Most of our society is becoming more advanced and does not stigmatize against the role of emotions. The reason for this is that we are taking a step beyond looking solely at physical health and putting more focus on our mental health. This is very evident in children, where we see more and more problems in the emotional and behavioral realm. Therefore suggesting a need for more understanding and solutions to overcome this issue. Parents play an important role in this case. The responsibility of the parent in supporting the child to gain better social and emotional health , which is detrimental for the child’s future. Only a few studies have shown that parents that raise even a single concern about their child’s mental and behavioral problems can lead them to better identification of something wrong that is happening in their children’s emotional development. No conclusion is supported to a great deal, so nothing can be concrete as yet.
Before understanding how we can promote better emotional health, let’s first start with understanding what is and what emotional health looks like in a child. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States defines general positive mental health in a child as reaching all the emotional milestones within the child’s development and learning healthy social skills and coping strategies when problems occur. This may look like your child is feeling happy and positive about themselves most of the time, being kind to themselves in difficult moments, learning well, getting along with others, being able to manage difficult feelings, bouncing back from tough times, and are prepared to try new and challenging things. Experience and environment in the early years of a child has a large effect on creating the biological basis for a child to develop properly, especially the environment which the parent provides. Even parent mental health can have a large influence over the way that the child develops. That’s why supportive parenting has large benefits.
So, what does supportive parenting look like? Here are five suggestions for parents to focus on that fosters better emotional health in their child.
- Talk about emotions with your child and help them recognise and label them. Ensure your child knows it’s normal to have several different feelings and that you understand what they are feeling.
- Encourage helping others and connecting with others in the community. This will teach them empathy, but also gives a stronger sense of place in this world and learning how to relate to people different from themselves.
- Making sure your child gets enough rest and sleep. The quality of sleep is important in helping your child manage any stress and a busy life.
- Develop problem solving skills and competencies by helping your child solve the problems together and set realistic goals for their age and abilities and working toward reaching these goals.
- Make space every day to talk and listen to your child, and tell them you love them, no matter what. Giving full attention and support in certain moments can reinforce the notion that you will always be there for them.
Through time, patience, and consistent effort in supportive parenting, together with your child, you can help them grow a better emotional health carrying them through even the toughest of times in life.
If you are seeking professional support on this issue, you can book an appointment here.
Chloé Möller currently has a Masters in Clinical Psychology and is further pursuing another in Work & Organisational Psychology. She works at Willingness as an intern.
- Barlow, J., & Underdown, A. (2005). Promoting the social and emotional health of children: where to now?. Journal of The Royal Society For The Promotion Of Health, 125(2), 64-70. https://doi.org/10.1177/146642400512500209
- Learn About Children’s Mental Health | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 12 August 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/index.html#:~:text=Mental%20health%20in%20childhood%20means,cope%20when%20there%20are%20problems.
- Yap, M. (2021). Good mental health for children: 3-8 years. Raising Children Network. Retrieved 11 August 2021, from https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/health-daily-care/mental-health/children-s-mental-health.