The second factor important in helping children to have good mental health is the quality of our relationship with them. The special bond we have with our children works to our advantage and to our disadvantage at times. Our physical and emotional habits, our mannerisms, our preferences in food and fashion are all absorbed by the child as are our fears, worries, moods and crankiness. Children will copy our negative tendencies with the same ease as they do our good qualities. And this is all without words!
Many parents of young children want to know how they can prevent their young ones from developing mental illness. We feel that there are five factors that can protect them against the onset of anxiety, depression or poor self-esteem in childhood or adolescence.
- Loving our Child
Even though research tells us the time spent in the womb profoundly shapes a child, children are not usually born with mental illness, So the parents or care-givers of the child have a great deal of influence on them.
It struck me the other day that we talk about influential politicians, business people, and others who are trend setters but I was thinking how this word applies to parents! Children are not a direct expression of us – of our particular child-rearing philosophy, our strengths or weaknesses, what we think we have done right or wrong along the way of raising our children. The closest thing I think we can get to really is having an influence on them.
I was seeing someone the other day and we were talking about observing her thinking. She told me she avoided this because she was frightened - imagine what it would be like to be scared of your own mind. However, I don’t think she is the only one - many people dislike introspection, or looking at what their minds are doing, but this I think is largely their thoughts often seem to be out of control. Many personal and relationships problem arise because of lack of control – alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence – but these are just the big, and obvious ones. If we looked more closely we would find that many of our issues arise from lack of self-control or self-discipline.