We all want our children to be happy, achieve the goals important to them and develop into adults that are content with who they are and can function positively in society.
When we talk about how children and teenagers think and feel we are talking about their emotional wellbeing or mental health.
There are many ways to measure emotional wellbeing and many factors that influence mental health.
A child /teenager with good mental health will be able to enjoy most of the following:
- Be able to initiate and maintain positive, reciprocal relationships with others
- Be happy in their own company
- Naturally balance work with fun and activity with rest
- Have a strong sense of right and wrong
- Be able to self regulate (manage their feelings effectively)
- Be able to learn and achieve
- With support, manage and learn from adversity
They will also feel:
- Their basic needs are met (food, housing, sleep, communication, physical contact)
- They are safe – physically and emotionally
- They are loved and that they belong (family, friendships, school)
- They can feel good about themselves and are accepting of their faults
However, not all children have good mental health and resilience can vary greatly. Evidence suggests that the number of children and young people experiencing difficulties is increasing, creating a greater need for understanding and support for families.
Interruptions in a child or teenagers emotional wellbeing can present in many different ways and can vary depending on age.
Common behaviour difficulties include:
- Low mood
- Low self esteem
- Obsessive/compulsive/repetitive behaviour
- Bullying others
- Issues with food or sleep
- Self harm
- Self neglect
- Reckless behaviour