Mental Health and Parenting
Becoming parents is bliss. Parenting is a challenging phase, but we all cherish it. Parenting is an essential factor that affects the development of early psychopathology. Harsh discipline during parenting can lead to behavioural problems in children. What if you're parenting with a mental health problem? Being parents with a mental health problem can be tricky. However, with the proper help and support, you can manage your parenting phase and mental health.
How can mental health affect your parenting?
Being a parent is challenging, and the difficulty gets amplified if you have a mental health condition. Mental health problems vary in terms of how critical they are and how they are affecting you. You might require continuous extra support, or there are a few days when you need more help. It depends on how severe your mental health condition is. Along with mental health issues, some unpleasant events like money problems or a relationship breakdown can add an extra dose of stress in life. Such stressful situations make things more challenging for a parent.
If you are not mentally fit, you may find it challenging to do simple parenting tasks. For example:
1. If you feel low because of depression, it will become challenging to fulfil your children's basic needs like water, food, warm bedsheets, etc.
2. If you are mentally stressed, it seems intricate to manage your mood or emotions around your children. It leaves a negative effect on children's minds.
3. In parenting, every task needs to be done with perfection. When you are unwell, physical or emotional care of children is complex.
4. It becomes tricky to manage your children's behavior or set limits for them.
Did you know that the mental health of children is directly connected with parents' mental health? As per the recent study, one out of 14 children, aged between 1-17 years, whose parents reported poor mental health, had poor general health, mental, emotional, or developmental disability, adverse childhood experiences.
How can children be affected by your mental health?
Parents support children’s mental health. If parents with mental health problems get enough support from family and friends, then children don’t experience any adverse effects. But if there is no one to support them, then children can be affected by your poor mental health.
1. Children might worry about your health.
2. Because you are not well, they might exchange the role of parenting.
3. Children might forget to enjoy their childhood because they have to put their family needs first.
4. Children may develop a mental, emotional, or developmental disability.
5. They might not be comfortable sharing their worries with their parents.
6. They may experience bullying.
7. They start thinking wrong about their parent’s mental health.
How can you maintain your mental health?
Sometimes parents hesitate to seek help because of being judged by society. Please don’t pressurize yourself too much to become an “ideal parent.” Everyone has flaws. There is no guilt in seeking extra support.
There are some tips that you can try to maintain your mental health and parenting.
Don’t ignore your mental health.
It would be best if you take care of your mental health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Always eat healthy foods, take out some time for exercise or yoga and have a sound sleep for around 8 hours. If you are an alcoholic or smoker, quit that immediately. These are factors that affect your mental health directly or indirectly.
Build a network that supports you
It'd help if you built a network of people on whom you could rely. Tell them to know when you find things difficult to manage. Please share your thoughts with them. Ask for their support, whether it's practical or emotional.
Make a routine and stick to it.
Write down a proper routine for yourself as well as your family. Sticking to that routine of mealtimes and bedtimes can help you feel more grounded. It helps your children feel more guarded. It will also help those who are helping your family and provide continuity and a sense of security.
Please write down the likes and dislikes of your children and include them in their routine. It makes you feel that things are in your control.
Check with your boss for flexible working hours.
Having a good work-life balance can help you manage your mental health and parenting more healthily.
Ask for help from your regional authority.
Your local authority has to help you if you have poor mental health and cannot care for yourself. The local authority can also help your children if they are caring for you.
Talk to your children.
Children worry less if you tell them the truth about your mental health condition. So share clear, factual information about your mental health problem with your children.
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