Kate Middleton is encouraging kids to open up about their feelings instead of bottling it up. Here's her take on mental health issues in kids
At a recent event held in a London school, the Duchess of Cambridge opened up about the values she grew up with. And in turn, threw light on mental health conditions in children. According to this report, Kate Middleton spoke about her campaign to help children overcome mental health issues.
Apparently, she believes that it’s essential to teach values like kindness, respect and honesty to young children. If not more, it’s as essential as teaching maths and sports. She also reportedly said that “If we are worried, upset, lonely or angry – the best thing to do is to talk to someone about it.”
Speaking about why issues relating to mental health conditions in children interest her so much, she said, “The answer is quite simple – it is because I think that every child should have the best possible start in life… When I was growing up I was very lucky. My family was the most important thing to me…They provided me with somewhere safe to grow and learn, and I know I was fortunate not to have been confronted by serious adversity at a young age. For some children, maybe there are some here today; I know that life can sometimes feel difficult and full of challenges.”
That’s actually some food for thought there! In our mad rush to make an Einstein out of our children, we often tend to ignore or give less attention to more important things like inculcating basic values in them. Sometimes, we don’t watch or figure out why they aren’t as kicked about the prospect. Instead, we tend to put more pressure on the little ones to perform and excel.
We tend to ignore their subtle pleas disguised in the form of ‘tummy aches’ and whine-fests. Assuming these are just tantrums and not indulging them to reveal the actual issue can be detrimental to the child’s mental well-being.
Here are certain things you need to factor in to ensure you aren’t just raising a genius but a well-rounded, healthy and happy individual:
- Losing doesn’t make you a loser. When my daughter came home having lost the first prize for drawing, she seemed dejected. For a then 7-year-old, it was a big deal. She felt like a ‘loser’. It took me a while to explain it to her that not all battles can be won. That losing out on something doesn’t make you a loser. Everyone is good at something. Drawing may not be your strong point and that is absolutely fine.
- Feel sad, but don’t stay sad. If you find them crying about something, don’t make them feel like a weakling. Console them, but avoid saying things like, “strong children don’t cry”. This will make some children bottle up their feelings. Instead, let them cry it out, hear about their issues. Offer feasible solutions and ask them to look at the brighter side.
- Hug, hug and hug some more. Shower them with hugs and loving conversations. A hug from a parent makes them feel loved and instils a sense of security in them. Benefits of a hug are myriad and there shouldn’t be a reason to dole out a hug.
We often say ‘I wish I was a child’, forgetting that as children we had our share of stress and anxiety. It’s this attitude that quite often makes us oblivious to signs of stress or depression in our young ones. Keep communication channels open with the children so as to never miss out on any important signs. If ever you feel something is amiss with your usually happy child, consult a qualified doctor at the earliest.
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