Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shaping A Child Mental Health

Shaping A Child Mental Health

Its important for parents to realize they aren't alone in raising their children.
A child's emotional and physical development is shapes by genetic and environmental factors alike. Genetic factors can affect a child's ability to learn, play,manage emotions, and interact with people. But a child's environment also plays a pivotal role in early development

Think of all the people your child interacts with on a regular basis-such as siblings, relatives, and other caregivers like babysitters, teachers, and healthcare providers. They each play a key role in your child's development. Likewise, social and economics factors-such as proper nutrition, housing, healthcare, and experiences at school and within the community-are constantly at work to shape your child's development from a very early age. A child's physical health also plays an important role in his or her mental health. Here are the basics every child needs for good mental health.

Nutritious food, adequate clothing, and a healthy living environment.

Plenty of sleep

Regular physical activity, including time to play with other children

Ongoing and unconditional love, praise, and affection

Encouraging teachers and supportive caregivers who provide appropriate guidance and discipline

Self confidence and high self-esteem
When children are surrounded by positive relationships, they in turn learn the value themselves and happily accept who they are; they learn to embrace what makes them unique; they develop a positive outlook on life; and they know they're loved unconditionally. These are the building blocks of good self-esteem, which is important to develop early on in childhood because it's essential to good health throughout life.

Navigating through adolescence

The transition from childhood to adulthood doesn't happen overnight. First, a child must navigate the challenging stage of adolescence. For a teenager who has not yet gained the experience to cope with difficult situations and mounting expectations, adolescence can seem overwhelming at times. When stress and anxiety are not managed properly, they can build and manifest in ways that negatively impact on mental and physical health.

While it's not unusual fot teens to feel irritable, sluggish, and sad for brief periods of time, if you notice any of the following signs lasting for a period of at least two weeks, your teen could be experiencing a minor depression.

Feeling down.

Lack of interest in activities.

Sleeping problems.

Poor concentration.
A recent study by Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric institute reported that teenagers with minor depression have a higher risk of mental health issues later in life. Rates of anxiety, severe depression, and eating disorders were far more common in 20-to 30-year-olds who'd experienced minor depression in adolescence.

If you suspect your teen is going through a rough spell, don't ignore the issue. One in 10 parents thinks those with mental illness can just snap out of it if they want to. But that's not the case at all. And, while you can't force your teen to open up to you, there are some things you can do:

Monitor your teen's level of stress. Record and share how it's affecting his or her behaviour, thoughts, and feelings.

Watch for signs of stress overload.

Encourage your teen to talk-if not with you, then encourage him to open up to someone else he knows and trusts, or find a therapist he's comfortable talking to.
There are also preventative measures that can help your teen learn to manage stress before it gets out of hand:

Encourage your teen to get active in group sports and social activities.

As a family, stay physically active and eat nutritious meals.

Help your teen become more assertive and develop good time-management skills both of which come with practice.

Encourage family members to speak positively about themselves and each other, and discourage negative reinforcement.

Teach your teen to feel good about adequate work versus always striving for perfection.

Encourage your teen to build a network of reliable and supportive friends,

By: rodolphe cote

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