For mental health awareness week, I met Heather Rutherford for an instagram live Q&A. Heather runs The Parenting Partnership and is an old friend and colleague.
Heather and I have 7 children between us and have raised our children using gentle parenting with firm boundaries. We were talking about the importance of nurturing our children’s mental health from a young age
As I always say to parents I work with, we need to think about parenting as the long game and know that laying the foundations for strong mental health and a strong self-belief is the best investment you can make for their future.
So here are the most important things we can do to nurture our kids mental health.
One day on the way back from nursery when my daughter was little, I sensed something wasn't right. We stopped to sit on a park bench and her eyes welled up with tears.
'Nobody would play with me today, they said I was a baby and couldn't join in their games'.
I felt a terrible stab in my heart and an urge to run into my daughter's school and demand what was going on.
I wanted to shake the mean girls and tell them they needed to include Scarlett.
I felt like calling up the parents to 'have a word'
It is devastating to think of our children being in pain.
We want to 'make it all better'
To take the pain away.
But all my research told me that to build resilience in a child, we need to allow them to experience tough times and not rush to protect them.
If you haven't had this kind of experience, be prepared as it will happen.
If it isn't 'nobody wants to play with me' it could be:
'I wasn't invited to the party',
'I didn't get picked for the team',
'I'm in the bottom reading group',...