth No. 3: “It’s just a phase”. Children may go through phases, from being picky eaters to becoming budding Picassos on your walls, but mental health issues should never be treated as simply passing fads. If your kid shows persistent distress signs it should not simply be dismissed as temporary; we should answer that cry for help as adults.

Let’s disprove some common myths surrounding children’s mental health by replacing them with facts – ignorance is definitely no bliss when it comes to mental wellbeing!

Empathy: Becoming Your Child’s Ally

Imagine you were stranded on an isolated island, you’d want Wilson (from Cast Away) as an ally to help guide and protect you along your journey – right? Your children rely on you as their trusted ally when dealing with mental health issues, particularly when the journey can be treacherous. Being an empathic supporter requires more than simply saving someone from themselves; it means listening, understanding, and validating their emotions even when they seem overwhelming like in Christopher Nolan films. Normalizing mental health discussions among children will allow them to feel less stigmatized by mental illness. Remember, your empathy can serve as a superpower that enables your mini-me to face their struggles with courage and resilience; so put on your cape, because now is the time for you to become your child’s emotional ally!

Unraveling Emotions with the Behavioral Activation Worksheet

Movies often show us maps leading to hidden treasures; a behavioral activation worksheet act like maps directing children towards greater emotional self-awareness and ultimately better mental health. This tool doesn’t use magic from Hogwarts; rather it provides an understandable framework that breaks down your child’s behavior, emotions and thoughts into manageable chunks. Let’s assume your child has suddenly begun avoiding social situations; you might start by noting this behavior on paper. Next, identify the emotions tied to this behavior such as fear or anxiety. Pinpoint the thoughts behind them – could fear of judgment or rejection be involved? Using a worksheet, it becomes much simpler for you to comprehend what’s going on inside their minds. Do remember this isn’t a one-way trip – rather, it requires patience and persistence in finding ways to understand their emotional language – an invaluable treasure worth discovering!

Behold the Power of a High Five! 

Don’t underestimate this simple gesture’s emotional support power; like an “Epic Win!” in video gaming, giving a high five boosts confidence and reminds children they have your support. Your child deserves to be acknowledged whenever they make progress, no matter how small. Overcoming their fear of spiders? High five! Expressing difficult emotions? High five! Imagine this as an explosion of positivity: an explosion of encouragement and validation that explodes with encouragement. A high five is a silent yet powerful way of saying: I see you, I’m proud of you, and I support you. Keep in mind that mental health is an ongoing journey with many ups and downs; high fives serve as breadcrumbs on that path to help lead your child toward a stronger, happier state of mind. So raise that hand, get ready, and give the most empowering high five possible. Pow!

Photo by Matthew Osborn on Unsplash

Are We There Yet? : Signs to Watch Out For

That dreaded question… are we there yet? Mental health stability may take more time and more “Are We There Yet?” moments than anticipated. There will be telltale signs that you’re making progress; these pit stops provide opportunities to celebrate with the largest bag of gummy bears available and to celebrate in triumphant style! Track changes in your child, such as greater openness or willingness to express feelings and a decrease in negative behaviors. Perhaps they are becoming better at managing fears or showing more resilience in handling disappointments. You may notice changes in attitude or confidence levels that indicate they’re making strides towards improving. Each milestone on the path serves as evidence that they’re on the right path; just don’t forget that life is about journey not destination! So keep going, but make sure to take in every view on the way!


This Lost Mama

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