Youth Have So Many Influencers
but among them all, you—as a parent or caregiver—are time and again found as having the most influence. In fact, healthy bonding and attachment between parent and child is one of the biggest factors preventing behavioral health issues like underage drinking. drug use, depression, and anxiety.
Parents Lead is a North Dakota-based program offering research-based information, tools and resources to help you promote the behavioral health of your child. No matter your child’s age, you make a difference in their life by looking, listening and loving. Parenting is never perfect but by practicing these three simple things we are making more of a difference than we may think!
By being involved and monitoring your child early on, it will be easier to continue to do so as they get older. They will also get used to it and come to expect it from you. It’s as simple as just being present with them. By paying attention to their behaviors, understanding their needs, and encouraging them during all times, it will help build a trusting relationship. Eat dinner as a family, or set aside quality time. Find out what interests them and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Simply be present.
One of the most effective ways to promote positive behavioral health in your home is by having ongoing conversations with your child. These conversations can be about the little things and the big things. Communication strengthens the bond between you and your child. Making time to ask them about their life and feelings will remind them that you are always there. And most importantly, be a good listener.
Children need to know and feel that they are loved and valued. They may not always listen to your words, but they will always remember your actions and how you made them feel. Children need to feel this in different ways at different ages. By praising them when they show desirable behaviors such as helping around the house, being kind to others, or getting a good score in school, you will help create physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy children.
Parents Lead also offer professionals who work directly with children, parents and families to provide a wide variety of information on recognizing the signs and symptoms of behavioral health concerns, prevention and early intervention strategies, treatment and recovery services, and other resources.
- Initiate conversation by sharing what you have been thinking about rather than beginning a conversation with a question.
Be available for your children
- Notice times when your kids are most likely to talk-for example, at bedtime, before dinner, in the car-and be available.
- Start the conversation; it lets your kids know you care about what’s happening in their lives.
- Find time each week for a one-on-one activity with each child, and avoid scheduling other activities during that time.
- Learn about your children’s interest-for example, favorite music and activities-and show interest in them.
35.1% of ND middle school students report feeling sad or hopeless (almost every day for 2 weeks or more in a row during the past year)”
36% of ND high school students report feeling sad or hopeless (almost every day for 2 weeks or more in a row during the past year)”