Each parent must find what works for their child in their particular circumstances. Below are some suggestions other parents have found helpful.
As much as possible work to create a relaxed, stress-free, safe and supportive home environment.
Encourage your child to talk to you about their thoughts and feelings and then be sure to listen and sympathize with what your child is telling you. It isn’t always necessary to “fix” your child’s pain. Sometimes, just knowing they have been heard can validate their feelings and enable them to find the answers for themselves.
Resist the impulse to argue with or respond in a confrontational manner to your resistant and sometimes difficult child. Choose your confrontations and their timing carefully.
A child in a meltdown and out of control cannot reason and depends on your calmness and stability. If possible, allow children to back off from stressful situations and address them later when they are more in control. Remain calm. Address them with short, concrete directions: “Sit down.” “Take a deep breath.” “Come with me.”
Encourage the child to take age appropriate responsibility for the management of his/her recovery: taking medications, talking with the doctor, remembering appointments, devising accommodations. Praise success, help them to learn from failure: “What can you do the next time this situation happens?” “What can you do to remember to take your medications?”
Help your child find positive ways of expressing feelings or ideas. Remind them that negative feelings are not always related to reality; the brain can play tricks on us.
Encourage exercise. Physical exercise stimulates the production of endorphins.
Find the good and praise it. Children who feel bad about themselves especially need to know what is “right” about them.
Encourage regular sleep habits.
Encourage the child to stay active; call a friend and go shopping, do something nice for others.
Be ready to apologize when you have handled a situation badly. Children need to learn and understand that parents are people too, and no one is perfect.
Using videos for students and low cost materials for teachers and parents, Red Flags offers schools a comprehensive, affordable, common sense approach to basic mental health education.