“Am I a poor parent”, is a question parents have certainly all questioned themselves after a particularly tiring day.
If there’s something all parents can agree on, it’s wanting to see your child succeed and live a long, healthy life. Life comes with challenges, though. Many are uncontrollable, while others are a result of actions or experiences your child faces.
Behind almost every child or teenager, there’s hidden pain. “I love both my parents with everything in me, yet still, they happen to be the people who hurt me most”, said a thirteen-year-old girl. An adverse experience doesn’t guarantee a future problem, rather, it heightens a child’s future risk of mental health problems, injury, risky behaviors, infectious or chronic disease, and lack of income or educational opportunities. Most notably, it can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
“How confident are you in your ability to connect with your parents?”. One out of fourteen claimed to be extremely confident with their ability to connect with their parents. However, as for the teenagers who are slightly or not confident at all, the issue could be either the parents or the children themselves. Despite the 28.58% of teenagers that aren’t that confident in their ability to connect with parents, the 64.28% of teenagers that are in the middle could also put in some effort to get closer to their parents, as every kid should be extremely confident in their ability to connect with the people who took care of them for years.
“have you ever been a victim of abuse, violence, or neglect at home?”. 50% claimed that they have never been a victim of violence, abuse, or neglect at home in general, which is considered marvelous. On the other hand, the other 50% claim to be a victim of violence, even if it’s not major, it’s still considered serious and traumatic to some. Approximately 36% confidently said yes, which isn’t a good sign. To be more specific, there are three main types of violence, abuse, and neglect that could be caused to a child of all ages. 1 - Physical abuse, which can vary from mild bruises to death in intensity. 2 - Various degrees of compulsion and violence are used in sexual abuse. 3 - Neglect can include everything from not providing food, clothes, or shelter to not providing medical treatment, supervision, or education. Neglect can also include exposing a youngster to risky situations or risks, such as crime. Children who are abused or neglected can develop a wide range of physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral issues. “murderous rage, homicidal rage, is not born in the present. It originates in the land before memory, in the world of early childhood”. (The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides). Parents that aren’t capable of taking care of their children and having full responsibility should consider finding them a better, family-friendly home to welcome them with open arms.
Another relevant question mentioned in the survey was the following: “how much individual attention do you get at home?”. 57.14% claimed to get ‘too little’ individual attention at home. From birth, children need experiences and relationships that show them they’re valued, capable human beings who bring pleasure to others. Positive attention, reactions, and responses from key grown-ups help children build a picture of how valued they are. Your child’s self-image builds up over time with positive, loving messages from you and other important people in your child’s life. A healthy self-image is very important, not only for your child’s relationship with others but also for your child’s confidence as they learn about the world. “no one paid me the least attention, I was clearly as invisible as I felt”. Says the main character in the book “The Silent Patient” as well.
Mental health issues, like many illnesses and diseases, tend to run in families and can be handed on from parent to kid. If both parents have a mental health problem, the risk increases much more. The American Journal of Psychiatry published research that tracked children of depressive parents for 20 years to see how they performed as adults. They discovered that children whose parents were depressed were three times more likely to have mental health and drug misuse problems than children whose parents were not unhappy.
“Both my parents have never been emotionally available and truth be told I don’t think they know how to. But we just learned to adapt to that” said a 15-year-old teenager during an interview. “My brother was a bit rebellious. I knew he had to face consequences but I didn’t agree with my mom’s method. I know it’s common for some parents to hit their kids but I feel like it’s usually a very subtle light hit on the wrist. Most of the time that wasn’t the case in our home. When my mom gets really angry she usually becomes very impulsive. So when she would try to hit him and usually end up blocking him so she’d hit me instead”. Some teenagers have convinced themselves that their unaware parents and their behaviors are normal, which is wrong on many levels.
It's vital to understand that just because a parent has a mental health problem doesn't guarantee it will affect their children. It's instead about how a parent's mental health influences their conduct. Many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses receive treatment and go on to enjoy long, healthy, and productive lives. As a parent, dealing with depression may have an unintended effect on how you connect with your kid. You may not be as expressive or create an emotional link with your kid, for example, which might have an influence on the relationship between parent and child. It may also affect your child's physical well-being.
Be open and honest with your children about mental health. Describe what it is and how it can be treated. Avoid using labels and be careful with your language. "Sad" is gentler on the ears than "depressed," just as "scared" or "fearful" is easier for a youngster to understand than "anxiety." You should also be upfront and honest about how you communicate, both vocally and nonverbally. Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for, and they can detect clues. If you need to prioritize obtaining aid above caring for your family, don't feel guilty. Even if you're physically there, your family will struggle to get by without you at full strength.
When nothing appears to be going your way and you've spent your patience, it's easy to feel like your parenting abilities aren't up to grade. However, the fact that you're concerned about whether or not you're making the best parenting decisions indicates that you're not a horrible parent. Every decision you make might feel huge at times, and every error crucial. You are concerned about the long-term consequences of our decisions, particularly when they include unfavorable relationships with your children. You second-guess if you were too harsh when we shouted at them earlier, whether you could have managed that tantrum better, or if you gave them the proper punishment. Every parent, on the other hand, has those times when they lose their cool. In a moment of irritation or misunderstanding, you’ve all made less-than-ideal parenting decisions. To assist explain what's genuinely worth worrying about, two mental health professionals gave recommendations on how to recognize the indicators of what we'll label "poor parenting" and the impact it may have on a kid.
“I miss my family, I miss not getting beat up every time I talk about my emotions or ideas, I miss having a father figure, I miss having a single place to call home and I miss not feeling lost” conveyed a 16-year-old teenager. What they said was heartbreaking, and parents not being aware of how it makes them feel, or ignoring it, is absolutely pathetic. In my personal opinion, I consider this neglect and some sort of mental abuse. Children require treatment that promotes good emotional health and well-being and supports their general mental health, including the capacity to cope with stressful situations, regulate emotional arousal, conquer anxieties, and accept disappointments and frustrations. Parents and other caregivers are important resources for children in terms of controlling emotional arousal, coping, and behavior management. They fulfill this function by delivering positive affirmations, expressing love and respect, and instilling a sense of security. Parental support lowers the likelihood of internalizing behaviors, such as those linked with anxiety and depression, which can hinder children's adjustment and ability to perform successfully at home, school, and in the community.
“My dad has been a huge support since the day I was born. He never let anyone near me say anything that could hurt me. of course, now it’s harder for him to do this because he barely knows what I do who I’m friends with, and everything, but I do notice the huge effort he puts in just to make sure his kids are safe. As for my mom, I have no idea how someone can raise four kids, take care of a house and work all at the same time. My mom can be described as an actual superhero. the challenges she faced when I was younger are indescribable”. What this teenager said is how every child is supposed to feel about their parents, they should see them as “superheroes”, and never fear them.
Connect with your child. When you tune in to your kids, you're sending them the message that they matter, that they're important, that they're cherished, and that they're worth your time. Connection is just as important to you as it is to your children since it is what makes parenting worthwhile.