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Promoting Positive Mental Health

Be a Role Model

​​​​​​​Do and say things the same way you want your child to.

Your emotions affect what you do and say and they affect your child too. For example, anger is a common human emotion. At times you may feel angry but what you do and say when you’re angry is important to your relationship and to how your child learns to express anger. Things that may make parents feel angry include: whining, not doing what’s been asked, not getting ready for school or bedtime, fighting with siblings, not doing well in school and talking rudely. Here are some tips:

  • Try taking deep breaths for a minute to calm yourself. Have a ‘quiet’ area where family members can go when they’re upset. Tell your child that you need a break, stop talking and go to your quiet area.
  • Calm yourself first, then problem-solve with your child.
    • Define the problem without blaming or shaming.
    • Listen to your child’s point of view and explain yours.
    • Ask your child what they think they could do to solve the problem. Ask if they would like some suggestions if they are stuck.
    • Write them down.
    • Together, choose one or two ideas that you think might work.
    • Help your child plan for success (e.g., set up a homework area, decide upon a bedtime together).
    • Try it out for a week or two, then check back to see if it’s working. If not, try another solution.
  • Think about how you speak to your child. When you’re angry, calling your child names (e.g., stupid, bad, selfish) can lead to low self-esteem, low self-confidence, cause problems at home or at school, increase illness, and cause trouble getting along with friends. It also hurts the relationship between you and your child. Here are some tips:
    • Talk about the behaviour you want to see; changing negatives to positives. Instead of: “You are so rude.” Try: “You need to speak politely to me.”

Current as of: December 10, 2018

Author: Mental Health Screening & Early Identification, Alberta Health Services