"Empty children" - Dr. Luis Rochas Marcos, Psychiatrist

family Children, MENTAL HEALTH

There is a silent tragedy unfolding in our homes today that concerns our most precious jewels: our children. Our children are in a catastrophic emotional state! For the past 15 years, researchers have provided us with statistics that are becoming increasingly worrying about the sharp and persistent increase in childhood mental illness that has now reached epidemic proportions:

Statistics are not false:

• 1 in 5 children has mental health problems
• there was an increase of 43% in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
There was a 37% increase in adolescent depression
• There was a 200% increase in the number of child (between 10 and 14 years) suicides

What happens and what do we do wrong?

Today's children are overstimulated and full of material gifts, but lack the basics for a healthy childhood, such as:
• emotionally available parents
• Clearly set boundaries
• responsibilities
• balanced diet and adequate sleep
• movement in general, especially. But in the countryside
• creative play, social interaction, opportunities for non-guided play and "opportunities" to get bored

On the contrary, in recent years the children are fed up with:

• parents with their attention distracted by digital technology
• lenient and permissive parents who let their children "rule the world" and set the rules
• a sense of rights, of being worth it all without earning it or becoming responsible as soon as they get it
• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced diet
• sedentary lifestyle
• endless excitement, technological nannies, immediate reward and absence of boring moments

What to do;

If we want our children to become happy and healthy, we must wake up and get back to basics. It is still possible! Many families saw an immediate improvement a few weeks after implementing the following recommendations:
• Set boundaries and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you are in control of the rudder
• Offer children a balanced lifestyle, full of what children NEED, not what they WANT. Do not be afraid to say "no" to your children if what they want is not what they need
• Give them nutritious food and limit junk food
• Spend at least an hour a day in the fresh air with activities such as: cycling, walking, fishing, bird / insect watching
• Enjoy a family dinner every day without distracting smartphones or technology
• Play board games with the whole family or, if the children are too young for board games, let them get carried away by their interests and let them be the ones to guide the game.
• Involve your children in some of the activities or homework according to their age (folding clothes, arranging their toys, spreading clothes, unpacking food, setting the table, feeding dog etc)
Establish a consistent bedtime routine to make sure your child gets enough sleep. Hours will be even more important for school-age children.
• Teach responsibility and independence. Do not overprotect them from any frustration or mistake. Making mistakes will help them develop resilience and learn to overcome life's challenges.
• Do not make your child's bag, do not carry it to them, do not give them the job they forgot, do not peel the banana or orange, if they can do it themselves (4-5 years old). Instead of giving them fish, teach them to fish.
• Teach them to wait and postpone satisfaction.
• Give opportunities for "boredom", since boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. Do not feel responsible for entertaining children all the time.
• Do not use technology as a cure for boredom, or offer it to them at the first opportunity of inaction.
• Avoid using technology on the table, in the car, in restaurants, in shopping malls. Use these moments as opportunities for socialization, thus training their brain to know how to function when they are in a state of "boredom".
• Help them make a "boredom jar" with ideas for activities when they are bored.
• Be emotionally available to "connect" with your child and teach them self-regulation and social skills.
• Turn off phones at night when children need to go to bed to avoid digital distractions.
• Become an emotional regulator or coach for your children. Teach them to recognize and manage their frustration or anger.
• Teach them to greet, change roles, share without empty hands, say "thank you" and "please", admit their mistakes and apologize (do not force it), and be the role model all these values ​​you want to convey ..
• Connect emotionally - smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, play or crawl with them.

Article by Dr. Luis Rochas Marcos, Psychiatrist

Source: madresabia (Facebook), January 4th.