CHILDREN AND MENTAL HEALTH: DO YOU KNOW HOW THOUGHTS ARE SHAPING THE PERSONALITY OF OUR LITTLE ONES?

We all want our children to lead a life that is full of health, happiness and abundance. We try our best to provide them with all the luxuries of life that can be in our reach by any mean, to make them auspicious and contented. As we take care of their food to ensure their physical health, in the same manner, have we ever given consideration to their mental health? Have we ever noticed that whether their thoughts are healthy or not? Have we ever inquired that what type of self-talks they have and how they are impacting their self-image? Most of the time we ignore to address these questions and unfortunately our children have to pay the price of this negligence.

We all do self-talks or an intrapersonal communication. Self-talk is basic ally our internal communication that affect our subconscious mind and also reflect itself in our actions. Like adults, children also engage in self-talk and they develop schemas about themselves and others and behave according to that. Self-schemas can be both positive and negative. If a child has negative self-image, for example, if a child believe that he is not very intelligent like rest of his class fellows and he cannot obtain good marks in exams, then he will not work hard, that will result in poor grades. These poor grades will strengthen his negative self-image. He may continue to have the same self-image throughout his life. So, it is good idea for parents to sit with their children and try to discover what is going on in their minds and where it is leading them to. We need to engrave in their young minds that they can achieve anything in life if they have firm belief on it. But sometimes it also happens that they work very hard but they do not achieve desirable results. In such cases, children should be taught to analyze their mistakes and try again and again until they get what they want. This practice will instill in them a solution-oriented approach that will enable them to get into heart of problem and bring solution from there, rather than fearing and tearing themselves with anxiety and depression during difficult times in life.

Teaching self-forgiveness and self-compassion to children is essential to transform them into a person, who is grounded from within and stable under crushing pressure of turbulent waves of life. We should forgive children for their mistakes and should also instruct them to forgive themselves, as regret and guilt just breed negativity which can engulf the creative potential of any person. The best way to correct the mistake is not to regret and torment oneself with agony of guilt, but to dig down into the mistake, and get the precious pearls of lessons, and keep them with us rather than keeping the memories of painful process of pearl making.
Parents should try to develop friendly relationship with their children so that they can share all of their problems with them. If they do not share their feelings and traumas, they may get piled up in their mind that can lead to some psychological disorders later in life. It is aptly said, “if you do not heal what hurt you then you will bleed on the people who did not cut you”. Thus, encourage your children to share their problems with you as emotions unexpressed in childhood can lead to major issues in adulthood that will not only affect their life but lives of all those who are associated with them by one mean or other.

One of the major problems that is faced by children now a days is sexual abuse. In our culture, it is considered inappropriate to give sexual education to children, so, whenever they face such issues, they do feel uncomfortable but they cannot comprehend what happened with them. They are also threatened by the abusers to not to disclose anything about the incident. They remain silent and it adds to their unresolved trauma. It is very important for the parents to educate children about good and bad touch and give them freedom to discuss everything with them, so that, if they ever face any such problem, they know what to do and whom to consult.

Thus, the way, we take care of the physical health of our children, we should also foster their mental health with same sense of responsibility. We should be careful that they do not intoxicate their mind with negative thoughts and if they have any negative self-talk, it is essential to replace it with positive one. We should think carefully while talking to them and avoid using discouraging words because if we degrade them, they may get negative self-image whose dark shadows can linger with them throughout their life, and they may spend their whole life fighting with the demons of these shadows.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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