Everyday our children are given a wide variety of choices. With or without our consent, they decide who to be friends with, who to follow, how to dress or what music to listen to. There is a strong need to impress others and gain their approval.
We connect with people by sharing things we have in common. We share opinions, views and experiences. This used to happen face-to-face but today because of the circumstances we live in, it happens online, striping young people of social engagement they so badly crave.. Leaving them anxious, unsupported and confused about their future.
Additionally kids are feeding off parents emotions like anger, frustration and anxiety and with little to no outlet for emotions release, they become increasingly hopeless.
The need of being liked and accepted for a teenager is much more profound than for a thirty year old professional with established career and family ties.
The worrying bit is that it’s not easy for kids to recognise when something is fundamentally bad for them so protecting their mental health becomes number one priority.
In light of long working hours, increasing financial pressures and poor self care, parents best intentions are often not put into practice. To improve this close child-parent relationship is essential, however, it’s also up to siblings, friends, teachers and communities to keep youth strongly grounded. All of which we so badly miss right now…
Mental illness can be very sneaky. Without the expert knowledge, it’s easy to make matters worse by using the wrong method to connect with a child. Emotions can take over and before you know it, in what should be a supportive conversation, all that’s coming across is frustration, anger or disappointment, instead of empathy and support.
In order to succeed parents can also give demands or put conditions. This can cause more damage than good. To someone who is already anxious and feels misunderstood this can really be a final nail in the coffin.
It can cause kids to be more withdrawn and disconnected from the outside world, both of which they have unfairly experienced in the last year.
We parents need to face reality. Our kids need us more than ever before. They are unlikely to tell us this, but they need our help to stay safe and sane! This is especially important now, when the only method of staying in touch with friends can happen via the internet.
Over the last couple of years youth’s mental health has become a significant issue. It’s now an issue on a national scale and one that urgently needs more attention.
Teaching children to talk about feelings can’t solve the problem but can be of a massive help.
This openness and ability to speak up will result in our kids becoming more confident and happier adults.
It’s not always easy but let’s teach our children to express their feelings.
It’s a skill they will need their whole lifetime. And thanks to it they will be able to stand their ground, build resilience and protect themselves.