Supporting Your Child
When you have a child, as a parent you naturally want to do everything you can to keep them healthy no matter what age they are. You want to feed them their fruits and vegetables, you want to keep them active and exercising, and you want to keep them from getting too many broken arms on the monkey bars. But what about when it comes to their mental health? This isn’t a question every parent is prepared for, but they should be. Mental health is an extremely important side of anyone’s overall health.
Supporting your child through the tough times
Mental health is so easily stigmatized by people who do not understand it and is pushed aside as less important than physical health. But your child’s mental health is incredibly important to their overall well-being especially as they approach adulthood.
If your child can benefit from therapy, there are many ways you can support them through their treatment.
Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself as a Parent
When it comes the treatment of young adults, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to have realistic expectations about your child’s progress.
It is incredibly important for parents to realize and remind themselves that therapy isn’t going to “fix” their child and make all their problems miraculously go away once they start. Therapy is a progressive process that takes time but that can help your child learn how to cope with problems and issues in a healthy way.
You should support your child through their therapy as they go at their own pace.
Stay Positive About the Therapy
You can help support your child through therapy by maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude about the process.
If your child can feel your support about the process itself, it will help them feel encouraged and positive about the therapy process and outcomes as well.
It is important to try your best to stay positive about the therapy even when your child or you might be having a bad day. Make sure that other members of the family/household are also staying positive about it when it is appropriate.
While it is important to stay positive about therapy, it is also important not to focus on the topic all the time.
You want to still give your child a feeling of normalcy. They want to feel that their whole lives do not revolve around their therapy.
Do Not Just Treat Your Child Like a Victim
One of the worst stigmatizations you can associate with an individual dealing with mental health issues and mental illness is victimization.
You might think you are helping them by being extremely protective of them and their issues, but it has the potential to cause more problems down the road.
Instead of treating them like they are helpless, a child going through therapy should be encouraged that they can handle what they are going through and that they are strong. Treating them as an individual who is coping and succeeding at coping will encourage them.
Be Active and Involved but Able to Step Back
While you should be active and involved in supporting your child through his or her therapy, it is also important that you can recognize when you might need to take a step back.
If your child wants to and is willing to talk about the progress of their treatment with you, then by all means, participate in the conversation. Open dialogue like this is beneficial for both you and your child, so remember to provide encouragement.
However, treatment is also a very personal experience for many people.
If your child does not feel comfortable talking to you about their treatment and wants to keep it private, it is important that you don’t pressure them. Take a step back.
They may come around to sharing it with you or they may keep it private, but in the end, it is their choice and that choice should be respected.
As a parent, visit BetterHelp.com to find a therapist that can help you cope during this time.