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Why Parents Need to Focus on Their Mental Health and Confidence, Too

Parenting can be a joyous experience, and the love we share with our children can create some of the best experiences of our lives. However, there are times we, as parents, may feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. If we don't prioritize our mental health, we won't be able to care for our children effectively.

Think About How Your Mental Health Affects Your Children's Mental Health

Whether we realize it or not, our mental health affects our children's mental health. Our children look to us to feel loved, safe, and secure. According to TalkSpace, 20% of working U.S. adults have mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, or insomnia. Even if we try to hide our mental health challenges, our children can sense them.

Consider How Self-Confidence Affects Our Parenting

Some parents take the negative feelings they have about their appearances and allow those feelings to undermine their self-confidence. For example, dads who are balding (as approximately 85% of men tend to do by the age of 50) may consider this a challenge to their masculinity and allow those feelings to affect the ways they interact with their children. If those dads could talk through those feelings with a therapist, they might be able to develop better coping skills, which could, in turn, improve their parenting skills.

Take Time for Self-Care and Reflection

One of the most important things we can do to improve our mental health is to take a few minutes each day for ourselves. Find a few minutes where you focus on self-care. Whether you retreat to the bathroom with a magazine or take a walk around the block, find some time when you can sit with your feelings.

During those minutes, try to analyze your feelings. Writing in a journal can help, as journaling can be a means to unlock your inner thoughts and identify the source of your stress. Self-reflection can be an opportunity to identify things we may need to improve and to explore ways we might improve them.

Get Professional Help When Needed

If you've noticed patterns of negative thinking and feeling, it may be time to seek professional help for your mental health. A mental health counselor can support people with depression and anxiety, but they also help people with everyday problems like handling your kids' messy rooms without losing their temper. Sometimes, just having someone to listen to you will enable you to sort through your thoughts.

One attribute that is valuable for parents to build is confidence. Parents who feel confident in themselves are best able to transfer that confidence to their parenting. A study recently done by the Parent Researching Centre showed that one in 10 parents don't feel confident in their skills as parents. The same study showed that those parents who didn't feel confident spent less time reading to or playing with their children. By reaching out for help, parents will be able to deal with mental health challenges and add confidence to their list of positive attributes.

Consider How Physical Health Affects Our Mental Health

Our physical health affects our mental health, too. When we focus on serving nutritious meals, drinking enough water, participating in moderate exercise, and getting enough sleep, we'll find ourselves feeling better physically. Dental problems can also affect our overall health, so parents should set an example by getting annual dental checkups and taking care of their teeth every day. If the dentist finds you have alignment problems and recommends braces, you'll be among the one million adults wearing braces – so don't feel alone!

There are many reasons people have mental health challenges, and these problems can affect the way you care for your children. Take some time for yourself and focus on the positive aspects of your life. Reach out for help when you realize you need it, and you'll be glad you did.


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