Responsible parenting crucial in combating child mental health issues
Post by Noor Mohi-ud-din on Tuesday, October 10, 2023
In a recent analysis of the increasing prevalence of mental health issues among school-going children, experts in child psychology and mental health have identified a lack of responsible parenting as a significant contributing factor.
Dr. Tajamul Hussain, Associate Professor and Head of Psychiatry at GMC Baramulla, emphasized the pivotal role of emotional connection between children and parents in shaping mental health development. He raised concerns about children, particularly those in nuclear families, lacking emotional bonding due to factors like spending time with maids or being alone at home.
"Increasing instances of children expressing discomfort and disconnection with parents are contributing to susceptibility to depression and negative coping mechanisms," Dr. Tajamul stated. "A child's mental health development is influenced by the relationships he forms with parents, including the level of attachment and the quality time spent together."
He underscored the importance of quality time spent with parents, contrasting it with the prevalent belief that material facilities and prestigious schools are sufficient for effective parenting.
Introverted and reserved children often refrain from discussing such matters with their parents, making them vulnerable to depression and mental health challenges that may manifest in negative coping mechanisms, such as smoking or associating with bad company.
Dr Tajamul also pointed to intense academic competition, focusing on high percentages, as a source of stress among children. "Now, even achieving 99% marks becomes a cause of depression among children. The pressure intensifies as parents scold their kids for not attaining a perfect 100% without realizing the detrimental impact it has on their mental well-being," he emphasized. He also raised concerns about the impact of social media, where likes or the lack thereof on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can trigger depression in children.
Advocating for responsible parenting, Dr. Tajamul called for increased awareness regarding mental health to address and overcome these growing concerns.
Meanwhile, Waseem Kakroo, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Centre for Mental Health Services in Rambagh, Srinagar, identified various factors contributing to mental health issues in children, including genetics, environmental factors, academic pressures, social bullying, and the influence of digital devices.
Waseem Kakroo stressed the pivotal roles of parents and teachers in addressing these issues, emphasizing the need for open communication and supportive home environments. "Fostering open communication is essential. Parents should create a supportive home environment where children feel comfortable discussing their feelings," he added.
He proposed introducing emotional education in schools to teach coping mechanisms and stress management. Recognizing early signs of mental health problems, Kakroo urged collaboration between parents and teachers to seek professional help when necessary.
He suggested reducing academic pressure, promoting work-life balance, fostering social connections, and encouraging physical activity as measures to enhance overall well-being in children.