Why you need to treat mental health challenges as parents

Most parents are not aware that their mental health has an impact on their child’s behavior in the first 8 years of their life. So often most adults are undergoing some mental health issues. These are caused by their own upbringing and the different challenges they have experienced. This has an adverse effect on how you may respond to your children. When the response is negative it promotes instability. If this is not attended to, your child might carry it through into their adulthood and it just becomes an unending cycle of mental health disorders.

Parents experience these type of Mental Health Challenges

1) Depression and Postpartum Depression

Does the mental health of parents affect the children?

Postpartum depression is experienced by up to 80% of mothers straight after giving birth. The symptoms include irritability, weepiness, fatigue, and overall sadness. If untreated it can have a very long-lasting impact on her family.

There is Post Partum Depression that men also undergo at some stage. In most instances, women internalize their sadness and fear. Whilst men who come across as angry, aggressive, and irritable could also be suffering from postpartum depression especially just after childbirth.

2) Anxiety Disorder

Does the mental health of parents affect the children?

Anxiety disorders are also very common mental health issues experienced by parents. Worry is experienced by adults, it is often amplified once those adults become parents. The reality is the world can be very unkind so it’s normal for parents to worry about the safety of their children. Male parents can become anxious about how they need to provide for their children. Women can be anxious about being a good mother to their children and being a single mother having to raise her children by herself. All these anxious thoughts can cloud the parent’s decision-making and hinder the healthy upbringing of the child.

3) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

People with OCD start to imagine greater and greater probabilities that the things they fear might actually happen, despite the true probability of their happening. For a parent that is now responsible for a helpless child, the disorder can be experienced as a result of and desire to keep harm away from the child. It could lead to incessant cleanliness habits, repetitive phrasing or actions, mental compulsions, and more.

How untreated mental health disorders impact your children:

Does the mental health of parents affect the children?

  • They may become anti-social from a very young age
  • The academic performance of your child could decrease
  • Childhood/Adolescent Mental Health Disorders
  • Increase Risk of Substance Abuse

If you may be aware that you are facing some mental health challenges, seek professional help. It will benefit you and your children. Also just take some time and be mindful of every moment you spend with your child. This will help you pick up on any unhealthy emotional and behavioral patterns that your child could be experiencing. If you suspect there could be something deeper going on, seek professional help.

If you are in South Africa there’s an organization known as the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. They are willing to offer support on mental health challenges.

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