I am so excited to finally share with you the first episode of our Margins series, ‘Conversations on Creating Space’. The first instalment of the series is all about building positive mental health, particularly in our children. In this episode I met with Child Therapist and Researcher, Symantha Molloy to discuss some practical tips on how we as parents can contribute to the positive mental health of our kids.
When it comes to margins in our mental health, it’s all about creating room for something positive. Sym, who works in the space of positive psychology, works with children and young people to look at how they can create space and a buffer against mental illness.
While this conversation focuses primarily on the mental health of our children, there are some really great lessons for everyone. Of course if you are looking for more resources about mental health, check out Beyond Blue or Headspace.
You can check out Episode 1 below!
I have made a brief overview of our discussion below but I also really encourage you to take some time to sit down, grab a cuppa and your partner, and check out the full conversation.
Sym’s 3 Key Take Homes to helping our children build positive mental health are :
This is the ability to understand our emotional state and be able to express this in a healthy way. In the interview we discuss teaching our kids to understand their emotions through conversation and visual posters on the wall (i.e. pictures of happy, sad, angry, confused faces that your child can point to when they are feeling a certain way). Not only does this encourage our kids to acknowledge how they are feeling but gives us as parents an opportunity to open a discussion about it too.
Once there is an understanding of how we can acknowledge and express our emotions, the next step is to learn to self regulate behaviour. In the interview, we again talk about utilising an open dialogue or the same visuals on the wall (this time, including ideas below each emotion on ways we can respond to that particular feeling).
This is all about building positive emotions and habits that again, buffer our kids against mental health. In the interview, we discuss modelling gratitude and empathy and why this can be helpful in not only building positive mental health but also deepening our connection with our children.
One Bonus Tip You Can Implement Today!
To wrap up the interview, I asked Sym what would be one thing we could do, as parents, today to help build positive mental health in our children. Sym’s bonus tip was to listen to our kids, to hear them and to make sure they feel heard. We discussed how listening can strengthen our relationships with our children, help us get to know them better as people, and show them that they can come to us when they aren’t feeling that great.
I really hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did and I can’t wait to share the next episode on creating space in our physical health in the coming weeks.
Resources Mentioned in the Interview:
You can also check out all of the resources Sym mentions below: