How Mental Health Affects Your Child’s Behavior

Parents provide their children with basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, education and health care, among other things. Frequently, however, we forget to check up on another equally important aspect of every person’s life: mental health. 

According to data, around 10% of young people aged 5 to 16 years old have a clinical mental health problem. Among the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children are anxiety, depression, ADHD, and behavior problems. 

The World Health Organization also found that 20% of adolescents experience a mental health problem every year. Unfortunately, around 70% of these cases are left unaddressed and surface in their older years. 

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Common Risk Factors Of Mental Health Issues In Children

External influences like culture, family, and upbringing are critical during the formative years. Although each child has their temperament and characteristics, they are still like blank slates who mostly rely on the environment. The things they learn in these critical years may be hard to change once children grow older. That’s why good parenting and a healthy environment throughout childhood are essential. 

To better understand how a safe environment for your child looks like, first, let’s take a look at the common causes of mental health issues in children:

1. Bullying And Peer Pressure 

Bullying comes in many forms – it can be verbal or physical, and it can also be from anywhere – either in school or at home. Most bullying accounts are unreported because it’s either the child is not aware of it, or the bully is threatening the child.

In any case, these can have detrimental effects on the child’s well-being. It can lower their self-esteem, develop trauma over time, constant stress, anxiety, and even depression. 

2. Frequent Lifestyle Changes

Children’s comprehension and emotional regulation abilities are generally not as developed as adults. Children could have more difficulty adapting to changes, and it can be harder for them to make sense of.

Some of these changes include moving into a new house, changing their schools, having a new sibling, or even a parent’s divorce. If not appropriately handled, events like these may cause depression, anxiety, or behavioral problems on a child. 

While these events are sometimes inevitable, take extra time to talk to your child about their feelings toward the changes and explain the situation in a way they will understand. 

3. “Bad” Parenting 

Children look up to their parents no matter the case because parents can both provide and deprive the child of their need. Parents affect the children by the rules they implement and how they make them feel.

Bad parenting doesn’t just mean the failure of giving the child’s necessities, but it can also pertain to unhealthy or inconsistent discipline styles

An extreme authoritarian parenting style can make your child feel unheard and that their feelings are unconsidered if the rules should solely be up to you. A permissive parenting style wherein you set rules that you barely follow can also be confusing and detrimental to the child.

For example, they may not learn at all, or they could feel entitled and spoiled. And worse, an uninvolved parent who doesn’t spend time asking or bond with their child can also create issues with the child’s social and self-esteem aspects. 

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It is recommended that parents keep an authoritative kind of parenting style. It is the middle-ground that balances between strict enforcement of rules and keeping the caring side of parenting.

With an authoritarian parenting style, parents take the time to create and maintain positive relationships with their children by getting to know them and letting them talk about their feelings.

You also have rules, but you explain the reasons behind them, rather than just saying “because I said so.” In this way, you create a loving, friendly, and guiding relationship with your child with a foundation on respect and love. 

Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Our Children’s Mental Health

When mental health issues in children are left unaddressed, it can resurface in other forms, such as appearing as a “difficult child.” Some children may turn their frustrations onto anger, aggression, and violence. 

For example, a child who experienced bullying can also be a bully and pass on the aggressiveness to others. It can mean revenge for what others did to them or simply because they think it is the “cool” thing to do.

Meanwhile, a neglected child or a child who experienced a lot of pressure may turn to desperate ways to get what they want. They might fear their parents’ disapproval more rather than the implications of their means.  

Therefore, a problematic child may or may not be because he is hard to deal with, but maybe because there are underlying reasons or events in the past that influenced his/her behaviors. The earlier the intervention, the better. 

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What Can You Do?  

Children may be younger than us, but we must treat them with equal respect by considering their feelings and gently talking to them with utmost love and understanding. Be a wise friend to them, not a dictator ruler; be reasonable and explain to them why there are rules, and ask their opinions about them. 

Remember, being a strict parent does not always mean fitting for your child. Your child will grow a better person in a loving and healthy environment. 

However, if you are having trouble with parenting, seek professional help as early as you can. A child psychologist or a guidance counselor will help you arrange a plan to assess what are the reasons behind your child’s behavior and what are the suitable therapy plans. 

 

The Role Of The Family In Helping Teens Recover From Substance Abuse

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Teenage years play a crucial role in a person’s overall development. It is the period when a child starts to explore and act on their curiosities in a manner that may be adverse. For some, it results in exploring substance use and other troubling behavior that may affect their growth. If it all gets worse — it can lead to addiction.

Early Warning Signs

For parents and family, this rapid change in the behavior of a teen can be challenging to address. It’s not easy to supervise a teenager’s activity, especially if both parents are working. As such, they can put up barriers when it comes to communicating their worries and needs.

Here are the warning signs that you must watch out for when it comes to teen addiction:

  •     Sudden change in behavior and in the way they talk
  •     They often appear dazed and are hard to talk to
  •     Hiding drugs or drug paraphernalia and alcohol in their room
  •     Bloodshot eyes and smelling
  •     They no longer take part in hobbies that they used to enjoy
  •     They are not introducing their new friends to you
  •     A sudden drop in their school grades

If the family fails to address these warning signs, it can result in worse outcomes, such as becoming an offender. As a teenager, becoming an offender may often lead to repeating the offense as an adult if not given the proper intervention.

Addressing The Warning Signs Of Teen Substance Abuse

If you observe the warning signs on your teen, it is possible that they may be under the influence of addiction. As parents, you need to them cease using it.

It is essential to talk calmly. Show that you are present and willing to listen to what they have to say. Then, you have to set a clear and safe boundary for them to follow. 

It is also essential to get involved and start knowing your teen’s peers. In most cases, peer pressure may trigger the cause of substance addiction. After reaching a rapport with your teen, only then can you start a specific treatment and recovery path.

Treatment And Recovery Options For Teen Substance Abuse

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There are several available treatments for substance abuse. Often, the effective interventions involve the guidance of a counselor or a therapist for an objective view of the situation. They can help you come up with recovery plans that usually happen in sessions.

 

1. Group Therapy

 

Occasionally, teens who get into substance use can successfully recover by taking part in group therapies. Learning the adverse effects of addiction from teenagers who got cured or listening to an impactful speaker can encourage them to stay clean.

Moving, educational, inspirational stories can raise understanding and knowledge on substance abuse that can reach your teen in ways you simply cannot.

 

2. Individual Counseling

 

Teens often become dependent on substances because of stress from family, job, academics, or the environment. Individual counseling is a positive step towards analyzing and diagnosing the root of the problems. By knowing the source of the problem, the counselor can offer effective treatment alternatives.

 

3. Family Therapy

 

Fundamentally, the point of therapy is to develop deep family ties and a healthy home environment. Working with specialists that help families support their teen’s recovery has many advantages. It includes:

  •     Improving communication skills
  •     Restoring trust between family members
  •     Strengthening personal boundaries
  •     Coming up with clear life goals and expectations
  •     Preventing recurrence and maintaining self-discipline

 

 

4. Peer Group Activities

Teenagers are extremely emotionally sensitive from their peers’ opinions, especially in middle school and high school.  Peer group activities can build their bond with other teens in recovery while sharing their strengths and coping skills.

 

5. Recreational And Experiential Therapies

 

Most teenagers that undergo recovery may benefit from regular physical activity and creative self-expression. It allows them to divert their energies against substance use and their other problems.  It can be significant support for young clients in enduring the emotional challenges of therapy.

Programs such as art therapy, music therapy, wilderness activities, and equine-assisted therapy can provide emotional stability while teaching them essential coping strategies and social skills.

BetterHelp is the easiest way to get therapy while staying at home

Relapse Prevention

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The road to recovery does not end after the treatment period. More often than not, aftercare is a crucial element in a successful recovery. This part of recovery needs the help and support of the whole family. Without carefully planning how they will go on after treatment, it can lead to a relapse.

A relapse may occur because addiction is a chronic condition requiring lifelong support and management with its symptoms. As a whole family, here are the things you can do to prevent relapse:

 

  • Your Teen Might Seem Different 

 

Expect that your teen before and after treatment may be a different person. During and after therapy, act normally when you’re around them as much as possible. By doing so, they will slowly get to adjust and be comfortable while at home.

 

  • Steer Clear Of Enabling Behaviors

 

Learn and understand how you can avoid enabling behaviors. Even if you have good intentions, it can cause a trigger for teens during their early recovery.

  • Monitor Constantly

Keep track of their activities and who they’re with when going out. As parents and caregivers, you are expected to keep close supervision with teens who are recovering from addiction.

  •     Spend Time 

Regularly schedule bonding time with them. Plan something that the whole family enjoys. Also, encourage and join them in pursuing their hobbies.

Conclusion

Dealing with substance abuse of teens can be a challenging time for the whole family. With the proper intervention and support, you can make a tremendous difference in your teen’s life.

Keep in mind not to blame your child for what they have done. Instead, focus on what you can do to correct it for good — for your teen and for your whole family.

 

Why Quarantine Is Good For Rebellious Teens

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I can say that I have been blessed with the most responsible teenager in the entire world. She always comes home one time and enjoys school work. She has a lot of friends, but she has never felt the urge to sneak behind our backs. Of course, there are some crushes and admirers now, but my daughter told me that her focus is on going to college. My husband and I cannot be prouder of her because of that.

I am aware that not every parent is as lucky as we are. In our neighborhood alone, I have a few friends who often complain about their teenage sons and daughters. They always catch them sneaking out in the middle of the night or bringing friends over without permission. Some have also flunked their classes because they prioritize other activities than academics.

Whenever those parents ask me how my daughter seems to be unaffected by the puberty stage when it’s forgivable to be rebellious, I have no idea what to reply. I still don’t, frankly speaking. My daughter has always shown that responsible side of her, and it’s what’s normal for us.

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Luckily, though, my supposed “parenting luck” may be rubbing off on my friends, given that they no longer complain about their kids these days. Here are a few positive things that have happened to the rebellious teens during the quarantine.

Enjoy Family Nights

Since the entire state is under quarantine, the schools have been closed. The kids need to attend classes online during the day, but the teachers no longer give tons of assignments. This change has allowed a lot of parents to coax their teenagers to come out of their room and attend family nights.

A friend, in particular, said that a lot of excuses were thrown in the air at first in their house. Her son went out of his room but was still hesitant at first. But the more games they played, the more he showed real enthusiasm for family nights.

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Talk To The Parents For Real

A lot of parents agree that some kids turn into ogres when they become teenagers. I don’t mean to say that they look like those beasts, but they seem to forget how to use words when answering parents’ questions. You tend to hear grunts and sighs as if they can’t be bothered to put intelligible words together.

But since the entire family is quarantined under one roof, these grunting teens warm up to their mom and dad again. They talk more and even stay in a conversation without looking at their phones. Perhaps they realize that it’s cool to open up to their parents as much as they do to their friends.

Control Emotions At Your Own Pace

Teenagers typically rebel against their moms and dads because they feel like the latter won’t understand whatever they’re going through. After all, the raging hormones can make them moody and prevent them from seeing reason. It doesn’t help that they need to deal with it while being expected to excel at school and extracurricular activities as well.

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Now that the teens are at home 24/7, though, they may be able to control their emotions. There are no more friends to please or classmates to beat; they can finally focus on themselves. Thus, these teenagers may realize soon enough that they should stop rebelling ASAP.

Final Thoughts

The rebellious stage that your teenage children may be dealing with will eventually pass. It is a side effect of hitting puberty; not everyone can dodge it.

You’re lucky if being in quarantine has helped curb your kid’s rebelliousness. But if it hasn’t, breathe and think of how you can discipline them more efficiently.

Good luck!