Child Behaviours and The Demands Of Society On Young Minds
One could say everyone looks at children and see them as gifts and blessings to the world. After all, who wouldn’t be captivated by a toddler curious on how the world works, or young students just learning to tap into their talents and learn how they can contribute to the world when they grow up?
However, even children can encounter problems of their own, and sometimes these tend to be confusing and overwhelming for them to understand and cope with. Their exposure to modern technologies and societal trends may also greatly affect the way they see themselves and the world around them. And while these external influences are inevitable for your child to see, your place in their lives as parents do matter in helping to mold them into the best versions of themselves.
Walking the path towards more effective parenthood takes a lot more than just “knowing” what’s “good” for your child. Rather, it takes assessing and understanding the role of child behaviours and the demands of society on young minds that can put you in a better position to help your children forge the paths they want to take.
Society And Your Child’s Mental Health
A person’s mental health remains an integral part of their lives – as, after all, one’s mental health allows someone to have the capacity to get to know themselves, and others, to a considerable degree. Unfortunately, it’s also important to acknowledge that mental health concerns remain as one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. In fact, 23-percent of all years lost due to having a disability can be attributed to mental disorders, and substance abuse.
However, children are not immune from having mental health concerns of their own. In fact, around 20-percent of adolescents and children around the world have some form of mental health condition, and half of them actually begin even before children turn 14. This may largely be due to the fact that children are also exposed to varieties of situations as they grow, that may eventually influence their mental health.
Social Media Today: How Does It Affect Your Child?
Aside from your child’s peers and environment, technology appears to have a huge role on your child’s development. This is especially given 81-percent of millennials check their Twitter profiles every day, with younger audiences also having accounts in Facebook and Instagram. This isn’t to imply it’s always negative, however.
When used properly, social media can be a good way for your children to connect and socialize with their peers, especially if they don’t get to meet too often. This can be a way for them to explore their interests with like-minded individuals.
Likewise, social media can have a detrimental effect to children, as some may find “meaning” in gathering likes, shares, and followers. If not taught properly, children may grow to believe that a huge part of their self-identity is dependent on social media.
How Should You Approach Bullying, Bad Behaviours?
Bullying is also another issue you should be aware of, especially concerning your child’s growth. Interaction with a wide variety of individuals is possible, and your child can especially learn a lot during their time with other kids. Unfortunately, this also opens opportunities to being bullied or bullying themselves.
If you fear your child is becoming a bully or is observing bad behaviour, you can:
- Try to get them to realize that bullying is a big deal, and you shouldn’t tolerate it anywhere – even at home. Try as much as possible to establish rules about bullying and social relations. If your form of punishment involves taking away privileges, then try to make sure the reasons are well-explained.
- Try to teach them less aggressive ways to deal with their problems, and show them these methods matter. Teach them how to talk properly, or how to reason properly.
- Try to teach children by example and show them you can go far with respect and kindness. Tell them it’s wrong to take note of differences such as social status, gender, special needs, appearance, religion, or even race.
- Use positive reinforcement. Encourage good behaviour by motivating your children to do good and reward them when they do good.
If you fear your child is being bullied, you can try to:
- Get to know more about their social life. Who exactly are the kind of people they’re dealing with? Are they good influence to your child? How is your child with the way they express themselves and their interests?
- Try to be honest with your child as much as possible, but don’t force them to share any details. Always tell them that you’re there to support them in their endeavours.
- Try to have a watchful eye on your children and if possible monitor their behaviour away from home in order to see things happening yourself.
- If you feel it’s gotten to the extent that it’s become too serious, try to have a recording of the bully’s behaviour or testimonies from other friends and try to talk with the bully’s parents in a civil manner. You can also approach school authorities to ask for advice on how to deal with the matter without escalating it.
Children And Drug Use: Talking About Drugs With Your Child
The World Health Organization defines substance abuse as the hazardous or harmful consumption of psychoactive substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol. When a substance is psychoactive, it has the potential to make a person have dependence syndrome. This is described as having a strong “desire” to take the substance, which is often accompanied by loss of self-control, and a cluster of physiological, cognitive, and behavioural phenomena that can have lasting consequences.
At least 31-million people around the world have disorders related to drug use. However, it appears children themselves aren’t totally safe from being influenced to take these substances.
Numbers from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicate that tobacco, cannabis, and alcohol are three (3) substances most commonly used among Australians aged 12 to 17 years of age.
In fact, numbers across secondary school students in 2011 indicate that:
- One (1) of every six (6) children of the age group deliberately sniffed solvents, glue, and petrol (inhalants) at least once.
- 1.9-percent of the age group have tried cocaine.
- 1.5-percent of these children have tried to use heroin.
- 3-percent of these children tried ecstasy.
- 3-percent of them have tried amphetamines.
If you feel as though your child is taking illegal substances, or if you’ve discovered they’re taking illegal substances, don’t be hostile right away. Rather:
- Try to talk with them about the situation but without hostility. Try to get to the root of their problems by being honest with them.
- Don’t prohibit the consumption of the substance immediately. Rather, try to explain to them the negative impact of the consumption of these substances.
- Try to introduce them to new “hobbies” or “interests” they may take that can take them away from the substances.
- If you really feel they need the assistance, or if they acknowledged the need for help, you may want to approach a psychologist in order to get direct assistance.
Resilience In Children
However, just because children are children doesn’t mean they’re not capable of being emotionally and mentally stable. Children are capable of being resilient or developing the skills of being able to deal with problems and adapting to new settings that can be sources of stress. As a parent, you can help build your child’s resilience by:
- Leading by example, and teaching them how you cope with some of your own problems. Being a beacon of light and positivity can greatly boost your child’s confidence and belief that problems can be solved.
- Teach them methods they can use in order to be more confident and brave in life. Instead of giving them advice like “You can do it,” you can start giving them things they can do. For instance, you can explain to them that you’re preparing them to be braver in a new school by letting them explore their new campus.
You can even try to avail therapy for your children. When a child undergoes therapy, they get to talk about their concerns and learn better ways of coping with them. Psychiatrists and psychologists are equipped with the tools to help your child gain access for better coping mechanisms, communication skills, and more efficient ways of understanding themselves and others with respect to their mental health concerns.
- You can avail child therapy, especially if your child is going through tough times such as health problems, bullying, school concerns, and family issues.
- You can avail child therapy if your child is having a hard time coping with feelings such as grief, low self-esteem, worry and stress, anger, and sadness.
- You can also avail child therapy to assist your child in coping with conditions like trauma-related disorders, disruptive behaviour disorders, self-injury, eating disorders, anxiety and OCD, depression, and ADHD.
Your Child And Therapy: How Does It Work?
Anyone can seek help especially if they encounter a particular life problem, dilemma, or situation that has affected their mental health to a considerable degree. Psychiatrists and psychologists receive training and knowledge as to how to help people with their particular conditions, and the steps their clients can take to have a much better life. This process, called counselling or therapy, is a proven medical service that can allow people to acquire the means to strategically look at their life’s problems, dissect them, and find ways to resolve these concerns. You can also avail your child a specialized kind of therapy, called child therapy, in order for them to be able to tackle life’s various situations with a more open mind.
Should you or your child believe they may be in need of mental health assistance, do remind them that actively seeking for professional help isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, this puts them in a position of strength as learning how to acknowledge that one lacks in something, and is willing to work on it, is a sign of growth.
- This is extremely important, as misunderstanding, discrimination, and stigma against both families and patients actually prevent people from seeking the kind of health care they need. There still exists a belief that when someone avails mental health care that they’re unintelligent, difficult, untreatable, or incapable of making their own decisions.
- Unfortunately, this stigma can lead to exclusion of people from support and care they need, which may also lead to isolation, rejection, and abuse. These are things that can affect your child in a negative way as well.
If you want to be able to get to know your child more during therapy, or if you want to motivate them to take therapy, you can:
- Be honest with your intentions and explain to them that therapy is capable of helping them become much stronger in the long run.
- You can ask them to be honest with you and tell you what they expect from therapy, and you can actively try to negotiate these concerns to the psychologist.
- You can also motivate them by allowing them to share to you the kind of problems they have, and you can be a listener or a shoulder to cry on.
The Bottomline: Young Minds Can Be Molded By Child Behaviours, Societal Demands
With all of these in mind, it’s important to remember that the people and the environment can affect the way your child develops through the years. As such, it’s important to recognize as early as now that your presence and the way you interact with your child across various stages of their development can influence the way they see various things around them.
Likewise, your child’s exposure to various technologies, cultures, practices, and trends can mould their mentality and personality across their growth. Finding the intricate balance between being the guiding hand to help them, and being the hand to give them a gentle nudge to explore the things that interest them, is an essential part of parenthood – as your presence can greatly shape your child’s future.
This article is from TG Psychology who is a psychology practice based in Penrith that aims to provide their clients with the tools and the means to understand and manage various life issues.