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In terms of their children’s health, most parents concern themselves with making sure that their children are growing tall and strong, but often overlook their children’s mental condition. However, children can be under as much or even more stress than adults. They can suffer from depression and a number of other mental disorders. If not addressed, these can develop into a number of psychiatric and other disorders.

Parents must pay attention to their children’s mental health

According to a child psychology expert, “Children have many different challenges they must accomplish at each stage of development. When children do not feel like they can accomplish this task, they become frightened and anxious, rather than curious or excited.” She continues, “This can be caused by emotional, cognitive, or social factors surrounding the children, such as external pressure, or difficulties adjusting to their environment.”

Whether it is due to inborn temperament, parenting, incongruity of environmental factors surrounding the child, or other reasons, a child can develop a variety of psychiatric diseases that the parents need to be aware of.

Autism, mental retardation, delayed speech development, and developmental or learning disabilities are among the first type of mental health disorders that face a child. Autism is a form of separation anxiety when a child actually rejects attention, even from his or her mother, despite desperately wanting it. Children with autism also demonstrate repetitive bad behavior and/or resistance to change. They might also show no interest in playing with toys or a friend who has come over.

The second type of mental health disorder is attention defi cit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD. Children with ADHD are unable to concentrate, sit in one place, and are constantly curious in new things. They often seem very compulsive and messy. About 5-6% of children with ADHD later develop many other problems, including emotional issues, such as depression or anger issues, or juvenile delinquency.

Third is a tic disorder. This is a mental health disorder caused by stress that causes certain strange ticks, or random behaviors, which include things like random sniffing, clearing of the throat, staring aimlessly to the distance, shaking the head or grimancing, sighing, or making strange noises. If a ticorder lasts more than a year, a specialist should be consulted.

Fourth is a behavioral conduct disorder that leads to juvenile delinquency. Of course this is not exclusive to children and can develop later on in adolescence. However, since the disorder often starts from early childhood, parents should be wary of it as early as possible.

Fifth is depression. Children have the ability to feel depressed just as much as adults, especially if their parents or family has a history of depression. Other than the emotion itself, children suffering from depression might demonstrate aggressive behavior, irritation, changes in sleep or feeding, and have other comparative behavioral disorders similar to adult depression

Sixth is an anxiety disorder. If a child cannot go to kindergarten or school without his mother, or feels very anxious and pressured while at school, they may have an anxiety disorder. Children with anxiety disorders can feel excessive expectations, and displays nervous behavior while at home and in the classroom.

In addition, nocturnal enuresis, problems with bowel movements, excessive rebellious behavior, excessive problems between parents with children, sleeping problems - like waking up shivering in fear, feeding problems - like eating too much or too little, other bad habits, or ongoing problems between friends can signal cognitive, emotional, social, adaptive, or behavioral mental health problems.

Guideliens for Parents of Children with Mental Health Issues

Mental or psychological problems in children are relatively easy to improved compared to the same problems in adults. By parents reacting quickly to the problem and adjusting the child’s lifestyle, one can quickly prevent larger problems from developing. Parents should not blame themselves or their children for their children’s psychological problems. Rather, they should use it as an opportunity to reinforce the child’s relationship with the family and avoid any further problems. If a child has one of the above psychological or mental health issues, they should approach them with the following guidelines to prevent and treat them correctly.

First, parents should try understand the child and empathize. Try to fi nd out the meaning of the children 's behavior in their perspective, and not by how it seems externally. Listen again to the complaints of child even if they are the same. Not only listen, but look closely for behavioral signs or expressions.

Second, parents should show a clear position to the child. A child may behave directly from moment to moment, but parents must always react in a clear and consistent manner, regardless of how they feel, so as not to confuse the child on what is right or wrong.

Third, if the child does wrong, do not be afraid to punish them. Oftentimes, parents only want to give praise or love their children unconditionally. However, if children do something wrong, they must learn the proper punishment accordingly, as long it is appropriate. This will teach the child what is right and what is wrong. To avoid any punishment given out of frustration, give yourself time to control your feelings, and administer discipline as needed.