Tag Archives: strong

Vitamin ‘M’ – Nutrition of the mind and soul

// This article was chosen among the special mentions for the month of December 2016 by mycity4kids and is available at below link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/vitamin-m-nutrition-of-the-mind-and-soul

This article was published by Youth Ki Awaaz on the occasion of World Health Day and is available at below link:

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2017/04/role-of-parenting-in-raising-mentally-healthy-individuals/

This article has been published by Women’s Web and is available at below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2016/12/raising-a-happy-kid-tips-for-parents/

Converse with any parent or read posts on parenting forums, and you will find that all parents have a unanimous goal – “to raise a happy and healthy child”! But, I have often reflected on this to comprehend what we really imply when we use the term “happy child”. Through discussions with fellow parents I realized that quite a significant number of us interpret a “happy child” to be one who is not a “cry baby” and who, for the most part, is cheerful, smiling whatever be the situation.  However, is that a reasonable, realistic and healthy expectation? While it may break our heart or at times exasperate us to see our children cry, sulk or express anger, fact of the matter is that life is about experiencing the varied emotions it is speckled with. I personally believe that more than a happy child, it is important to raise a mentally healthy child – one who faces all kinds of feelings head on and learns to deal with them, instead of running away from the inner turmoil; one who acknowledges that life is not always happy-happy or hunky dory, and that it is fine to feel sad and low in spirits some times. I am guilty of having used the phrase “cry baby” in the past but I am glad I have come to recognize that we need to stop mocking someone who cries more than the “standards” defined by us. It is uncalled for and can actually lead to suppressing of emotions by the child leading to pretense to avoid being teased or ridiculed.

When we talk about or think in relation to our child’s health, we tend to largely concentrate on the physical health of the child. But then, what about the nutrition of the mind and soul? Somewhere, starting from the milestone madness to the rat race as the kids grow, are we unconsciously missing out on focusing on our child’s mental health?  This happens all the more in a country like ours where we are still quite nascent in our knowledge of mental health and the importance that we lay on it; where the grim state of affairs in this area is evident by way of our acceptance of mental health issues. People suffering from depression or other mental issues are ostracized or looked down upon. Anyone visiting a counselor or seeking professional treatment is labelled as “mad” due to which many cases are left untreated for the fear of social stigma. This is a dangerous situation to be in as it can lead to suicides and a numerous other grave crimes. Depression, the most prevailing form of mental illness, is estimated to exist in 3 of every 100 in urban areas like Mumbai. As per WHO statistics, the average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every 100,000 people. While the absence of open dialogue around mental health is a key hurdle, experts say this also adds to the problem of less resources and doctors available in this domain.