Are Parents Making Their Children Mentally Unhealthy?
Mental and emotional disorders in children seem to be more common than ever today. It may be that doctors are more willing to diagnose children with these types of disorders, but it might also be that more and more children are actually suffering from mental and emotional illnesses. While some children are born with conditions such as depression or anxiety or Attention Deficit Disorder, there is a question of whether or not parents are contributing to these mental and emotional disorders or even causing their children to have them in the first place.
One thing to consider is that children learn behavior from their parents and it takes them years to unlearn this behavior. If parents have anxiety disorders or a pessimistic attitude or have depression, their children may actually learn these disorders on their own. They learn to be anxious in every tense or new situation, they learn to look on the bad side of every situation, and they learn to be depressed in general. They may also learn unhealthy ways of dealing with anxiety and depression, or may learn unhealthy habits altogether such as overeating, overdrinking, having angry outbursts, and so on. Just like learning their parent’s language, their learn their parent’s mental and emotional responses.
Children might also suffer from some mental and emotional disorders because of abuse or neglect by their parents. When parents scream at or berate their children, they learn to have little self-esteem and self-respect. They may question and doubt everything about themselves, from how they look to how they think and feel about themselves and the world around them. When parents neglect children, they learn that they are unloved and unlovable, and they may feel ill-at-ease around others or feel as if they have no “safety net” of family to care for them.
In some cases parents may not be teaching their children unhealthy mental and emotional habits but may not be doing enough to teach their children healthy ways of thinking and feeling. When a child has an angry outburst, a parent may simply ignore them rather than correcting that behavior or worse, a parent may give in to their tantrums. This teaches a child to keep up with this behavior. A child may bully another child or get caught stealing, and again, the parent may not correct this behavior. This does nothing to discourage a child from acting like this again and again.
This doesn’t mean that parents are always somehow to blame for their children acting up or having mental and emotional distresses. However, they would do well to understand their part in a child’s emotional and mental health. Setting a good example in developing healthy habits, giving children the right attention they need and being sure to teach healthy habits will go a long way toward raising mentally and emotionally healthy children.Related Stories: