Five Mental Health-Caring Habits You Can Teach Your Kids
Taking care of your mental health is important in the best of times, but it feels doubly important when you’re a parent (which, incidentally, is NOT always the best of times). Not only do you need that valuable mental strength and clear-headedness to get through yet another day of cleaning up the same shit over and over, but you also hope to provide a decent example to your kids on the importance of taking care of your wellness.
Let’s face it, taking care of your mental health isn’t something that’s always going to be covered by school curriculums, nor is it something that gets the airtime it deserves in conversations in society at large. Arguably one of the most influential factors in your everyday happiness, mental health is still something that carries a lot of stigma and the best way we can break the silence is by being open and honest. This includes helping our kids learn how to baby their own mental wellness in a way that will help them become healthy well-adjusted adults, even if they are still young and completely unreasonable in the meantime.
The following are a few essential mental care skills you can teach your kids that will help them grow up to be a little healthier, happier, and in-touch with themselves.
Teach them that taking a break is important.
Modern life has got us all rushing around in a big fucking hurry to do shit that most of us hate. Just stahhp! A seriously underrated thing to teach your kids is the importance of slowing down and taking a break when you’re doing nothing but banging your head against the proverbial wall. This can be taught early, from the time they first start screaming in frustration at their toys. Taking a break doesn’t mean giving up, just taking a wee bit of time to calm your ass down before trying again.
Teach them how to do mini mental health check-ins.
One thing that many adults don’t even seem to have a firm grasp of is having the ability to check their own emotions. We’re pretty used to pushing stress and bad feelings aside, so it’s no doubt that this constant state of denial puts us in a place of being confused about our internal states a lot of the time. If you’re a parent, this is a great skill to teach your kids- the simple act of taking a minute to check-in on emotions, physical sensations, mental load, etc.
Teach them that feelings are normal.
Let’s get rid of this archaic notion that you have to push down your feelings. The problem with suppressing feelings is that they won’t stay down just because you want them to. We tend to hide away from feelings that are “icky,” but the truth is that embracing those feelings can help you get to know yourself better and learn to face hard things head-on.
Teach them to reach out for help.
One of the most important skills you can impart to your kids when it comes to wellness is that it is OK to reach out for help. Nobody can do it all on their own, and although it may not feel comfortable, reaching out for help can be immensely beneficial. As an addendum, teach them that not everyone will be there when they reach out- that’s just life, baby! Instead of letting that be a deterrent, let it show the value of perseverance.
Teach them to love themselves.
Too many of us spend our lives being miserable chasing ideals that we feel we have to live up to. One of the best ways you can help promote your children’s mental health is to teach them to love themselves. Explain marketing and advertising, teach them how to counter negative self-talk, and most importantly- be careful what you are modeling for them. If you spend your time bashing yourself, your kids will learn that that is normal, despite what you may say otherwise.
At the end of the day, learning to care for your mental health is just as valuable as any math or reading lesson and should be treated as such. Help your kids with this shit to save them a bundle on therapy later.
Written by: Mandi Em