Talking to Your Child About Mental Health
As our kids get older and more and more independent, it can become increasingly difficult to have conversations with them about emotional topics, such as mental health. Talking about medical health seems easy — allergies, aches, pains, etc — but when it comes to figuring out what’s going on in their head? The task seems daunting and almost impossible.
For World Mental Health Day, our team at Resurrection Christian School in Loveland is here to help you as parents learn more about how to talk to your kids about mental health, what signs to look for if your child is struggling, and offer some available resources that may help. Keep reading to learn more, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff with any questions or concerns you may have.
Create a Safe Space for Your Child(ren) to Express Their Feelings
One of the main reasons that many kids or teens struggle to get the mental health help that they need is that they are worried about being judged, ridiculed, or even punished by their peers or parents. As a parent or guardian, it’s important to create a safe space where your child can feel comfortable talking about any issues or negative feelings they may be dealing with. This may include anxiety or depression, isolation at school, or even making tough decisions like choosing a college.
Listen Intentionally, and Validate Their Feelings
Another vital consideration to keep in mind when it comes to talking to your child about mental health is the deep impact that simply lending an ear can have. If your child comes to you with any emotional or mental health issues, it is essential that you intentionally listen and validate their feelings. If they feel guilty or judged, that open door of communication may close and be difficult to open again.
Checking in with your child about their mental or emotional health on a regular basis will make it easier and easier for them to come to you when problems arise. Asking simple questions and allowing them to ask questions can be reassuring to them, especially if you’re taking the time to be fully engaged in their life. Talking with your child on a regular basis can also help you identify any new or developing issues that may come up as they get older, and give you the opportunity to offer the support, encouragement, or treatment they may need.
Take Advantage of Available Resources
At RCS, we aim to provide all our students and families with the necessary support and resources to tackle mental health struggles head-on. We have partnered with Light of the Rockies Christian Counseling Center to offer high school students an opportunity to meet after school on Wednesdays and discuss topics such as resiliency and overcoming adversity, using our words wisely, creating healthy habits, and more.
If you’re not sure how to start the conversation with your child about mental health, you’re not alone. Reach out to an RCS staff member, Light of the Rockies, or your church family for support and encouragement. These conversations are necessary, and they can make a huge difference in the life or lives of your children and our RCS students.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”