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?
I consider myself a mentally strong person. I have my flaws, but life has thrown some serious shit my way, and I 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
Children’s Mental Health Week is (1st-7th February 2021) 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 about 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 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?
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. We don’t worry about our sons so much (mine is a slight exception), but we see them as confident, secure young men 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?
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.