Parenthood is nothing if not a slew of challenges, and as your children grow older those challenges will undoubtably include some serious conversations. Discussing mental health is one of those discussions, and the need to talk to our kids about their mental wellbeing is arguably more important than ever before. Knowing how to talk to your child about mental health isn't innate, though, which is why Romper asked moms who've already had this discussion to share their tips and tricks with the rest of us.
I’ve spent most of my life struggling with anxiety, and after two traumatic birth experiences and the loss of my daughter I’ve also battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. I’d love to say that once I had my son I was able to put all my issues behind me and just focus on him, but that's not how mental health works. So my son has seen me on good days — which, thankfully, are most days — and he’s seen me on bad days. He knows that there are times when mom will be sad, or won't necessarily have the energy to take him to the park or read him a bedtime story.
So while my son isn't old enough to know or understand the technical words or definitions for certain mental health issues, he does understand that sometimes people struggle with their feelings and what’s going on in their minds. He knows that some people need medicine and someone to talk to in order to feel better. Our discussions about mental health have always remained age-appropriate, so as he gets older I will better describe this issues with him so he, too, can put a name to a feeling.
Every parent, and every child, is different and, as a result, may need a different approach to these types of discussions. So with that in mind, here's how the following moms explained mental health to their children: