Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Bhave Institute of Mental Health



As important as it is to acknowledge the presence of mental health problems in children and adolescents, parents and teachers need to know ways of improving their mental health. Prevention is always better than cure and some of the things we will discuss also have corrective value.

  • Working with failures

As parents, our first instinct is to protect a child from any unpleasant experiences, including failure. But in life, failure is the greatest teacher. Instead of protecting a child from failure, we should encourage him to learn from it, using it as a stepping stone to better himself.  Any activity the child undertakes should be effort focused and not result oriented. It is also very important to have realistic expectations of children. This avoids putting undue pressure on them and undermining their sense of confidence. Focus on strengths of the child and avoid comparing him to others which is a sure shot way of pulling down his confidence. A better way to motivate is to provide a role model who the child would want to emulate.

It is important to ‘practice’ optimism with your child. The child should be able to find positive aspects of situations. This goes a long way in developing psychological resilience later in life. It also equips the child with a solution-oriented approach rather than a problem-oriented approach.


  • Relationship with parents

The most important relationship children have in early life is one with parents. It is imperative for parents to spend meaningful time with children. This means having meaningful conversations about what is going on in each other’s lives, sharing experiences or having laughs together. Screens should be avoided when trying to connect with children. Inadvertently, parents keep getting distracted by devices even in children’s presence.

Parents are the first teachers and children often learn what they see. Model behaviour that you would want your child to learn. For e.g., if you want your child to be a reader, make sure the child sees you spending time reading and enjoying it. Talk to children about the difficulties you face and how to solve them.

Be vocal in your appreciation of your child. A very wise person once said “praise in public and scold in private”. A parent’s voice often becomes the child’s inner voice later in life. Disciplining a child should be done by being consistent in the approach, sticking to the issue at hand and by not labelling or being punitive.

Home should be perceived as a safe space by the child. The most important thing to ensure with a child is that he should know channels of communication are always open.


  • Lifestyle

Encourage habits that will stand the child in good stead later in life too. Inculcate interest in a sport or any form of exercise with emphasis on regularity. It is extremely important to keep the child away from screens as much as possible. Encourage the child to read different books as a way to foster imagination, learning etc


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