Prioritizing Mental Health to Strengthen Your Parenting Skills with BetterHelp

Parenting is a difficult task. Although being a parent comes with untold joys, and more beautiful than those who have not experienced it may be able to imagine, it also comes with some of the most difficult challenges possible and provides seemingly endless opportunities to learn from mistakes and grow as both a parent and a person. Although virtually any parent can step up their parenting game and strengthen their parenting skills, it can be helpful to bring in some outside help, to get an unbiased, third-party view. Enter: BetterHelp. 

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Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

What is online counseling, and who is BetterHelp ? 

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform, providing the same high-quality, board-certified therapy services provided in an office setting. Online counseling is a burgeoning field in mental health services, as it offers people the same therapist/patient confidentiality as office-based counseling, without the same intensive requirements of in-office services, such as insurance coverage, transportation availability, and restrictive scheduling. BetterHelp is among the first and most prominent companies offering online counseling services, and is home to countless therapists ready and willing to help with a myriad of mental health ailments, whether those ailments are relatively recent and derived from a distinct origin, or long-standing, with no single, known source. 

Online counseling is a method of counseling that relies on online interactions, though the exact scope of those interactions can differ from platform to platform, and therapist to therapist. Some, including BetterHelp, have apps that allow for more interactive usage on cell phones, while others focus primarily on video conferencing in order to deliver services. Some allow clients to text in as needed, while others might encourage clients to focus their attention and effort on designated therapy sessions. The advent of online counseling has made for far more personalization in therapy sessions and offerings, and may provide a venue for therapy that makes access to services far more amenable. 

Mental health and parenting – How the two intersect:

At first glance, mental health and effective parenting may not seem to be mutually exclusive; plenty a parent has had some mental health struggles, and still provided for their kids. While this is the case, there is certainly something to be said for creating a family culture of continued devotion to all types of health, including mental and emotional health—both of which act as keystones in the relationship between any parent and child. Maintaining your own high degree of mental health can help you be more present for your time with your child, can help you model healthy responses to conflict and difficulty, and can help you show your child how to value their own mental health and wellness. 

There are several distinct ways that parents who prioritize mental health show up for their children and demonstrate exceptional parenting skills. Some focus on actual parenting practices, while others focus on general living that trickles down into parenting. These clear distinctions include: 

1. Mindful parenting

Mindfulness involves making sure that when you are attending to one task, you are involved entirely, without distractions or projections. Mindful parenting means making sure that when you are with your children, you are present, attentive, and available. Although parents have perhaps never been more inundated by distractions—work schedules, school schedules, social matters, relationships, and financial duties—mindful parents are able to set all of that aside in order to be present with their children. 

2. Leading by example

Parents who prioritize their own mental health demonstrate to their children how to do so in their own lives. Whether parents engage in mental health practices by journaling, meditating, getting out into nature, or sitting down for a weekly therapy appointment with a designated mental health professional, they are showing their children that it is healthy, normal, and important to take time to prioritize mental health. 

3. Responding, not reacting

There are few indications of a parent’s mental state than their reaction to conflict, stress, or overwhelm. Parents who are prioritizing mental health are less likely to respond to their child in anger, dissolve into tears at the first sign of conflict, or respond harshly to triggers. Although learning to respond and not merely react is an ongoing process, mentally healthy parents are able to respond more often than they react, both creating a feeling of safety within their home, and setting a good example for their children. 

4. Prioritizing growth

Growth comes in a myriad of ways. Making time for creativity through daily dancing parties, weekly painting sessions, and monthly travel bookings can all be ways to ensure growth in yourself and your family. Paying attention to social issues, regularly engaging in community events, and making a point of interacting with people from different backgrounds can all also be ways to prioritize growth. Parents who place a focus on mental health help foster an atmosphere of challenge, growth, and renewal. 

BetterHelp, mental health, and parenting:

Mental health does not always require a dedicated therapy session. For some, a devotion to mental health is ongoing, and therapy serves as little more than occasional maintenance check-ins. For others, therapy can provide a veritable lifeline in the midst of chaos and a history of struggle. Regardless of the exact frequency with which you enlist the help of a therapist, or the exact methods you use to maintain your mental health, children benefit immensely when their parents demonstrate and exemplify an ongoing commitment to their own mental health.

Parents who are mentally healthy are often more patient, more forgiving, more compassionate, and more consistent in their behaviors, all of which contribute to happy, healthy, and stable homes.

By Corrina Horne

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