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Helping Children Cope

By Rachel Shouse

Whether you're concerned that recent events are negatively affecting your child's mental health or if some other large event has happened within your family, you've come to the right place. Speaking from experience, it's hard having to not only watch your child go through a hard time, but also feel completely powerless as to what happens. The best things you can do are be there to support them, educate yourself on common mental illness symptoms, and work with your family as a whole to move forward.

Be There for Them

Being there for your children may seem like a given. Some of you may just need a couple ideas to help you bond with your child and help them through whatever the situation may be. As a parent, you know your child the best. You know their interests, their dislikes, etc. 

Along with their interests, it's important to understand their love language. They may feel loved when you give them quality time, buy them a gift, speak kindness to them, do something nice for them, and/or physical contact. They would probably respond well to any of them, but depending on the severity of the upset, it may be best to go with their first choice.

Look Out for Mental Illness Symptoms

Sometimes it's hard to discern between regular kid stuff and real problems. Kids will be kids, no matter their age. The following are behaviors to watch out for in your child(ren):

  • Avoiding activities they used to enjoy
  • Unhealthy sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Acting overly irritable
  • Extreme worry or sadness
  • Difficulty focusing and paying attention 
  • Alcohol, cigarettes, or drug use

It's important that you never feel afraid to express your concerns about your children. Whether other people, including your family, support you or not. 

Working as a Family Unit

It's important for families to band together during hard times. This is so much easier said than done. Being a parent seems to feel like the definition of selfless when times get tough. Remember that while this is hard, you were built to be their parent and you're what they really want and need.

In order for you to be the best parent you can be, you need to take proper care of yourself. While your children are your No. 1 priority, they need you too, and that means you take the best care of yourself that you can.

Give yourself grace during hard times. It's unreasonable to expect yourself to be perfect. You may not get it right every time. You may not notice things that you'll later think you should have. Do and speak to yourself the way you want your children to speak to themselves.

NOTE: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hiram, Ga.

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