Are You Worried About Your Children’s Emotional & Mental Wellbeing?
Safeguarding children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
You’re not alone. Many parents and carers are experiencing the same unsettling feelings.
School leaders are also concerned because they have witnessed changes in children’s mental wellbeing. A recent schools survey revealed that the top priorities for 2021 are:
“support children’s emotional and mental wellbeing”, followed closely by “reducing learning loss and attainment gap”.
Everyone has different life experiences, principles, and beliefs. However, we have all been emotionally scarred by the conditions under Covid (some more than others).
Have you experienced any of these emotions?
I’ve personally experienced feelings of loss of control, distrust, and confusion, as well as a sense of uncertainty and lack of stability. I thought some choices were mine and mine alone, but my decision making and autonomy seem to have been threatened.
I’m sure other sensations like loneliness, anxiety, and the loss of connection with loved ones are also widespread.
How has the past year affected you personally? Can you pinpoint changes in your mood?
These feelings are not healthy, but the worst bit is that these emotions can scar us and may leave a lasting mark.
Society has a serious problem looming if the “new normal” continues to cause an emotional drain, more worries, and unhappiness. And not just for adults!
Why immediate and sustained action is necessary.
Children’s emotional and mental wellbeing is proven to be a strong indicator of several outcomes in adulthood.
For example, low self-awareness and self-esteem in childhood can lead to mental distress, unemployment, obesity, and crime in adulthood. On the other hand, children with a high sense of self are more likely to build constructive partnerships, get a top job, create wealth, and achieve life satisfaction in adulthood. Source: Early Intervention Foundation (EIF).
You might think I am pessimistic or overly dramatic about the effects the pandemic has had on people, but I’m not the only one! The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently warned that:
“The pandemic could generate mass trauma on a larger scale than World War II”.
“After the second world war, the world has experienced mass trauma because the Second World War affected many lives. And now, even with this COVID pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected.” WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Protecting children’s state of mind is more vital today than ever before!
Children’s emotional and mental wellbeing has been on the decline for several years before the pandemic. Recent signs point toward an alarming acceleration in this trend. Without appropriate intervention, many of these children will carry poor inner health into adulthood worsening the already scary global mental ill-health crisis.
Helping children develop their self-awareness and self-worth can (and does) lead to greater satisfaction in later life. Therefore it makes sense to focus on building these attributes as early in childhood as possible.
These qualities are proven to protect children from mental distress and underpin achievement and fulfilment in life. Therefore, building up children’s sense of self and boosting their self-belief and confidence must become a priority at home and school.
Every interaction a child has is accumulated over time shaping their beliefs, good or bad. We don’t want to be the “one” who our child later blames for their woes. Therefore, we must be careful to use language that supports them and builds them up. In other words, it’s our job to censor our behaviour and language to avoid imprinting destructive thoughts and feelings onto our children’s minds.
We need to take a close look at ourselves first and “positively reframe” our unhelpful behaviours and beliefs before helping our children. This step is vital because we will be less able to help them if our minds are contaminated with destructive thoughts and emotions.
Stay calm, stay focused, take action, and keep going!
You may also like this post: Lockdown – What’s Happening to Parent’s & Children | Mindscreen
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Helping Children Flourish
Being labelled remedial and regularly told that I was a “stupid boy” affected my self-esteem as a child. I had to work hard to prove to myself that there was nothing wrong with me! This journey led me to found Mindscreen and become a certified behavioural and motivational analyst. My personal experience drove me to develop resources to help children find their stride early in life.
Since then I’ve been involved in many youth projects, including the Scottish National Debate on Education, Columba 1400’s Head Teacher Leadership Academy, and the Entrepreneurial Spirit Project.
I’m honoured to have helped hundreds of young people to recognise their own strengths and unlock their potential.