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How to help your kids live a happy, healthy life

posted Aug 25, 2016, 7:05 PM by NBMS PTSA   [ updated Sep 7, 2016, 9:25 AM by Web Admin ]

On February 11, 2014, featured speaker Dr. Stefanie Gilbert discussed “How to Help your Kids live a Happy, Healthy Life.”  Dr. Gilbert talked about how every stage of life has problems that we must deal with, so it’s important to teach children how to cope with problems in general.  When we keep things inside, we get sick.  To ensure mental well-being, we need to talk.  Establishing rapport sets the stage for later discussions.  It might be easier to discuss things when walking side by side or with the lights out – try different strategies if face to face discussions are difficult.  Try to get kids to open up and withhold judgment as much as you can.  Try to keep them talking instead of reacting instinctively/emotionally.


If your child and you have a good rapport, they can come to you when a difficult situation arises.  The goal is to allow your child to figure out what they really think – instill within them that they have the power to help and understand themselves. 

Treat yourself, and teach them to treat themselves as you would a friend.  See handout which discusses this.


Perfectionism – many children feel that in order to be loveable/worthwhile they have to be perfect.  This is an unattainable standard.  Adults realize this but kids often feel this.  It’s essential to base love on things other than achievements.  We want our kids to do well but they need to know we love them beyond their accomplishments (examples – we love them bc they’re kind, special, no one else like them, etc.).  Resist the urge to compare – kids are already doing this and it is an unending cycle with no good to come of it.  ‘This is your journey and no one else’s.”


Decrease negative self-talk.  Cultivate yourself as your own best friend and teach your kids to do same. 


Thoughts come before feelings – feelings don’t come from nowhere.  When they are upset, focus on the thoughts that got them there (usually after and event).  Get them to see that they have power over those thoughts.  They are in charge of their brain and can decide what to focus on and can think about how they can change things/problem solve for future. 


Half of mental health is genetic, the other half is learned/environmental...  cultivating attitude of gratitude can help mental health.

People who are depressed have lower levels of self-compassion/self-kindness.

Model good emotional responses and self-compassion to kids.  Show them you make mistakes.  Ask them how you could have done better.