Wellbeing is not simply being happy, although happiness is strongly linked with wellbeing. It’s a combination of a bunch of things, including your physical and mental health, emotional state, social relationships, personal satisfaction, community belonging, and, yes, how happy you are with your life.
Keeping your mind healthy is just as important as keeping your body healthy. It’s even more important for our kids because their inner world – their emotional and mental state – is not as obvious for us to see as their physical health (what they eat, how much exercise they’re getting, how much sleep, and so on).
As our kids grow up, they process a lot of information, experiences and emotions, and this can impact their ability to think clearly, learn new skills, form social relationships, and how they develop their own self-esteem and sense of place in the world. In a nutshell, their sense of wellbeing.
If kids are reluctant to talk openly with parents about their emotions and thoughts, then mums and dads need to rely on symptoms to gauge the mental health of their kids – things like changes in behaviour and moods, disengagement from activities and friends, learning difficulties, and negative language.
Materialism, hypercompetitive environments, parental pressure, bullying, peer pressure, body image, commercialisation of childhood – these are just some of the social and cultural pressures that children experience and can easily junk up their lives. How they react and deal with these issues is dependent on how strong and balanced their mental health and wellbeing is.