"More than ever before, this year, I am aware of what our kids need for their mental health"
I spend a lot of time thinking about what is going on in the minds of my kids. I look at them when they don't realize i am watching and I try to get inside their heads. I think about their pressures, their fears, their hopes and dreams. I think about what I might have been going through at their ages. I simply don't remember so many external pressures. I don't remember the words anxiety and depression being used as often as it is used now. In many ways we are more aware of mental health issues, we identify them earlier and we are not afraid to talk about it. I am happy for that but we need to watch, ask and TALK about it.
I had an eye opening conversation with a high school counselor on the mental health of kids and how we can and should be using their activities to reach them. High pressure situations are where they crack. Training and playing sports can be a great outlet but can also be a source of pressure. My kids have been involved in more sports than I can name. The lessons learned through sports are REAL and so important. Friendship, hard work, playing as a team, how to win like a leader, how to lose like a leader, how to find the "thing" that motivates and makes them want to work even harder. But we also need to step back and realize that sometimes that pressure is too much. How do you identify that? What questions do you ask? What behavior do you watch for? You know your kids, listen to your gut and talk about it with your kids.