Saturday, April 1, 2023

Supporting parents for better mental health

Parenting is an important part of family and mental health work because parenting is of course, a common stressor for most, if not all families with children.

The trouble is, parenting is often one of the hardest thing in the world but yet, we get the least training in.

So here are a few principles to consider as Family Doctors. 

1. Parenting is a balance between connection and discipline. Too much focus on connection without the discipline can be chaotic. Too much focus on rules/discipline without the connection can lead to rebellion. The balance is different for different children, and different in different context. It can be an “intuitive dance” so not easy….

2. Beware of the accidental rewards where we reward an unhelpful behaviour due to time pressure or due to escalation avoidance. What we reward, will continue. #TripleP

3. Avoid the escalation trap because in escalation, the child may unconsciously learn that my parent is not serious until they escalate, and the parent may unconsciously learn that my child will not listen until I escalate. In this pattern, escalation will probably continue. #TripleP

4. Pay attention to the helpful behaviours. Ignore the unhelpful behaviours unless it’s unsafe.

5. The feeling mind doesn’t usually listen to logic very well especially when emotive so avoid over reasoning/debating.

6. Parents to work complementary with each other like ”double tennis”. Not against each other.

7. Consistent rewards help with initiating a behaviour. Intermittent rewards are better at maintaining them.

8. Last on this list, manage our own emotional hygeine as parents because emotions are very contagious. So take care of ourselves. Oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can look after many others.

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