AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —It’s no secret that parents want their children to have strong and health mental health, but there are some things parents are doing that can negatively impact that.
Belinda Crelia-Palacios, Executive Director of the Amarillo Children’s Home has some tips for parents navigating these waters.
Avoiding the following common mistakes may help:
· Not letting kids vent their emotions/feelings. Kids need to know it is healthy to have negative emotions at time and that it is okay to express and talk about them. When parents say “don’t be so sad” or “it’s not a big deal” they can be sending a message that feelings don’t matter and it is better to suppress them. Have the goal be to practice brainstorming solutions until they find something that works when hard things are happening.
· Always saving them from failure. It is hard to watch our kids struggle through challenges that we know we can easily fix for them. Failure is a big part of success. If kids are never given the chance to learn the lessons that come with failure they will never develop the perseverance they need to rise back up after a setback.
· Overindulging your kids. Kids love stuff and parents love giving it to them. Research shows that when you give your kids whatever they desire they miss out on skills related to mental strength such as self-discipline and delay of gratification. Having kids earn ways to obtain things is key. It will provide them with learning the above skills, appreciate the item and boost self-esteem.
· Expecting perfection. It is natural to want your child to aim for big goals and be the best at everything. However, that is not how things work. Setting the bar too high can lead to self-esteem and confidence issues later in life. Build mental strength in kids by making sure expectations are realistic. If your kids don’t meet them and have setbacks this will teach them valuable life lessons and how to success the next time around.
· Making sure they always feel comfortable. Ther are many things that make our kids feel uncomfortable, especially when it comes to trying something
new> new food, new friends, new activity, moving homes/schools. But just like failure embracing uncomfortable moments can boost mental strength. Encourage your kids to try new things. Help them get started because this is usually the hardest part.
· Not setting parent-child boundaries. You want your kids to make their own decisions but they also need to know you are the boss. For example if you set a curfew for a 12 year old make sure they stick to you and you enforce it. Kids need boundaries for safety and security. Having environments where anything goes can lead a child to act out and engage in things which can be harmful and dangerous. We as parents have to set the boundaries and rules with our kids and it is up to us to consistently enforce them.
· Not taking care of yourself. The holder we get the harder it becomes to maintain healthy habits (eating, exercising, taking time to restore). That is why it is important to model self-care habits for our kids. It is also critical to practice healthy coping skills in front of our kids. If you are stressed about work engage in activities to destress letting your kids know why you are doing them. Also, if you encounter a stressful event with your child, keep cool and respond in a respectful, calm manner. Modeling this behavior instead of letting the stress getting to us and going off on someone goes a long way with our kids.