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Nurturing Your Child’s Mental Health

Ask MichelleParents and caregivers are responsible for children’s physical safety and emotional well-being. Clear and consistent expectations for each child are important. The following suggestions will be helpful in reaching and maintaining a child’s healthy mental state:

• Do your best to provide a safe home and community for your child, as well as nutritious meals, regular health check-ups, immunizations, and exercise.
• Be aware of stages in child development so you don’t expect too much or too little from your child.
• Encourage your child to express her feelings; respect those feelings. Let your child know that everyone experiences pain, fear, anger, and anxiety.
• Try to learn the sources of these feelings. Help your child express anger positively, without resorting to violence.
• Promote mutual respect and trust. Keep your voice level down –even when you don’t agree. Keep communication channels open.
• Listen to your child. Use words and examples your child can understand. Encourage questions.
• Provide comfort and assurance. Be honest. Focus on the positives. Express your willingness to talk about any subject.
• Encourage your child’s talents and accept limitations.
• Set goals based on your child’s abilities and interests – not someone else’s expectations. Celebrate accomplishments. Don’t compare your child’s abilities to those of other children; appreciate their uniqueness.
• Foster your child’s independence and self-worth.
• Help your child deal with life’s ups and downs. Show confidence in your child’s ability to handle problems and tackle new experiences.
• Discipline constructively, fairly, and consistently. (Discipline is a form of teaching, not physical punishment.) Show approval for positive behaviors.
• Love unconditionally. Teach the value of apologies, cooperation, patience, forgiveness, and consideration for others.

DO NOT EXPECT TO BE PERFECT – PARENTING IS A DIFFICULT JOB

South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering CBT counseling, EFT modalities – (tapping), therapeutic counseling, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists please call (631)286-8282, e-mail us at SSCounseling1@optonline.net or visit our website, Southshorecounselingcenter.net.

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