Three parental blunders that trash family mental wealth

We spend hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds each year to maintain physical fitness (gyms, sports clubs, classes, equipment, protein shakes, osteopaths, physios, etc.).

We invest in properties, ISAs, stocks, shares, businesses and education. We spend on holidays, ipads, clothes, spas, retreats, cars and the latest ‘must haves.’

Yet we do next to nothing to invest in building our own mental wealth – or that of our children.

Here’s 3 blunders you’re probably making that are setting them up for future mental health issues:

Blunder One

Deep down you convince yourself you’re okay on the premise that if “I’m not mentally ill, I must be mentally well.”

Which is like saying, “If I’m not physically sick, I must be fit.”

So you do little to build your store of mental wealth.

Which works out fine.

Until it doesn’t.

You’re stressed and anxious but either purposely ignoring it – or in blissful denial of the impact it has on you – and them.

Divorce, separation, long working hours, money worries, work demands…all take their toll.

It could be you’re lucky and get off lightly with a little stress, a loss of focus, poor sleep, headaches or overwhelm.

Could be a little worse – and you get panic attacks, out of control addictions, anger, depression, debt.

Or it could be so bad you lose your job, your money, your closest relationships, your home.
But you ignore the signs.

And by the time you realise it’s a problem, it’s a deep-seated problem, which is difficult to treat and may impact the rest of your life.

Which is bad enough thinking of your own life.

But if you aren’t in charge of your own mental wealth, what are you passing on to your children?

A belief that it’s ok to behave this way.

And it isn’t.

Blunder Two

You think you’re keeping your children safe.

The best existing ‘keep them safe’ policies relate to their physical well-being.

You advise them to avoid drugs, drink in moderation, tell people where they are, avoid travelling alone late at night.

You give them phones to keep in touch, reliable cars to get them home safely, money for gap years and education to give them a successful future, money for rent and home deposits so they have somewhere to call their own.

But what do you do about their anxiety, their fears, their loneliness, their need to live up to expectations?

Blunder Three

You worry.

About them. About Money. About Work. About Relationships. About Anything.

It doesn’t really matter what.

But your worry feeds their anxiety.

So they keep things from you because they don’t want you to worry.

And this feeds their anxiety more; because they feel driven to pretend things are ok, even when they’re not.

Which is without factoring in social media and life lived on a public stage.

The good news is that it IS possible to build emotional resilience, to increase self belief and inner confidence; and in doing so, to ‘innoculate’ against future meltdown.

My name is Shirley Billson. I’m the founder of the Mental Wealth Factory, dedicated to helping young people, 14 – 26, to thrive.
“…very early on I noticed small changes in the way I was dealing with situations and feeling about myself. Small changes continued to happen over the months and before I knew it I’d forgotten how far I’d come”.