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4 Ways to Understand and Support Your Child's Mental Health: Insights from a Child Psychiatrist

Updated: Feb 28

Dr. Celine Hamilton, a highly regarded child and adolescent psychiatrist, shared valuable insights and advice on child development, mental health, and ways parents can support their children during challenging times on episode 160 of The Motherhood Village #podcast.

In this blog post, we'll recap some of the key takeaways from the episode and provide additional information to help parents navigate the complexities of raising resilient and mentally healthy children.

Recommended Resources: Dr. Hamilton shared two book recommendations that parents can explore:

  • "Mindset" by Carol Dweck: This book emphasizes the idea of a growth mindset, which highlights the belief that intelligence is not fixed but can be developed over time. It's a valuable read for parents looking to foster a growth-oriented mindset in their children.

  • "Why We Sleep" by Chris Walker: This book explores the importance of sleep and its impact on physical and mental health. Adequate sleep is crucial for a child's well-being, academic performance, and emotional regulation.

The Importance of Validating Emotions: Dr. Hamilton stressed the importance of validating children's emotions. Children often experience big emotions, especially during transitions like starting a new school year. Parents should create a safe space for their children to express their feelings and provide reassurance that it's okay to feel upset or overwhelmed. This validation helps children learn to regulate their emotions effectively.

Screen Time and Phones: Dr. Hamilton discussed the challenges associated with screen time and smartphones for children. She recommended delaying the introduction of smartphones until children are responsible enough to handle them. Parents should ensure that their children understand the risks and responsibilities that come with using phones and social media. Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, including exercise and nutritious eating, is essential to support mental health.

Recognizing Signs of Depression and Anxiety: It's crucial for parents to be vigilant and attentive to signs of depression and anxiety in their children. Some common indicators include a loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from friends and family, physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and declining academic performance. Open communication with children and seeking professional help when needed are essential steps in addressing these challenges.

Suicide Prevention: If a child expresses thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it is a critical situation that should be taken seriously. Parents should immediately seek professional help, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency department. Keeping firearms, alcohol, and medications secured and inaccessible to children can also reduce the risk of impulsive actions.

We believe that understanding and addressing children's #mentalhealth is a crucial aspect of parenting, and Dr. Celine Hamilton's insights offer valuable guidance.

Creating an open and supportive environment, monitoring screen time, and recognizing signs of emotional distress are essential steps in helping children navigate the challenges they face. By staying informed and taking proactive measures, parents can contribute to their child's mental health and resilience.

To listen to the full episode and access additional resources click here.


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