It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of children and parents.
In a 2020 survey, 71% of parents said that the pandemic hurting a child’s mental healthThe American Academy of Pediatrics declared A national emergency in child mental health In October 2021, it cites a “surge” rate of child mental health challenges.
In 2022, the Biden administration will develop a comprehensive strategy to promised a substantial amountThis includes US$300 million secured through bipartisan agreements and a national response to the children’s mental health crisis through multiple sources.
What is often missing from this national conversation, however, is the importance of recognizing the mental health of parents and their impact on the mental health of their children. Decades of research clearly show that the mental health of parents and their children are closely linked.
As Child and Family Development Assistant Professor The research Parenting and Child Mental HealthI often see the mental health of parents or other caregivers in the parental role such as grandparents or foster parents overlooked when trying to support the mental health of children. Until the gap is closed, efforts to address the mental health crisis among children and teens will likely fall short.
How the Pandemic Affects Parents
Research by multiple researchers, including my group, shows that parents report a surprisingly high rate of mental health problems. During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In my own work on this subject, In the 2021 survey, 34% of parents Reported increased anxiety symptomsand about 28% of them reported symptoms of depression of clinical concern.
These proportions were similar to other reports, suggesting that parents had higher levels of mental health needs. before the pandemicIn 2020 and 2021, research on the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of parents and children dominated, so it is not yet clear whether mental health needs have decreased as the pandemic has waned.
delivery of pain
A parent’s psychological health is important in and of itself, as parents are often stressed and need support.But research shows that parental happiness closely related to one’s child. Parents with mental health issues Often there are children with mental health issues. vice versa.
This interaction is complex and diverse, involving both genetic and environmental factors such as exposure to stress and trauma. Parental well-being has a direct impact on the overall structure and function of the home environment. For example, it affects the quality of daily life and the relationship between parents and children.
For example, when parents experience depression, they often express negative emotions such as anger and frustration towards their children. Also, the consistency of discipline is low, less involved in parent-child relationshipsChildren also suffer as a result of these stresses at home. develop depression and other challengessuch as anxiety and behavioral problems.
Children of parents with high levels of anxiety are at risk of both anxiety and depression, which are themselves related. attention deficit/hyperactivity disorderADHD is also known to be highly heritable.In one study, about 50% of children with ADHD had had a parent with ADHD.
parent’s mental health amount of stress They are experiencing financial hardship, inadequate parenting, and conflicting pressures from work and home.when parents are social support from family, friends and community or school systemstudies show they are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Parental therapy helps children too
In a recent review of parental depression, researchers found that children receiving mental health care many parents with depression, and in many cases the depression of parents is untreated. Importantly, the review also found that when parents were treated for depression and saw their depression symptoms improve, their children had less psychiatric symptoms and improved overall functioning. It also concluded that treatment of mental health challenges in parents and children is rarely integrated.
But there’s a new approach to tying the two together. Pediatric primary careAlthough this approach to identifying and treating mental conditions is new, research shows promise in simultaneously reducing depressive symptoms in both parents and children.
Parents have busy schedules, lack of financial resources, prejudice against mental health care, or Shortage of mental health providers, children are also at risk for mental health problems. Conversely, Parents receive evidence-based mental health care, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.children also benefit.
According to research, family-based approach Support for mental health care considering parents’ needs, family situation and parent-child relationship both children and their parents.
put parents first
Often times, parents feel that what they perceive as the more important needs of their children need to be put on the back burner. Just like instructing children to put on their safety masks first, parents should be aware of the importance of prioritizing their own well-being in promoting their children’s health.
One concrete action parents can take is to seek family-based therapy. While this can be a difficult process, discussing a specific referral for this type of care with your child’s pediatrician is a good place to start. You should be involved in health care and try to incorporate what you have learned in treatment into your family’s daily life.
Ultimately, no child mental health crisis can be resolved without putting parents first. British psychiatrist John Bowlby is widely regarded as the father of attachment theory, studying the importance of early relationships between infants and their caregivers. Bowlby said, “A society that cares about children parents should be respected“