Dr. Shannon shares how you can empower your child to ensure proper development and discusses the ecological model for childhood mental health.
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There are a number of different ways that parents can empower children, and I think one of the simplest ways is that parents need to realize that children need to make their own decision very often. And so whenever appropriate allow the child to make choices which will build their level of responsibility and comforts. One of the big mistakes that I see parents make is they try to manage and control their children too much and they try to micromanage their lives and make all the little decisions for them and don’t allow them to make decisions and occasionally fail, so that they can learn from their experiences. And a child that’s most resilient is one that’s had the opportunity to take risks, has failed some but has learned to succeed by adapting and responding. The ecological model of children’s mental health is sort of an expansion of either the holistic model or the model we had in psychiatry 30 years ago – the bio-psychosocial model. And what this model does is it goes beyond the biological, the psychological and the social and includes the spiritual, the environmental and really acknowledges that children have multiple interconnected spheres in their lives, and that the more broadly we can understand how all this is interconnected and interdependent, the more we can recognize the influences that are going to impact a child’s life as they are growing and developing. And once we validate and acknowledge the broad influence of all of these things in a child’s life, then we can begin to take action to change the things that may be holding them back.