How to talk to your kids about mental health
Tips for parents on how to have those difficult conversations with children.
Do you want to talk to your children about mental health but don’t know where to begin? Let's hear from pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist Dr. Hina Talib who shares tips on how to start the conversation.
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Transcript of 'How to talk to your kids about mental health'
Parents, if you're watching, here are some tips on how to have those difficult conversations with children.
First, start from a positive place by saying to your child that you love them, that you adore them.
You could have the conversation when you've just shared a joke and laughed together, enjoyed a favourite snack or watched a show together. I would avoid having the conversation when emotions are already running high or first thing in the morning when you and your teen might not be on your best form.
Next, try to listen more than you talk. Listening is a difficult skill that requires practice but it's so important that your child feels listened to. A good tip is to try and say about half of what you had planned to say.
Also, be aware that your initial reactions – a comment, an eye roll, a sigh – can have such a big impact on your child and future conversations about feelings. Try to take a deep breath or sit on your hands before responding if you need to.
Lastly, remember to work in partnership with your child and ask their permission on how they would like you to respond before jumping in to offer advice. They may just want to vent or they might want to figure out the next steps on their own, with your guidance as backup.
The most important thing is to remind them that you're on their team no matter what.
Together, we can break the stigma around mental health.
It starts with one moment, one conversation, one question: What's on your mind?