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Positive Parenting & Children’s Mental Health

Raising a happy, healthy child is one of the most challenging jobs a parent can have and one of the most rewarding. Yet many of us don’t approach parenting with the same focus we would use for a job. We may act on our gut reactions or just use the same parenting techniques our own parents used, whether or not these were effective parenting skills.

Promoting the mental health of children and youth is essential to their overall well being. The increased life stressors families face every day can make it challenging to adopt a positive parenting style. Below are some examples of positive parenting techniques.

Develop social skills in your child. The single best childhood predictor of healthy adult functioning is social competence—the adequacy with which a child gets along with others. Social competency and healthy self-esteem go hand-in-hand. This includes modeling and teaching children social skills and behaviors that promote positive social interactions between them and others.

Take the time to talk to your child. When feelings are bottled up they can explode in the form of temper tantrums, bullying, or mood swings. Encourage your child to talk openly about their feelings and let them know that talking through feelings is a healthy way of expressing anger, fear, sadness, or pain. Provide your child the vocabulary to express emotions and be a role model by talking about your own feelings.

Celebrate accomplishments. Rewarding child for good behavior is more important than letting them know when they have behaved inappropriately. Use discipline, not punishment. Rewarding children for good behavior, setting limits, and telling your child how much you love them promotes self-discipline. Verbal or physical punishment can be harmful to a child possibly leading to low self-esteem.

Leave the stresses of work at work. When parents’ job related stress transfers to home life, they are more prone to argue with their children and are less tolerant of their behavior. This may have an adverse effect on a child’s self-esteem. It is important to first address your own stresses and mental health needs.

Avoid “hyper-parenting”. This parenting style consists of enrolling children in too many extracurricular activities and becoming over-involved in their academic, athletic, and social lives. Children need the time and space to be creative, think and discover things on their own. Hyper-parenting may damage self-esteem, increase the likelihood of depression and substance abuse.

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services offers many programs and services that strengthen the emotional well being of children and their families in our community.

For more information, please call Child & Adolescent Treatment Services at 716-819-3420, Ext. 138.

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