Myths About Child Mental Health

A serious teenage girl gestures as she sits on a couch in her school counselor's office and talks to her unrecognizable counselor.  The counselor takes notes on a clipboard.
A serious teenage girl gestures as she sits on a couch in her school counselor's office and talks to her unrecognizable counselor. The counselor takes notes on a clipboard.

Raising children is a taxing task that nobody really ever knows if they are doing right or wrong because of no answers to how and what to do exist. Parents take advice from their parents who guessed and asked their parents what to do. It is a cycle of guessing and trial-and-error that continues. Some parents, however, have mental health ailments mixed in with their parenting trials that are surrounded by stigmas. Below are some myths associated with childhood mental health.

Myth: Bad Parenting is to Blame
Psychiatric disorders like autism, depression, anxiety, and other learning disabilities did not happen as a result of bad parenting. Sure, home life does have an influence on these things, and the child is going to need support and help from his or her parents, but the disorder itself is not a result of parenting. Rest easy that the feeding method you read about on the Internet is not to blame; it’s just one of those things.

Myth: Taking a Child to Therapy is a Waste of Time
Some believe that childhood therapy is a complete waste of time, but they are wrong. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is what most professionals recommend for children now, and it focuses on changing the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are causing the child problems. Research shows great success with this method, especially when therapy begins early on when symptoms begin to show.

Myth: They’ll Just Grow Out of It
Psychiatric disorders will normally show themselves by the time a child reaches the age of 14. The belief that the child will grow out of their disorder is false, and in fact, disorders are commonly more difficult to treat in adulthood. If your child is diagnosed, it is okay. Children are still learning and developing, and the brain is learning and developing with them. Seek treatment that can make an impact when the brain is still young and can be changed.

Myth: All It Takes is Willpower
Children do not have the life experience and stamina to deal with a psychiatric disorder like depression or ADHD all on their own. It is going to take more than wanting to be happy or wanting to focus to help them deal with these sorts of conditions. Seek a treatment plan to help them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is likely to be part of the plan, but listen to the doctor and follow what he or she says. Everyone just wants the best outcome for the child.

Stigmas around psychiatric disorders make it hard to seek help or know what to do if you suspect your child of having one. These disorders are more normal than you may think, and the health and wellness of the child are more important than any other factor. Seek help for them to be well.