Initiate a direct conversation if you notice warning signs that your child may need additional mental or emotional support.
Resources in partnership with On Our Sleeves: The Movement for Children’s Mental Health
If you notice warning signs that your child may need additional mental or emotional support, it’s best to initiate a direct conversation. Try not to approach the conversations with an agenda, but instead open up a space for them to share openly with you. Ask direct, compassionate questions about the things you are noticing in a supportive, and non-judgmental manner. Validate their experiences, feelings, and concerns to make them feel heard. Engage in the conversation by listening actively and offering to help. Ask how you can help before assuming you know what they need or taking an action. Involving your child in the problem-solving process helps them feel valued and supported.
|“You’ll be fine. Just get over it.”||“Wow, that sounds really difficult. I am sorry you’re going through that. I’m here for you.”|
|“Just try to be more positive.”||“I am sorry you’re feeling down right now. I am here to listen.”|
|“Why are you crabby all the time?”||“I noticed you don’t seem like yourself lately. Is everything okay? I’m here for you.”|
|“You need to go to bed earlier.”||“I noticed you’re staying up pretty late, are you having trouble sleeping? What’s keeping you up?”|
|“Why aren’t you doing your homework? You need to get your grades up.”||“It seems like you’re having trouble in school, what’s going on and how can I help?”|
|“Why do you always pick at your food?”||“I noticed you haven’t eaten much, how are you feeling?”|
|“You need to calm down.”||“I see that you are upset. Can you tell me more about what’s going on?”|
|“Just look on the bright side.”||“Sometimes it must seem like things are stacked against you. We will get through this together.”|
|“You just need to take some deep breaths.”||“What can I do to help you get through that situation if it comes up again?”|
|“You know, I feel that same way and here’s what I do about it.”||“I think I understand that you feel _____ when ____ happens, is that right?”|