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October 21 2021 10:12 PM ˚

A manual for Jordanian parents: How to raise well-adjusted adults

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(Photo: Jordan News)
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AMMAN — Every parent loves and cherishes their children and is worried for their current and future health and happiness. Sometimes, however, the combination of love and fear for our children, in addition to the daily stressors a parent faces, can cause things to get out of control.اضافة اعلان

How do parents cope, when they’re not even handed a manual, a book, or even an app that tells you how to deal with and raise your child?

Children’s mental health is an aspect of parenting that is often overlooked of misunderstood. How easy it is to adversely impact children’s personalities and mental development and, as a consequence, their future? Conversely, what are some simple ways parents and children can be better people, build stronger relationships, and secure a successful future?

“It is important to acknowledge a child's progress and to make it clear to the child that all emotions and thoughts are acceptable, but not all behaviors are acceptable,” Abdallah Abuadas, a consultant psychiatrist, told Jordan News.

Caring for a child’s mental health helps them build positive social, emotional, and communicational skills. It can also pave the way for greater resilience in adulthood, according to Medibank, an Australia-based integrated healthcare company. In Jordan, some parents consider “tough love” a way to build their children’s resilience. Neglect, yelling, and downplaying a child’s emotions, and mild to severe emotional and physical abuse are used to “educate” the child how to think and behave in life. “Children learn by observation, and they imitate these observations.” Abuadas said.

With the help of Medibank and Dr Abuadas, here are some tips on how to care for your child’s mental health and help them grow in to a healthy, successful, resilient, and socially well-adjusted adult:

1. Nurture your relationship

Tell your child that you love them, no matter how challenging their behavior. That will go a long way. Hug them as a form of praise for good behavior. Make time in the day to talk to them, even when you’re busy. Engage in activities that your child enjoys, like playing outside or watching their favorite show, or reading their favorite book, Medibank recommends.

“Psychosocial parenting is much more important than the physical parenting. Parents need to have quality time with children,” Abuadas said.

2. Help your children connect

Encourage your children, without pressuring them, to develop and foster social relationships outside the family. This will give them a stronger sense of how they fit in to the world and help them to relate to others better, Medibank said.

“Promote detachment and building meaningful social relationships with the closer and wider community,” Abuadas said.

3. Talk it out

Help your child recognize their own voice and emotions, ask about and check on them, especially if they are frustrated. For example, you can tell them, “I know it is frustrating when you want to do something but you can’t. I understand how you feel. Also, how does it make you feel when we can’t go to the park right away?” Medibank suggests.

Dr Abuadas said that communicating with your child and giving them your undivided attention and addressing their needs is very important, but unfortunately is often an absent component in parent child relations.

4. Set a good example

As mentioned earlier, children learn by observing their parents, family, and environment. To raise a healthy adult, a parent has to be an example that shows them how to healthily manage your emotions, according to Medibank.

“Be careful about your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Teach your children how to control their emotions by demonstrating self-management first,” Dr Abuadas said.

5. Set boundaries

Help your child to understand social rules and their consequences by having a clear and consistent set of family rules to follow. This will help your child feel safe and secure, Medibank said. “Parents should discuss boundaries,” Dr Abuadas said.

6. Manage expectations

Make your child aware that hardship and not getting what they wanted is a part of life, give them an example of how to deal with their frustrations by talking about your past experiences or theirs. Show them that they managed to survive and move on from an earlier hardship and can do so again. For example: “Remember when you found it scary to start a new school? And now you loved it?” Hold back, try taking a step back rather than rushing in to help your child, Medibank said.

All the above techniques will help you and your child reach the behavioral goals you aspire to, and you will have a strong connection with each other and a healthy family. However, Medibank advises parents to seek a professional psychologist or psychiatrist if have you tried all the above and still noticed something like:

● Unusual sadness, hopelessness, and fears
● Unusual sleep patterns
● Avoiding friends, family, or school regularly
● Noticing hyperactive behavior that goes beyond regular play
● Distress or decline in school performance
● Difficulties with concentration, attention, or organization
● Any significant behavioral changes over a short time period

Always remember, there is nothing wrong if you or your child need support because, as we mentioned earlier, no one is handed the manual on how to be the perfect parent. Always remember that no one is perfect, but that anyone can reach the ideal situation with love, communication, and consistency.

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