Children’s Mental Health – Try TLC
Have a go at a little TLC
Let’s begin to have conversations with your child about their mental health.
It can feel unnatural and forced to start with. It can be scary and so you may feel tempted to ignore the issue. To support these thoughts, you may have told yourself that it will come right in the end. It will resolve itself.
If you sincerely want to help your child to build, manage and maintain good mental health every day we have to be open to talking and listening about it with them; honestly, openly and patiently.
Plan for the conversation.
1 Time. (T)
Think about when would be a good time to have this conversation. Avoid any time when your child is feeling highly emotional. If your child has raised emotions like anxiety, around going to bed and uses challenging behaviour to express this; then this is not a good time.
Find a time when you know they will not be tired and will have energy to focus. Think about a time you know when they won’t be hungry or worried and most likely to feel relaxed. Re-starting a conversation that has been shut down because time ran out is difficult. So, choose a time carefully when you will not be cut short.
2 Location. (L)
Find a safe place for both you and your child. This could be their bedroom, or a den you make together using chairs and a large sheet. It could be outside the house, where you both can be sure of undivided attention. Always be sure that there is appropriate privacy so you both are free to speak without being interrupted or overheard. Don’t head into a conversation in a shared space where others may come in.
I find travelling in the car perfect.
3 Characteristic. (C)
You know the nature of your child. What they enjoy and where they feel most comfortable. A conversation does not have to happen face to face. It is often easier when you are doing something together: a craft, food prep, playing a video game. Perhaps they prefer to be in open space so plan a walk at a park or local woods. Choose an environment and activity where they are potentially going to be relaxed and not stressed.
Use open phrasing such as:
- What would you say was the best day in your life so far?
- What’s the best thing about being part of our family?
- What sort of things in this world make you angry? Wish you could fix?
- What skills do you wish you could be better at? What would improve it?
- What do you wish I understood better about you?
Encourage yourself to have a go. Be inspired and go experiment.
Think about what TLC would look like for your children and then have a go.
It’s not about getting this parenting thing perfect.
BWP would like to take this opportunity to remind you of our new dedicated Children and Young People’s Service.
Domestic abuse can impact children and young people in many different ways. Some children and young people may even experience direct abuse themselves.
Many children and young people do cope with and survive abuse, at times displaying extraordinary resilience. However, there can be negative long lasting impacts on a child or young person’s psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Children and young people may suffer with
- Separation anxiety
- Low levels of self-esteem and confidence.
- Behavioural issues
Children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse may also develop negative coping
strategies such as
- Emotional numbing
- Substance misuse
- Engaging in risk taking behaviours
- Isolating themselves
BWP have a dedicated Children’s Worker and Children’s Therapist who can work with children and young people around a range of issues.
The one to one support our children’s outreach workers offer can help children and young people to:
- Explore their feelings
- Learn how to stay safe
- Learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships
- Build self-esteem, confidence and resilience
- Receive support to access community networks
Children and young people can also access counselling and therapeutic interventions for:
- Support around more complex needs
- Support to develop positive coping strategies
- Explore feeling’s, thoughts and behaviours on a deeper level
- Creative art therapies
Other Support Services
There is a new website Health for Kids for families in Nottinghamshire.
The website is aimed at young people aged 5-11 and their parents/carers. It provides information in a fun and interactive way, in order to support children and young people’s emotional and physical health and well-being. Children and their parents/carers as well as professionals, can browse the four health worlds which is populated with different information. You can access the website by following the link www.healthforkids.co.uk