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Psychologist highlights crucial сonversations parents must have with children

Psychologist highlights crucial сonversations parents must have with children Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

Parents should talk to their children about important topics. Understanding that a person with mental disorders is, first of all, a human being, and the ability to communicate with different people is an important skill that shapes tolerance, according to the website of the medical community Take Care of Yourself.

Why it's necessary to talk to children about tolerance

Child psychiatrist Yuliana Maslak explained how to discuss sensitive communication with children regarding individuals with mental disorders.

According to her, children do not have fully formed moral values, ethical principles, personal boundaries, and self-regulation. Therefore, authoritative adult figures can help children develop these aspects and approach the needs of each child with sensitivity.

We are all different, but this is not a reason to condemn those who are different from you.

It's essential to understand that mental health is as crucial as physical health. Impulsivity is just as much a characteristic as eye color or height.

A common situation is when a person has a tendency to an anxiety disorder inherited from one of the parents. While close family members can cope with and advise on the peculiarities and behavior, the environment may not be as understanding. As a result, conflicts arise.

How to teach children to be sensitive

Tolerance is the ability to relate to others with understanding, respect, and patience. It is crucial to teach children from an early age not to judge others, not to fear people with anxiety and depressive disorders.

The expert recommends explaining to children that society's stereotypical thinking sometimes forces people to try to meet highly conditional criteria, depriving them of their individuality.

Why it's important to talk to children about people with mental disorders:

  • We break stereotypes and help children understand that it is a normal part of diversity.
  • Tolerance and acceptance: talking teaches children to be tolerant and accept people regardless of their mental state.
  • Emotional development: learning about this topic helps develop emotional intelligence and understand the emotions of others.

Mental disorders are stereotypically associated with sadness, confusion, and grief. In reality, these individuals do not need sympathy; they seek respect, normal societal acceptance, and a space for active living.

It's essential to explain to the child that this is not something frightening or dangerous. It merely means that people have different ways of reacting to the world around them.

How to explain to children:

  • Avoid using words like "suffers," "ill," or "victim" when talking about health issues in people. It's crucial to eliminate euphemisms:
    • Replace "people of the rain" with "people with autistic spectrum disorder."
    • Replace "sunny people" with "people with Down syndrome."
    • Replace "special people" with "people with disabilities."
    • Replace "anorexic" with "a person with neurogenic anorexia."

Setting an example in communicating with people with mental disorders begins with our own perceptions and attitudes toward them. Promoting a positive attitude within the family on this issue can be a key step in raising tolerant and open-minded individuals.

Create a safe space where you can discuss these topics together.

It's necessary to dispel stereotypes and learn to react sensitively:

  • Teach children to actively listen to others, show care and understanding.
  • A person with a mental disorder is, first and foremost, an individual, so interaction with them should be appropriate.
  • People with mental disorders are not prone to violence.
  • People with mental disorders have intelligence levels and an ability to understand, similar to the majority of people.
  • If a person with a mental disorder feels sad, calmly ask how you can help.

Teach patience and politeness

The expert says that if you see someone struggling, wait until the person is ready to talk and approach them with respect.

Teach to listen with understanding

When someone talks about their feelings, it's important not just to listen but to understand how important it may be for them.

Be open to questions

Encourage children to ask questions and show interest in other people. For example, if your child sees that their friend does something differently, let them ask why.

Show children how to provide support to others

If you notice someone is worried, offer help, share your time, or simply let them know that you are here and ready to help.

These tips can be used as a basis for introducing the concepts of sensitive communication with people with mental disorders in a way that is accessible and understandable to children.

Earlier, we reported on 5 simple signs that you have a healthy relationship with your parents in adulthood.