Do’s and don’ts for parents: securing better mental health for your children

Written by Pragya Lodha
Published: September 10, 2021
The Mumbai Program Director & Clinical Psychologist at The MINDS Foundation. Honorary Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Mental Health with over 100 National and International publications

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There are several factors that impact a child’s mental health status, both positively and negatively. Providing children with an environment conducive of love, compassion, trust, and understanding coming from people they depend and trust on, greatly impacts a child. It allows them to build on these stepping stones to have a productive lifestyle.

However, many children do not receive that type of lifestyle though due to various reasons and circumstances. Some children have to deal with a childhood that is filled with angst, resentment, hatred, distrust, and constant negativity. They have a difficult time coping with their emotions. It is a difficult process for any person, let alone a child, to overcome such adversity but being proactive and doing the best in one’s capacity can help the child to go towards better mental health.

Some children may also be born with mental health issues. This happens as a result of the genetic factors that the child receives from the parents and the environment in which the child is brought up. For example: if out of the two parents, one parent has a mental illness, the genetic material of that parent is also passed on to the child. If the child is born in an unstable environment, the chances of the child developing mental illness are higher.

However, if the child is taken care of and provided extra care and support, then the chance of the child developing the mental health problem lessens. It is important to remember that there can be several other reasons along with the parenting style and upbringing of the child that can contribute to the development of an illness in a child (socio-economic condition, peer influence, family structure, schooling, personality of the child).

Research has demonstrated that children with mental illnesses, if left untreated, are likely to grow up with poor patterns of behaviour and emotional management and are also likely to repeat these same behaviours with their children. As a result, these children develop lower self-worth, negative feelings, perform poorly in school, and later become involved in unhealthy lifestyle decisions.

It is the parental support, school support and counselling that can help children resolve these issues and become more fulfilling and productive individuals – so let’s learn more about how to secure better mental health for your children!

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What To Do To Promote Your Child’s Mental Health:

  1. Spend quality time with your child in whatever way they most enjoy
  2. Educate them: send them to a school that cares about their students wellbeing
  3. Have open and honest conversations with them about sensitive topics
  4. But also give them their space as and when they need it
  5. Encourage good behaviour and compliment their best qualities
  6. Show them how to take care of their physical health by eating and sleeping well, as well as exercising
  7. Encourage them to social play with other children to develop skills, identity and confidence
  8. Set boundaries and limitations to give them a dependable structure
  9. Allow them to make some level of decisions about their own life
  10. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional for more help


Author: Pragya Lodha, MINDS Mumbai Program Director & Psychologist


Ankita Gupta, MINDS Research Associate
Anoushka Thakkar, MINDS Research Associate
Roshni Dadlani, MINDS Communications Lead


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