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5 tips all parents must imbibe to support their child’s mental health

Updated on:1 February 2021, 12:55pm IST
The pandemic has taken a huge toll on children’s mental health. As the restrictions carry on, these parenting tips can help you take better support your child.
Satinder Kaur Walia
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Care for your child’s mental health with the help of these tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Each one of us wants to be the best parents for our children, but there are often conflicting ideas and advice on how to raise a child who is healthy, confident, kind, and successful.

In the present era when parents have a plethora of information available to them through the internet, they are continuously looking for ways to update their knowledge about raising kids in today’s world—especially when the pandemic has become the harsh reality of our lives.

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Here are five parenting tips parents can adopt while taking care of their child during the pandemic:

1. Be a good role model

Walk the walk and don’t just tell your child what you want them to do. Show them and let them learn by imitation. Humans are programmed to copy other’s actions and by doing so they tend to understand the world around them. Children, in particular, watch everything their parents do very carefully. So, be the person you want your child to be—respect your child, show them positive behaviour and attitude, have empathy towards your child’s emotion—and your child will follow suit.

Parenting tips
Empathize with your kids. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Show your love through action

There is no such thing as loving your child too much. Only what you choose to do (or give) in the name of love, like material indulgence, leniency, low expectation, and over-protection. When these things are given in place of real love, that’s when you’ll have a spoiled child.

Loving your child can be as simple as giving them hugs, spending time with them, and listening to their issues seriously every day. Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. These neurochemicals can bring us a deep sense of calm, emotional warmth, and contentment. Through these the child will develop resilience and not to mention a closer relationship with you.

3. Practice kind and firm positive parenting

Babies are born with around 100 billion brain cells (neurons) with few connections. These connections create our thoughts, drive our actions, shape our personalities, and determine who we are. They are created, strengthened, and “sculpted” through experiences across our lives. Giving your children positive experiences will give them the ability to experience positive emotions and experiences within themselves and hence offer them to others.

Singing a silly song, telling a joke, reading stories, and doing a tickle marathon or pillow fighting will just help you to connect with your child. Help them learn how to solve a problem and make a decision with a positive attitude. Not only do these positive experiences create good connections in your child’s brain, but they also form the memories of you that your child carries for life.

4. Be a safe haven for your child

Let your child know that you’ll always be there for them by being responsive to the child’s signals and sensitive to their needs. Support and accept your child as an individual. Be a warm haven for your child to explore. Children raised by consistently responsive parents tend to have better emotional regulation development, social skills development, and mental health outcomes.

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5. Talk with your child and help their brains integrate

Talk to your child and listen to them carefully. By keeping an open line of communication, you’ll have a better relationship with your child and your child will come to you when there’s a problem. But there’s another reason for communication: you help your child integrate different parts of his/her brain. When different parts of the brain are integrated, they can function harmoniously as a whole, which means fewer tantrums, more cooperative behaviour, more empathy, and better mental well-being.

To achieve that, talk through troubling experiences and ask your child to describe what happened and how he/she felt so they can develop attuned communication. You don’t need to have all the answers to be a good parent. Just listening to them talk and asking clarifying questions will help them make sense of their experiences and integrate memories. Try stepping back when you feel angry or frustrated and find ways to turn every negative experience into a learning opportunity for him/her.

Following these parenting tips will not only help you keep a healthy perspective, but it will also help you to achieve primary goals in parenting— building a good relationship with your child.

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Parenting is one of the most researched fields in psychology. Many parenting techniques, practices, or traditions have been scientifically researched, verified, refined, or refuted. Of course, a one-size-fits-all strategy does not work. Every child is different, and so you will have to employ different parenting tips. Some children can be tough and stubborn, and some may not have such vulnerabilities as they may be resilient and prevail no matter how tough parents treat them. However, the importance of the right method of parenting cannot be underestimated.

Satinder Kaur Walia Satinder Kaur Walia

Satinder Kaur Walia is the clinical head at Moms Belief. She is the industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in working with individuals with disabilities both in India and as well as in USA. Her specialization lies in assessment, consultation, behavioural therapies and developmental disabilities.