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A young person’s top tips for how parents can support their children’s mental health

By Aidan

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An illustration of two people dealing with conflict.

Before I start with my tips, I will share with you how I am getting on with Covid and lockdown. I miss school, as I haven’t seen my friends over the Christmas holidays or in the entire home-schooling period. I feel that what kept me going during this period is exercise and developing my interests. I do quite a bit physical exercise everyday (at least an hour) and play the piano. This really helps me stay relaxed and occupied.

Here are my 4 top tips for parents to help your kids’ mental health

Top tip 1: Guide your kids through your own actions. They look up to you and they see how you act, whether it is with a colleague, or an ex-partner. If you are aggressive to them then your kids will see that and think it is acceptable to hurt others, especially if you are physically violent. This could lead to them becoming bullies in school. If you act kindly towards others when your kids are there then they will pick that up and have happier lives.

Top tip 2: Understand their feelings. If they are feeling down, angry or anything like that, don’t dismiss their feelings as this could aggravate them further, and they might release them at someone else in a negative way, for example at their teacher. Try to understand them and don’t tell them what they are feeling is incorrect or that they should be feeling something different, for example be happy. If your kid is struggling with their mental health, dismissing them will make them feel worse.

Top tip 3: Keep a close bond. Try to spend time with your child, but your child also needs space to be by themselves, and to have their own friends.

Top tip 4: Keep communication. If you don’t talk much to your child it might make them less confident talking to others and/or feel unloved.

Finally, having the trust between you and your kid is very important as they can come to you with their problems.

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My name is Aidan and I go to school in Edinburgh. I enjoy basketball, chess, piano, kayaking and video games.

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