Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. ~Proverbs 22:6
I can recall the countless times my mother would tell me, “When you have children, you’ll understand,” and I’d think to myself, “Jokes on you ’cause I’m not having any.” Yet here we are, and I call her often to ensure these children aren’t broken. They say that broken children grow up to become damaged adults. I can attest to that because I was once broken, and now I’m recovering and healing. As caregivers, we must ensure our children aren’t “broken” and that their mental health is intact. Below, I share some ways to incorporate mental health awareness at home.
Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. ~ Colossians 3:21
I know more about being someone’s child than being someone’s parent (an advantage when raising The Lost Boys)! As a former broken child who dealt with my fair share of traumas, I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent, but these children do. My substance abuse developed from traumatic events throughout my life. It came from a place of not feeling like I could speak up for fear of not being heard and a few other issues (read some of my past blog posts). This is why I feel the need to advocate for these children. I remember where I was mentally at their age. There is one big difference between the children and me, though. They know what it’s like to have a mother who wasn’t present emotionally or physically, and I don’t. I can’t remember every detail of my childhood. What I remember most vividly is how my parents made me feel in different situations/scenarios, regardless of whether I was right or wrong.
Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise, you will ruin their lives. ~Proverbs 19:18
It wasn’t until I listened to the whining of a very entitled 15 year old who was punished that I realized the importance of my parents’ lessons, not through repetitive action or endlessly repeating themselves but through the examples they set. Besides the basic needs, they also instilled manners (using sir and ma’am) and so many common courtesies (I could probably write a whole blog about them). Looking back, there was nothing wrong with how I was raised. I can pinpoint one main thing my upbringing lacked and it was that mental health was not a priority. Not because my parents didn’t care, but because they lacked the knowledge or its importance. There was a lack of awareness people didn’t openly discuss feelings, emotions, or struggles. That’s the change I’m trying to make in my current role as a caregiver to my boyfriends’ sons.
And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. ~Titus 2:7-8
I’m excited to share the mental health journey we’re about to embark on as it unfolds, so be on the lookout for upcoming blog posts on this subject, but for now, I’ll leave you with some ways to incorporate mental health awareness at home.
4 ways to incorporate mental health awareness at home.
- Create an open and safe environment that encourages dialogue and starts conversations. Have open and honest conversations with your children about mental health and feelings. Ask them how they feel and reassure them that talking about their emotions is okay. Regularly remind them that you are always willing to lend an ear and stress that you will not judge them.
- Promote positive self-talk: Show them how to recognize their strengths and encourage them to think positively about themselves. Help them develop positive coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing and problem-solving skills, for dealing with stressful or difficult situations.
- Encourage your children to take part in activities that help promote mental well-being, such as creative arts, music, and meditation. Drawing, painting, playing music, or writing can help children express their emotions.
- Model healthy behavior: Show your children how to practice self-care by modeling healthy behaviors yourself. This could include things like exercising regularly, meditating, and taking regular breaks from screens.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’re using some of these practices at home already, and if you’re not, I hope you start incorporating some because broken children don’t have to group to become damaged adults.