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Contrary to popular belief, mental problems are not uncommon in American families, or even globally. Again, contrary to popular belief, mental problems can affect anyone and are not limited to specific families. Scholars have investigated the relationship between mental diseases and social thought. Furthermore, there have been studies that have looked into the mental health of parents and how it influences the mental health and social thinking of their children.
The word social thinking relates to Michelle Garcia Winner's curriculum, which falls under the topic of social skills.It is used to address the learning challenges that are faced by students that have learning disabilities. In addition to that, it helps children to understand the social world and interact with others without condemning their social inadequacies.
Development and Social Disorders That Influence Thinking
Generally, there is a strong correlation between parent’s psychopathology and the growth and development of the children. Longitudinal studies have shown a strong association between the life of the parents and the mental health of their children. In other words, one can see the stress of the parent right into the eyes of the children.
During the pregnancy stage, it is not uncommon for the woman to experience some level of stress. However, constant stress during pregnancy is inherited by the baby in various forms, and could indeed have a lasting impact. Chronic stress among the parents is toxic to the development of the children and can have a lasting impact.
Stein et al state that Ante natal depression leads to a higher probability of premature delivery (2014 ). In fact, the use of anti-depressants and smoking can lead to outcomes of severe depression. Later on us the children grow up, such factors can be an impediment to the development of their social thinking.
Stein notes with concern that most institutions lay a strong emphasis on the health of the mother at the expense of the health of the father. While recognizing that maternal depression carries a stronger effect on the child, the paternal depression can have an impact too albeit not overly significant. On one hand, maternal depression can lead to depressed social skills in that children can easily experience poor cognitive development. On the other hand, fathers play a consequential role in the growth and development of their children.
Notable Mental Disorders and Their Effects
Both genetics and the environment have produced a fair share of mental disorders on parents that have proceeded to affect the children. As a general rule, each mental disorder, irrespective of the cause, alters the thinking, feelings, and behavior of the individual. However, not all the diseases of the brain fall under the category of mental disorders. Diseases such as the Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy are brain disorders and not necessarily mental disorders. They lean more to neurology rather than mental disorders.
Schizophrenia has played a significant role in contributing to cases of stillbirth, pre-mature delivery, pre-term delivery, and infant death. Though the condition is rare among the children who are under 12, it shows more dominance at the stage of adolescence (Pemberton and Wainwright, 2014).
ADHD can arise from stress cues that can have a high impact during pregnancy. Again, the use of cigarette and alcohol during pregnancy has been blamed for some cases of the development of ADHD. The best thing for the parents to do is to reduce or eliminate the probability of such a mental disorder. However, in case it does occur, the most prudent thing is to research on the most effective response including seeking professional help.
Many parents make a deliberate effort to protect their children from challenges that adults face. For example, some parents may not quarrel in front of their children just to protect them. However, the nature of the children is their insatiable curiosity and their desire for knowledge- in this case what is going on around the home. It is therefore not surprising to find the children knowledgeable about minute details that affect their respective families. This can be counterproductive to their mental health much to the disappointment of the parents.
The Way Forward
There are various medical professionals than can be consulted in order to address the various mental health disorders. They include mental health counselors, psychiatrists nurses, social workers, psychologists, and of course, psychiatrists. In this peer group, the psychiatrists seem to have the strongest muscle in addressing mental health problems. In fact, they are one of the few professionals who are legally allowed to make prescriptions on mental health disorders.
Mental health practitioners should abandon the outdated disease based paradigm in favor of a more holistic paradigm that applies latest mental health practices.
Early diagnosis is a traditional method of addressing any medical problem. Its effectiveness lies on the probability that the disease has not reached the point of escalation.
The government should be more pro-active in funding health institutions. To shy away from the US, the UK is going through a turbulent time as far as mental health is concerned- the various austerity changes translate to less funding to the general community.
The most ideal response to any problem facing the society is a root cause analysis model. For example, if a parent is retrenched, there is some probability that one may develop a mental health disorder, which may in turn affect the child. Similarly, if drug abuse is prevalent in a certain neighborhood, one may access such drugs and go ahead to develop certain mental disturbances due to addiction.
Parents (and in deed the greater society) ought to make a prescription of the mediating and moderating methodology that is going to ensure the health of the parents and their children too. In particular, parents ought to be conscious about their parenting decisions in order to control the occurrence of mental disorders, and manage them when they occur.
Health institutions and practitioners should strive to ensure that they operate within the confines of ethics. This ensures that both the legal and ethical requirements are taken care of. For example, the Mental Health Act (2007) has developed a code of ethics which guides the mental health practice. There are other laws too such as the Deprivation of Liberty Act of 2008. It should be noted that the legal provisions governing mental health practice govern both the individual and the support system (Bogg, 2010).
It is not pragmatic to have expectations of an environment without disturbances. However, it is prudent to create and sustain an environment which has minimal mental disturbances. The mental health of both the fathers and mothers is critical in the development of social thinking in children. Perhaps, making a comprehensive audit of the current state of mental health is not a bad way to start.
Bogg, D. (2010). Values and ethics in mental health practice. Exeter: Learning Matters
Pemberton, R., & Wainwright, T. (2014). The end of mental illness thinking?. International
Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 14(3), 216-220.
Stein, A., Pearson, R. M., Goodman, S. H., Rapa, E., Rahman, A., McCallum, M., ... & Pariante, C. M. (2014). Effects of perinatal mental disorders on the fetus and child. The Lancet,
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