Too often adults think the topic of mental health is too ‘grown up’ for their children. But by ignoring it, you’re also missing out on teaching your child important life lessons. Having that discussion can even lay the foundation for future conversations if they have certain challenges.

Children should learn about mental health
Children need to know about mental health too
Photo courtesy of Olya Odamovich

They’ve Seen You Deal with Mental Health Issues

Children aren’t as unaware as parents tend to think. If you’ve been dealing with mental health issues, it’s possible your child has noticed. That has nothing to do with your parenting skills. Most children are just good at noticing changes in their parents.

Depending on their age, it’s best to think about how you’re going to tell them about what’s going on. This way, you won’t run the risk of having them think they’re the cause of a mental health episode. Better yet, they’ll know when you need some time to yourself. With the right training, your child may even grow to be your best mental health advocate.

They May be Dealing with Mental Health Issues

Adults aren’t the only ones who have challenges with mental health. In fact, statistics show that millions of children deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder. Some of them get diagnosed as early as three years old. This is why it’s important to have that discussion. They’ll know to talk to you if they start to show any symptoms of atypical mental health. This makes it more likely for them to get the kind of help they need. The door will be open for honest conversations that will lead to a great relationship with your child.

They’ll be Sensitive to Others’ Mental Health Needs

Finally, even if your child doesn’t have any concerns about mental health, chances are pretty high they’ll meet someone who does. When you have honest discussions about the subject, it will prepare them for that. Armed with the right knowledge, they’ll be a step ahead of those who have no idea what to make of things. It can also open up the opportunity for them to educate others about what to expect when dealing with mental health challenges.