It's time we prioritise child's mental health

Hyderabad: As the new academic year begins today (June 12), some thought is being given to an important but often neglected aspect of parenting — the psychological well being of children.

Psychologists urge parents to take note of behavioural changes in their children and to stop treating their children as status symbols and impose heavy study schedules on them.

Experts said that there are three types of abuses children can face — physical abuse, psychological abuse and sexual abuse.

Children who encounter these problems in severe forms will carry the scars well into later life.

The conversation at home should change from ‘what is your homework today?’ to ‘how was your day at school?’ and parents should be open to listening to whatever the child says and should give him or her the mental strength required to handle emotional setbacks.

Recently, after the Intermediate results were announced, around 22 teenagers committed suicide, unable to accept their poor results, said Achyuta Rao of the NGO Balala Hakkula Sangham.

The school environment too should be such that children should be happy to go to school and they should have the necessary facilities such as a playground, library etc.

The school building should also be in a good condition and provide safety to the children, said Dr Samhita Sharma, a psychiatrist.

Educationists say parents only stress upon studies and sideline co-curricular activities.

But these other activities are necessary for the overall development of the child.

In fact, the academic calendar released by the school education department, requires co-curricular activities to be implemented in all schools.

“Co-curricular activities as a part of curriculum promotes overall development of the children. The activities prescribed should be creative in nature and value oriented and a guide for the development of proper citizenship. These activities shall not be neglected and the headmaster shall plan and distribute co-curricular activities to the teachers based on their workload in primary, upper primary and high schools and see that all the co-curricular must be implemented and recorded in cumulative records,’ the academic calendar says.

Parents play an important role in equipping children for the skills that are needed to protect themselves in a critical environment.

Children need to be taught about good touch and bad touch, for them to identify if they are actually going through sexual abuse.

Pre-primary teachers should also be trained well in teaching these aspects to the children, said P. Jyothirmayi of Oakridge International School.

Despite corporal punishment being banned in schools, child rights activists say that they keep receiving at least one or two complaints a day of barbaric punishments of children in schools.

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