How A Mother’s Mental Health Impacts Child Development

Sharing is caring!

In March 2020, the world shut down. Parents were either furloughed, let go, or working from home. Some parents were considered essential workers and had to go to work during one of the scariest times most of us have ever seen. At the same time, children attended classes virtually at home. With little to no in-person interaction, we were all trying to keep ourselves together to define our new normal. Parents were going insane being home with the kids all day. But did anyone stop to think about how the children felt? How was this affecting their mental health too? They were suffering, too, while trying to make the best of this shutdown.

During the shutdown, I was fortunate to have learned a lot about my then four-year-old, who would soon be five. At the time, I worked in a highly stressful career field. I had little to no self-control over my emotions, and often, I would bring work home with me. Due to what I was going through, my child became avoidant. He would not communicate or express his emotions and affections in life. This affected him in school.

Since I was home with him at the time, I was able to realize this behavior. My child being avoidant made me self-aware of my own actions. To help him, I knew I had to make changes within myself. I had to control my reactions to situations to become a better communicator to help him learn how to communicate Parent Guide 101: How to Communicate With Your Kids and express his emotions in life if I wanted both of us to succeed during this trying time.

A child’s development is often assumed to be mainly linked to their environment, health, or educational background. Still, the reality is that a mother’s mental health can also have a significant impact. Mental health issues for a mother can negatively affect a child’s emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development if ignored. This post will discuss how a mother’s mental health affects her child to help parents become more aware of the risk and how to manage it.

The Impact of a Mother’s Mental Health on a Child’s Emotional Development

A mother’s mental health is vital to a child’s emotional development. From conception, a child’s first encounter is with their mom. They know their mother’s heartbeat and voice, and they can identify with their mother’s emotions and how they are feeling. Hence, the reason people tell you to take it easy during pregnancy and not to put too much stress on yourself. This is the first bond of emotional attachment that children experience. Mothers nurture the emotional intelligence in their children. They teach their children to recognize and express their emotions in a controlled way to either connect or disconnect with others.

The Impact of a Mother’s Mental Health on a Child’s Social Development

A child’s social development depends on a mother’s mental health because this teaches a child how to be kind and loving to others, even in times of conflict. How a mother reacts in all social situations will also determine how a child reacts. We need a kind and loving voice to mask the negative voices in our heads. We are our own worse critics. Without having kindness for ourselves, we allow other people’s fears and insecurities to overturn us. That is why we must speak life into our children so they can have the confidence to grow up and have healthy social lives to improve their development.

The Impact of a Mother’s Mental Health on a Child’s Physical Development

Children look for their mother’s trust and confidence to build physical development. This includes the mother’s clothes and the clothes she chooses to dress her child in. A neat wardrobe instills confidence and respect in people. Your clothes substantially teach others how to treat you in a way you want to be treated without saying a word. Growing up, my parents always told me that my clothes were a reflection of myself and the family I came from.

The Impact of a Mother’s Mental Health on a Child’s Cognitive Development

Self-esteem leads to a child’s cognitive development. Whatever we believe and live by, we feed our children the same thing. We are our children’s first influences.

4 Tips for Managing a Mother’s Mental Health to Optimize Child Development

  1. Learn to control your emotions by altering your state of mind
    • Pick and choose your battles
    • Everything is not worth fighting for.
  2. Find your tribe
    • It is best to be around like-minded people. They can help encourage creativity and positive vibes to enhance social development.
  3. Meditate
    • Meditation is important because it allows you to fully align yourself and connect your mind, body, and soul. This will enable you to live purposefully by being present and enjoying the moment.
  4. Exercise
    • Get your body moving. It gives you the energy to keep going when things get tough. It allows for clarity on how to handle a situation.

In hindsight, a child’s development is a learned behavior. They watch their mothers and mimic the behavior of what they see. A mother’s mental health is crucial to a child’s development. Without understanding the effects on their mental health, a mother may not be able to assist their child in reaching their peak potential in each development area. By understanding, a mother can work to set their child up for success.

Sharing is caring!