The mental health of our youths is declining as our society is growing increasingly competitive.
As paper qualifications are becoming so important for youths to pursue their life goals, they have no choice but to subscribe to the academic grind so that they can be on par.
This is amplified by the onset of social media whereby everyone wants to show off their best lives and paint an unrealistic picture of the challenges that they are truly facing.
There are so many expectations for youths of this generation to live up to, and it can be mentally taxing for them.
As parents and teachers, you may get worried and wonder how you can help them. Here are some things that you can do:
Have regular check-ins with them
Many times, children tend to keep their problems within themselves because they don’t feel like it helps to speak out about them.
Try to create conversations with them to find out how they’re doing and avoid reminding them about negativity.
For parents, don’t ask them “have you gotten your test results back?” the first thing when they come home. This will make them associate you with their negative emotions. Instead, make them feel welcomed at home and ask them how their day went.
For teachers, show concern for their mental well-being aside from their academic results. If you feel that they look stressed, ask them whether they’re coping okay and if you can help them in any way.
Hear them out
When you do get the child to speak up with you, make sure that you don’t ruin their trust. Don’t be in a hurry to give your advice or tell them off. Let them pour their hearts out first.
Afterwards, you can ask them if what they need is advice or just a listening ear. If they need advice, present them with choices and your perspectives instead of forcing them to do what you deem as right.
If they just need a listening ear, acknowledge their feelings and allow them to feel validated. Thank them for opening up to you.
Encourage them to take breaks, go out and have fun
Our society has built up this perception that the harder you work, the more successful you will become, and that has built an unhealthy practice amongst children today. Overworking themselves can lead to burnout which would put all their hard work to waste.
Rest helps to recharge the soul. Let them hang out with their friends once in a while as having a social life is important too, but advise them to manage their time well so that they can adopt a work hard, play hard environment.
Let them go at their own pace
When children are struggling with their mental health, they may find it difficult to maintain a drive in their everyday life, especially in their academics.
Many parents and teachers do not understand this and label the child as lazy.
However, you actually need to be understanding and not show frustration towards them, as it would be counter-effective and cause the child to hate learning even more.
Adjust accordingly to the child’s needs, be gentle and give them space to study with a clear state of mind.
Life at home
The last thing that parents should do is to add to their child’s problems. Parents should always build a strong foundation amongst themselves and not implicate their child in their marital problems, which should only be between the adults.
Speak kindly to one another in front of your children to set a good example and so that your child does not have to stress about their parents.
Providing a child with a functional family unit is important where parents are on the same page of fulfilling their role of giving safety and security to their child, even if there are disagreements amongst themselves.
As parents and teachers are the adults who take on the important roles of supporting a child, you can greatly impact how a child feels about their life.
You shouldn’t underestimate the reality of mental health, but instead, deal with it carefully.
When a child is struggling with their mental health, patience and gentle approaches are the way to go.
If you follow these tips, your child or student will be able to feel safer in their journey, so that they can get better and excel.