It runs deeper than you think

Our children’s mental health

Photo by Antonio Alcántara on Unsplash

“You’re a terrible father!”

“A good mother would…”

We are open to many criticisms in our lives, but the ones that affect us the most are the ones we have been labelled by our close family and friends.

As a parent, you have many labels to adhere to; teacher, cook, cleaner, psychologist, manager. pfft! The list goes on. But we do all of this in order for our children to live a better life than we have.

As parents we do not seem to be permitted to get tired, we are not allowed to sit down, we are not allowed our children to express their personalities, we are not allowed to be ill, this will be labelled as “bad parenting”. And all of this negative thinking can happen when we are living in a situation where criticisms are a daily occurrence, a normal habit.

We are meant to adhere to everything that our child wants, discipline them if they run around, tell them to be quiet at all hours of the day just to appease others and show them, that we are “good parents”.

So as we trudge on and do everything to please others, little do owe know that our own mental health is put at risk and so are our children’s. These everyday criticisms start to play a part in how we think and our own sense of worth.

It is these criticisms that can have a direct effect on our children, especially if they are expressed in front of them. And it is these criticisms which can start to affect our children’s thoughts towards their parents.

Now I understand that it will take more than one instance or situation for a child to develop thoughts which may stay with him/her for the rest of their lives, but I also understand that once is enough and one comment is all it will take for those thoughts to be engraved.

How do you know whether your child is being affected may be hard. If you have no experience with children whatsoever (like me), it can be hard to see. But when I moved away from that situation, the difference was incredible.


The important skill that you must have to be a parent, is to observe your child. It is to be able to distinguish your child’s behaviour in certain situations. Now this is not easy, it took me the best part of two years to distinguish the different cries of my eldest when he was a baby. You just have to do your best. Or start giving him/her anything you think he might want; his favourite toy, a nap, a boob or bottle?

If you start to observe, not just your child, but the environment from the beginning, you will be able to see patterns that start to emerge. These patterns do not necessarily have to be focused on your child, but the environment that surrounds him/her and how it affects him/her. This can be incredibly difficult if you are still in the same environment as when your little one was born. Difficult in the sense; you won’t necessarily know how your child will respond in a different surrounding.

The cycle of a particular pattern may start to present itself slyly, in different situations, but the end result will always be the same. You do not want to get to the end. You need to be able to stop the cycle as this type of behaviour can lead through generations and will be passed onto our children, especially if they associate it with being the norm.

If you read the article above, you probably noticed that I tried everything in my power to be able to provide my children with a positive mental attitude. This is what will push them to be happy adults.

Many may not feel that what happens in front of your children will affect them, but unless you take them away from that situation, you won’t be able to see the change, until it is too late.

When I took one of the biggest decisions in my life, I realised just how much my children were affected.

It is important that when you notice the pattern of behaviour, to stop it the best way you can, as you will be the one that will be responsible for the generations to follow.