When Was The Last Time You Considered Your Child’s Mental Health?

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Life has its Challenges

Life can be challenging, I’m in my 30’s and yes I’ve had times when it’s a struggle to get out of bed but I often wonder if we take our children’s mental health seriously? When was the last time you considered your child’s mental health? Is there a part of their life that causes them a great deal of stress and upset?

Family written in flour
Children’s Mental Health Week

I consider myself a mentally strong person, I have my flaws but life has thrown some serious shit my way and I just seem to carry the extra weight on my shoulders. It’s hard dealing with your own mental health, sometimes it’s easy to take our little ones for granted. This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and it did get me thinking. ‘When was the last time I considered my children’s mental health?

Children’s Mental Health Week

Kids wearing wellies
Kids playing in wellies

Children’s Mental Health Week is (3rd-9th February 2020) and if I’m honest isn’t something I’ve ever really had much involvement with or really thought about. Even having a disabled son, it never crossed my mind how it might affect his mental health.

However, with recent press involving high profile cases of child suicide, even with children as young as eight or nine. It stuck with me. I have a 12-year-old girl, who thinks she’s going on 25 and for her young age, it surprised me how much she struggles with typical situations. Socially she is fine but throw something unfamiliar into the mix and her anxiety is off the charts. She was recently awarded (I say awarded, we felt she deserved some responsibility to manage her own money) a bank card, you know the 11-15 kind. Off she went to the shop and she was a complete bundle of nerves, calling me to ask if she was doing it right and what if it didn’t work!

12 Going on 25

It got me thinking about myself at 12. Was I that anxious? Did I expect constant reassurance from my Mum, probably! Have we raised a technological generation that knows more about getting followers on Instagram than feeling confident talking to adults or shopping for food?

I saw a young girl today, roughly 11 or 12. The moment her appointment was over, she pulled her phone out of her bag and was retouching her make-up. I don’t really do that now, besides when I was 11 (I’m not sure if just me). I do worry about my daughter, a school is a horrible place (been there got the t-shirt) and I’ve yet to meet anyone who had an ‘amazing’ school experience without something slightly negative. She already wants to have the right bag, pencil case, shoes, make-up and accessories. She tells me daily that she’s fat, ugly and boys tell her so (they will now, you wait until you are 16). I have reassured her with all the knowledge I have but I am scared that she will grow up into a very anxious and unsure adult. So when was the last time you considered your child’s mental health?

Constant Reassurance

Having a daughter is hard, I don’t know about you but I worry that she will grow into a world where she will meet a boy on Tinder, call it a relationship and spend years in therapy when she realises that it was just sex. I think we don’t worry about our sons so much (mine is a slight exception) but we see them as confident, secure, young men who we hope won’t end up on Tinder scouting for girls!

I want both children to grow up secure, confident, happy adults knowing that they have a strong and supportive family behind them. Then I worry that my daughter has grown up watching her younger brother always be ‘supported’ just that little bit more and wonder whether her insecurities have more to do with that than had she had a ‘normal’ sibling.

The difference is that while I talked my Mum’s ears off about everything from boys to friends to life! My daughter remains a sensitive, closed off, tweenager, who feels that everyone is out to get her. But when do we worry that perhaps its more than just a passing comment? When I see her weigh herself every morning when she hides in her bedroom or worse still when I find her in the bath with slit wrists.

So When Was the Last Time You Considered your Child’s Mental Health?

Family watching sunset on the beach
Mental Health Week

If you would like some advice, you are worried about your child or you just need some support please check out Young Minds their aim is to empower and support young people to fight whatever challenges they face.

Please share your comments, thoughts, own stories. Remember you and your child are not alone. If you’d like to check out my other posts relating to families please check out my post I’m A Carer, what happened to being a Mum.

Thank you for Reading…

Gem x

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4 Comments

  1. LaKisha Mosley
    February 9, 2020 / 11:06 am

    This is a great article. I don’t think as parents we ever consider this. Thanks for sharing and bringing awareness.

    • alittlebitsocial2
      Author
      February 9, 2020 / 11:33 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment, I think as a society we don’t take children’s mental health seriously. We often blame the younger ones on being naughty and the teenagers on their hormones but sometimes something far deeper is going on. Teachers or TA’s should be given appropriate training to spot issues before they become big issues!

  2. February 10, 2020 / 10:08 pm

    This is huge. I don’t have kids but as someone who became depressed at a young age and suffered severely with it throughout my middle, high school, and college years, this is so so important. I couldn’t have asked for better parents in my case but I know its hard for parents to deal with and know how to help. This needs to be talked about more as younger and younger kids are facing increasing pressures.

    • alittlebitsocial2
      Author
      February 11, 2020 / 8:19 am

      Hi Mallory, Thank you for your reply. My friends were the ones that struggled from anxiety to anorexia and it was at a time when no one talked about mental health. Had someone been there for them, maybe their lives might have been different. As from the post, my daughter’s anxiety can sometimes be off the charts and for someone who is relatively confident it knocks her. I think teachers especially should be looking out for signs.

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