They say everyone on the planet will go through some kind of mental health issue sometime in their lifetime and that on its own is scary! To think that kids as young as 5 can be going through metal health as well just flabbergasts me! Its literally heartbreaking coz kids shouldn't have any worries that's for us adults to deal with. Kids should be having fun with no responsibilities (apart from tidying away their toys, lol!)
I have found being a mum of two boys and two girls, that girls do worry more from such a young age! My Ruby is 8 and she worries more than me! I'm like.. "you only need to worry about your school work and even then you don't need to worry as long as you do the best you can".
Yes I do think Covid has had a big impact on our kids, Madison had separation anxiety for a while but I also think us parents and the schools can do more coz in my eyes my child's mental health is much more important than how well they do academically coz they won't do well in school if they have underlining mental health issues.
This is the age that matters the most coz this is when limiting beliefs stick and we carry them with us till adulthood so putting the right things in our children's heads is crucial! Go ahead and see what your beliefs are with this worksheet I created for you... you can print it out the links under the image >>>
My Own Experience
As a young child I don't have many memories coz unfortunately when I was around 5 an incident happened whilst my mum was hard at work, it traumatised me for years to come!
In hindsight we were very lucky kids we had holiday's and road trip's we were very much loved but as I got to my teenage years with all the hormones and body changes I found it very hard to deal with my past trauma and so it came out in other ways.....
I disliked myself
I self harmed
I drank alcohol
I tried drugs
I found it hard to trust and be close with the men in my life
I needed a purpose which is why I was a young mum!
It took me till my 30's that I finally worked on myself and my mindset, I finally could say I love myself, I believe in myself and what led me to this eye opening journey was working online as an entrepreneur coz that's the first thing they tell you, you have to have the right mindset and if you don't you need to work on it till you do!
So when I was younger and had my boys they gave me a purpose in life, I lived for them and then as I got older I found myself and now I live for myself (of course my kids too) but you shouldn't need a reason outside of yourself to live you should live for YOU coz you have a purpose, we all have a purpose in life and mine is helping others become better versions of themselves! What is yours? If you don't know you have the answers inside yourself! If you need help come join my Facebook group!
My Son's Experience
My son Logan has experienced mental health issues, firstly his school and myself did not recognise he was dyslexic so this is why he needed more help, which he did not get they just said he had ADHD but he didn't he was just extremely frustrated! He didn't know what was going on with him and he just lacked the confidence so in the end he refused to go to school as he didn't see the point so I home schooled him. (As well as other incidents that occurred)
He had a tutor for reading and writing coz that's what I thought he needs to focus on coz if he can't read how can he learn anything? I also got him an appointment with Children & Adolescence Mental Health Service (CAMHS) coz it got to the point where he was having suicidal though's and yes he was honest and open and told me, so I see this as a cry for help but also a blessing for me coz he came and told me!
It was an extremely scary time but then Covid hit and a little miss communication we no longer had appointments with them, but moving forward things have gotten better! He still needs to work on his confidence and decide what he wants to do with his life but his metal health is not as bad as it was, but still needs work! I gotta say tho if it wasn't for PlayStation live he would of found it so much harder and isolating, their just needs to be boundaries with the amount of time your kids spend gaming.
Signs Of Depression Or Anxiety In Children
Sometimes the signs can be hard to see coz some children are good at hiding things but just make sure you speak with your child regularly and reassure them they can come and talk to you about anything anytime. I have been very lucky with my kids so far they always come to me and when they need me, sometimes they can overshare lol, or even be brutally honest, thanks Madison I know I have fat bits you don't need to remind me daily, or maybe its keeping me motivated? lol! So here are some signs you can be aware of...
A change in eating habits, emotional binge eating, don't feel like eating
Not interested in doing anything even the things they used to love
A change in sleeping habits
Not wanting to socialise and being withdrawn
Low self worth and self esteem
Always emotional and tearful
Mood swings, not being able to control their emotions
Anxiety: (some are similar to depression)
Wanting to be alone all the time, avoid social gatherings
A change in sleeping habits
A change in eating habits
Always feeling "high strung" and irritated
Worrying all the time about everything
The feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest << ready my poem
So know I know the signs and think my child may be suffering with depression or anxiety, how do I help them? What are the next steps?
Ways You Can Help Your Child
As a parent you will feel responsible if you realise your child is depressed or suffering with anxiety but you need to put your own feelings aside and focus on how you can help your child coz it may not have anything to do with you so blaming yourself will not help, taking these steps will...
Letting them know its ok to be open and honest about how their feeling
Show them that you support them and are their when they need you
Staying calm and in control for them so you are approachable
If they feel uncomfortable talking in person let them know they can text you or even write you a letter. (Maybe get them a journal if they like to write)
Get your own support network, seek help from professionals, support groups and family and friends
Together try coping tools such as, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques and growth mindset & journaling their feelings
As hard as it is they don't always feel comfortable talking to you so be supportive helping them talk to their GP, a counsellor at school or even child-line?
54% of all Childline counselling sessions were related to emotional health and wellbeing, including self-harm and suicidal thoughts and feelings, in 2020/21
Why Is Your Child Self Harming?
Their are many reason your child or teen will turn to self harm I know coz I was one of them. For me it made me feel in control and gave me a sense of release at the time but I came to realise hurting myself was not the answer and was not actually making me feel better!
Here we look at some of the reasons why your child is self harming coz if you figure out the cause your better able to help them overcome it.
They could be feeling alone or being bullied
They could be feeling like their not in control of their life making them angry or numb
They could be experiencing anxiety, depression or an eating disorder
They could be having problems at home or if they have had a loss in the family they will be grieving
They could be going through some sort of abuse like, emotional, sexual or physical
They could be feeling low and no sense of self worth
What Are The Signs Of Self Harm?
Some kids especially teens are very good at hiding things and may even harm themselves in a place that is not easily visible such as the top of the thighs, the back, the torso and even the back of the neck. Here are some signs to keep an eye out for...
If they are feeling low and in self sabotage mode
If they have unexplained cuts, marks, bruises or burns on their body
If they are always covered up... long sleeves, trousers, scarfs even in the hot weather
If they are always avoiding family and friends not socialising
If they are always in their room alone all day everyday
If you find any tissue or clothing with blood on
If they are always angry or show signs of alcohol or drug abuse
How You Can Support Your Child
As parents we are always worrying about our kids no matter their age right! Sometimes they just need you to listen and your support so here are some ways you can do just that...
Step One - Figure out whats the cause of their self harming:
Their is always a reason why we do what we do so your child has a reason why they are self harming so its your job to find out what that reason is, this could be down to bullying or help your child determine what it is coz to be honest they may not be clear on the reason themselves so in this case maybe get them to keep a feelings journal for a week.
If this does not work then maybe they need to speak with a counsellor to help them determine the cause coz until you know what the cause is you can not take the steps to overcome it!
You could suggest to your child a better way to vent instead of self harming and see if they would be open to getting a punch bag or doodling?
Step Two - Give Them Emotional Support:
Let your child know your their to listen and give advice where you can, that you will support them in anyway they wish, so don't go in too full on coz you may put them off, just let them know your their and then make yourself available. Put them first above everything else and even offer to make time to spend with them, you can go out or even have a movie night in even if you have to put up with Trolls or Kissing Booth! It will be so worth it and a good opportunity to reconnect.
Step Three - Help Them Build Confidence:
Well this is a hard one but confidence is something that will grow over time not over night! So don't think of it as a mountain to climb but rather many small hills.
You can start by making a list of all the positive things you love about your child and how you see them through your eyes. Give them this list, it will boost their confidence and show your support and love for them. Maybe remind them of the things their good at and enjoy or why not learn something new together, this will also build your bond.
Step Four - Ways They Can Cope And Overcome Self Harming:
Their are many things you can suggest to help your child build confidence and stop self harming and with your encouragement and guidance their is no reason they can't succeed, here are some ways to help them cope...
They can paint, draw or doodle in red
They can try holding an ice cube in their hand until it melts
They can write down their negative feelings then either rip it up or burn it
They can wear an elastic band on their wrist and snap it every time they feel the urge to self-harm
They can listen to music they relate to
They can punch or scream into a pillow or get a punch bag if possible
They can open up to friends or family
They can take a cold bath or shower
They can get active, go for a run, swim or bike ride even horse riding
They can watch their fav funny film
They could even try the wall of expressions game on the childline website!
Is Your Child Feeling Suicidal?
If your worried about your child taking their own life and their not so open with you like my son was with me, then knowing these signs may help:
If you notice your child talking about dying or people who commit suicide more often or if you find it on their internet search
Becoming more withdrawn and not wanting to socialise
Acting out of character, taking drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking
Saying negative things like, "I'm not worth it", "I hate my life" or "no one will miss me if I die".
If your child or a child you know is having suicidal feelings then you need to take this seriously as this maybe their cry for help...
If you are worried about your child or another child that has confined in you then seek help from your GP or call childline 0808 800 5000 to speak with a counsellor and get some advice. Or they can speak one on one with a counsellor online.
If your child is open with you and comes to you for help then here are some tips they can try now to manage their mental health... print below the image >>>
Then their are the 5 senses to help you cope with your mental health.....
You can also print this out if you so wish to put it up where you can see it or keep it for you to refer to maybe in your happy book if you have one or why not start a coping book?
Lets Round It Up
Right now we are all learning to live with the virus Covid 19 but have come a long way through a tough few years, many people loosing their loved ones, loosing their jobs or businesses and just not knowing what the future would hold for us all.
A few years on and we have come to live with the virus in our everyday lives, I personally have had the virus twice! The first time was when their was no vaccine made, It was an awful experience I have never been so ill and then I had my 2 vaccines, was booked in to have my booster and it hit me again and I felt awful again but I recovered much quicker!
I consider myself one of the lucky ones as I have not had any family members or friends die from the virus. And I count my blessing everyday!
I think their is only so much the school can do and as far as I'm aware Ruby's school do practice meditation and yoga and other mindfulness activities during their time at school. I recently got this growth mindset activity book for Ruby and we have been doing it together coz if their was any advice I could give myself as a kid it would be to work on my mindset first and foremost! Also getting your child into the habit of goal setting will benefit them massively, maybe you could do your goals together even create a vision board?
To the left is steps to create your own vision board for you to print and below is for your child and you to reflect on last year and then set goals for next year >>>
That’s all from me today, until next week...
Remember to Keep Smiling & Laugh a little Every day!
Your Mental Mum...
If you would like to join The Mental Mum Community were you can find support, helpful advice and learn something new, we would love to have you!
Ps, Did this info help you? Share your children's mental health experience with us or is their any advice you can give that would help another mums?