How to Be a Mental Health Role Model for Your Kids

Mental health is becoming a more popular topic of discussion today. You may be wondering how you can ensure your child is aware of the importance of mental health. They should also know that they have a solid support system should they face any troubles. Mental health is often something that young adults address as they begin to enter the world and take on more responsibilities. However, it can be equally important to lead by example and teach your children healthy ways to cope and look out for their mental health.

Here are some ways you can show the importance of mental health with your children by becoming a role model of mental health yourself.

#1. Practice Self-Care With Your Child

Practicing self-care is important through every stage in life. When we were children, parents took on the more challenging parts of our lives, and we didn’t feel the need to participate in or understand the benefits of relaxing activities. Setting up activities with your child that involve self-care can be a great way to share the benefits of taking time for yourself. Make sure that the activity is something both of you will enjoy, like getting manicures, going to the gym, playing a game of soccer, making tea and reading books, doing face masks, or journaling. You’ll want the activity to seem fun and not like work, but also relay the importance to your child of taking time for themselves to reduce stress.

#2. Make Healthy Meals 

A healthy diet is an incredibly important part of mental health. Feeling well physically translates to how you feel mentally. If you are not eating healthy, balanced meals, your child won’t see the importance of doing so either. Cooking healthy meals for your children and pointing out to them how much more fulfilling a balanced meal feels can help them understand the importance of a healthy diet. It can also be beneficial to allow them indulgences at times, to show them that unhealthy food can be okay in moderation and what “moderation” actually looks like. If you are eating right, your kids will too, and it will positively affect your mental health.

#3. Share Your Trials and Triumphs With Them

Something that can be difficult to face as a teenager is an increase in both responsibilities and freedom. As your child faces difficulties inside and outside of school, they may have a hard time determining the best course of action and how to approach each situation. By being honest with your child about situations in your day that brought you stress and discussing how you managed them, you can become a resource for them when they face stress as well. They can ask themselves what you might have done in the same situation. They will understand that problems and stress do not end when you become an adult, and they will be more prepared knowing how their parents worked through tough times. By sharing your triumphs, like getting a promotion, receiving a bonus, or being recognized for your hard work, you can begin to show your children that there are things in life that are worthy of being celebrated too.

#4 Ask For Help When You Need It

It can be very hard for children, especially teenagers, to ask for help. They so desperately want to be respected as adults, and they feel pressure from their peers to be perfect. If you show your children that it is not shameful to ask for help when you need it, they will be confident when that time occurs—receiving therapy, financial assistance, or help from a friend are not things that you need to hide from your child. As a parent, it can be easy to want to maintain your image as a person who always has it together, but showing your child that even you, as a parent, also need help at times can show them that everyone struggles and that it’s okay to reach out.

#5 Take Breaks and Encourage Your Child to Do the Same

Many times, teenagers feel immense pressure, not only from their peers but also from their parents, to perform perfectly, whether it be in school, sports, at home, or work. Today’s society is very fast-paced, discouraging rest and breaks and not accepting failure or quitting. Letting your child know that it is not only okay but encouraged to take breaks from their work and rest can help them later in life when you are no longer around to remind them. If you also model this behavior by not pushing yourself too hard and giving in to pressure, they will learn to address these overwhelming feelings with rest early on. Our bodies and mind can only take so much, and learning your limits and helping your child identify theirs can be incredibly beneficial to your and your child’s mental health.

Mental health is a growing topic of discussion today. Like many parents, you may be wondering how you can be a role model of mental health for your children so that they can grow to live healthy, fruitful lives. By practicing self-care yourself, you can model appropriate behavior for your child. By eating healthy, balanced meals, being honest with your child about your own struggles and how you overcame them, asking for help, and taking breaks, you can begin to instill a healthy foundation for mental health with your child. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center specializes in behavioral health issues and mental health disorders in teenagers ages 12 to 17, and we offer parent recovery as well. We can help you and your child reach a stable relationship around mental health by providing activities and exercises that support personal growth. Call us today at (303) 443-3343 to see how we can help you.  

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