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Worried about your childs mental health

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We all go through periods when our mental health needs a bit of TLC and children are no different. However, while we might recognise signs and seek help from friends, family or medical professionals, it can be more confusing for children. If you notice that your child is acting differently or seems more withdrawn than usual it can be difficult to talk to them about it. You may feel as if you’re walking on eggshells and never really getting to the point but at the same time you don’t want to go steamrolling in there and upsetting them.

Encourage them to talk

Sharing feelings can be the largest step to overcoming problems. However, not all kids are happy to talk about what’s going on in their heads, especially not with their parents. If your child would prefer to talk to a grandparent, aunt, uncle, family friend or even a counsellor don’t take it personally. Sometimes it’s best to get the perspective of someone who isn’t too close. If your child trusts someone with her thoughts then don’t expect that person to come and tell you everything that was said. Allow them to keep your child’s trust and have faith that they will act on anything they deem important enough for you to know.

Share experiences

worried about your childs mental healthIt can help to know that you’re not the only person to have been in a certain situation. If you know what’s bothering your child and you have some experience then share it. Being honest with them with encourage them to open up to you and they will see that you’ve got past things and moved on so it’s possible that they can too. If you’re going through something as a family, such as divorce or bereavement, then show your children that you know what they’re going through and that you’re feeling much the same way.

Speak their language

If your child is reluctant to open up in person then try sending an email or a text. You may find it terribly impersonal but if it’s how your child is comfortable communicating then it might just work as a tool to help them. Obviously any messages should be sent privately and not sprawled across their Facebook page for all their friends to see!

Give it time

If your child doesn’t want to talk then try not to push it. You may find that a period of worrying behaviour doesn’t last long and could be the result of adapting to changes at home or school or relationship issues with a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend. All children go through stages of feeling angry or anxious and this can manifest in a number of ways. As long as children know you’re there and willing to help then sometimes letting them sort through their feelings on their own is the best way forward.

If you’re still worried about your child’s mental health it’s worth booking an appointment to see your GP. Even if your child refuses to go with you (or on her own) your doctor will be able to offer some advice on what to do next.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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