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8 Precious Truths All Parents Should Pass To Their Children

8 Precious Truths All Parents Should Pass To Their Children

The influence we have over our children can have a far bigger impact than we think. That is why the way we speak, act and the wisdom we pass on to them will imprint onto their lives in far greater ways than we can imagine. We have so much power to enrich their lives with the positive things we’ve learnt from our own lives and to allow these timeless truths to transcend into their future.

Successful parenting isn’t all about helping your child to be the best academically or ridding them of all their adversities, it’s about playing a crucial role in the personal growth by means of gentle direction no matter where their life may take them. It’s providing them with wisdom that they can apply to all areas of their life and give them a positive basis for life decisions and outlooks.

1. Your Perception Of The World Is What You Make It

How we see the world is all made up of what we’ve been told and exposed to from a very early age. As we get older these beliefs shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us. It’s sad that if we’ve been brought up in a negative environment, then we are more likely to grow up with similar fears, negative feelings and emotions as that is how we’ve been taught to see the world.

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As a parent, it’s so important to not only bring up a child in a positive and loving environment, but to not teach them your own limiting beliefs and negative perceptions. Realise that the things you fear will be picked up by your children and passed on creating their own perceptions through yours. By recognising these you can readjust what you teach to your child and choose to allow their minds to be open and curious to let them gain their own conclusions of the world.

2. Pain Is An Essential Part Of Life

Our natural instinct is to shield and protect our children from pain but by doing this we don’t teach them that pain is inevitable in life. By protecting them we are denying them the chance to process and deal with painful situations from a young age when they are learning how to deal with different emotions.

If painful situations arise such as the death of a family member, a pet or an argument with a friend at school, it’s important to teach them that pain helps you to grow – we need to embrace the hard times in our life to deal with it in a way that allows us to learn and move on. Be a constant reassurance that everything happens for a reason and for a higher good.

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3. Find Your Own Path In Life

It’s easy to pass on our beliefs to others – it’s hard not to. However, be aware that what you think may not be what other’s think – when a child asks a question it’s important not to immediately answer with your own thoughts and ideas. Instead, make sure you keep the question open and ask the child what they think. You want your child to be their own person and form their own opinions and beliefs based on their knowledge of the world. Remember they are a unique person outside of you and what resonates with you may not resonate with them. Encourage them to question things and not take what they hear as the truth.

4. Live In The Present Moment

Life is full of many distractions and especially with today’s technology. That’s why it’s important to allow children to be aware of the present moment. Happiness can’t be found in the past or the future but in the here and now – the more we connect with the moment we’re living in now, the more we connect with our higher being and create appreciation and calmness. Mediation is a wonderful way to teach this but the act of being mindful of the things we do will help cultivate a more positive mind.

5. Everything Is Temporary

With that in mind, it’s important to know everything in this world is temporary. Holding on the past only sits inside of us and cultivates if we don’t let it go. Life is full of ups and downs – living with these and going with the flow will mean a much less bumpy journey through life. We are able to adapt more easily to change and resist living in the past.

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6. Take Responsibility For Your Own Happiness

The first few years of life can be like living in a bubble where you learn to connect with the things around you and understand your place in the world. This time is usually a period where a child is innocently very self-centred because there is so much attention put upon them. It’s only when they start school and realise they aren’t the only one getting attention. This is when blame towards others can be cultivated because they struggle to find their place, to be heard by others and feel things are other people’s fault.

Teaching a child that they, and only they, are responsible for their own happiness is so important – it will stop the victim-mentality they can easily pick up (and what many of us as adults have done) and stop them from pushing the responsibility of their happiness onto things outside of themselves.

7. Fear Is An Illusion

People may want to fight against this one because we are so hellbent on holding on to the fears we have cultivated over the years. But in truth, fears are not real. Fear is just an emotion that comes from a preformed idea or belief  – fear is just an illusion. Unfortunately, there are many dangers in the world but the fear we generate around them is not directly proportionate to the dangers themselves. Danger does not have to equal fear but this is what children pick up on. Fearful thoughts attract fearful situations so it’s important to learn about danger and be aware but not to fear it.

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8. Your Only Limitation Is Your Mind

We often say ‘the sky is the limit’ which implies that somewhere up there, a limit exists. Everyday we impose limitations on ourselves through false negative beliefs, ideas, and thoughts of self-worth. However, we are only limited by our thinking and what we think is true or false – learning to acknowledge that our limiting beliefs aren’t true is an important lesson to pass on to our children. Instilling this at a young age will allow a child to believe they can accomplish anything and reduce the amount of limited thinking in the first place.

The way in which we teach our children the ways of the world is paramount to creating a happy, well-rounded child. Successful parenting means giving children the best possible start in life by cultivating a positive mind and a real awareness of the world they live in. We are all growing and learning as we walk through life so, in turn, remember never to dismiss what our children can teach us in return!

Featured photo credit: Josh Willink via pexels.com

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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