A pre-schooler wakes up saying “NO” for the school, but parents prepare him for the school without getting to the reason behind “NO”. A primary school child comes back home with lengthy un-weaved stories of friends and teachers, but might be, he finds his mom busy in laptop or household chores.
A lively teenager suddenly becomes silent, lost, and depressed, but parents could not manage time to understand his challenges. It does not mean that all the parents remain oblivion of their child’s need to talk and express, but, of course, there is a rising distance between the parents and the children in recent times. Lack of communication, suppression of thoughts, and loneliness is giving rise to a number of mental health issues among children.
“Feel and acknowledge the gap in communication. When we try to acknowledge it, we try to find the solution for it.”
Shocking facts about youth depression in India
Loneliness is, both, the cause and effect of depression. A lonely child becomes introvert and a hesitant adult who find it difficult to cope up with unfulfilled aspirations. Seeking help for himself gets even tougher. Aftermath is depression.
- 36% of Indians are likely to experience major depression sometime in their life.
- Every hour, one student commits suicide in India according to the 2015 data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
- Childhood depression in India varies between 0.8% to 1.2%.
Parents even fail to recognize that their child is a victim of depression. It’s a wake-up time! Talk and listen!
Why you should listen to your child?
Children learn from their parents. When you listen to them, they listen to you. When you understand them, they understand your points. It builds trust, confidence and stronger bond in your relationship that lasts. When your child knows you are there for him, his self-esteem grows making him strong to face the world, its blessings and adversities.
How to make your child talk to you?
Listening to your child holds a lot of importance. But it is equally difficult to make your child open up. Here are a few things you should practice to make your child comfortable so that he or she can communicate better with you.
- Encourage your child to open-up: Pick topics of his interest or routine.
- Be patient while your child tries to put his thoughts even if it is taking no shape.
- Respond sensibly, no matter what he says is right or wrong.
- Study the body language of the child to understand the things he is not able to express.
- Be present physically and mentally; don’t lose a single talk. Your work, phone, and guests can wait.
- Show interest in listening so that the child finds it interesting to share his thoughts. Keep your mind open.
Not listening to your child? You might be making a mistake
If you think your child has grown up and has friends to share his things, you might be doing a mistake. A child who never gets heard, becomes the one who never listens. So, the way you interact, your tone, your choice of words, and your attitude towards him will shape the way he behaves and talks. When you don’t interact, appreciate, or criticize, he feels that he is not worthy of your time and attention. This is further detrimental for this growth as an adult. He losses his confidence, self-esteem and grows up as a child who loves being alone. In adversities of life, such children get depressed and broken easily.
Everyday Tips on talking and listening to your child
Earning the confidence of a child is a daunting task. Here are a few tips that will help you get closer to the child and have a quality talk with him.
- Set aside a fix time to talk. Either go for a walk or have some play time when you can talk freely.
- Put yourself in your child’s shoes. This will keep your mind open to be receptive of anything coming from your child’s mind.
- Have patience and do not respond in a hurry. Let your child finish before giving your views. Interruption will stop your child from expressing further.
- Refrain from lecturing, rather open scope for discussion. You would get to know your child’s thoughts.
- Talk in child-friendly language. In a flow, you might use words or slangs that your child would not be able to comprehend. Be cautious of it.
- Sound interested in the conversation. Maintain eye contact, question, and comment wherever needed.
- Try to solve problems positively. Don’t get angry, frustrated, abusive or judgemental.
When to worry?
A healthy and lively child might get abnormally calm and depressed. There could be many reasons behind it. Even after your numerous efforts, if your child does not communicate and display irritation, frustration, anxiety, irritability, and aggressiveness in behaviour, you should consider taking a medical help. In Such cased, visit a child psychologist near you for the right information & advice.
Always remember, parents are the first teachers and friends of a child. At every age of your child, your role changes and getting along with the changing demand will keep the bond stronger between you and your child. A strong and committed parent beside a child means a lot. Listen to your child! Be there for him always!