When the going gets tough – hang on!

Hang on!

Most parents know what it is to worry about how well their children are doing. Most parents also know how good it is to enjoy and savour their children’s growing up experiences. In every child’s growing up, there are ups and downs. One day you think she’ll surely be President. The next day you think you’ll be lucky if she manages to stay out of jail! These swings between good and
bad feelings about your child are all part of the business of being a parent. Being a parent is a truly great experience, but at times, it can cause you exasperation!

Be assured that such wild swings in feelings are perfectly normal. Like most other parents, you probably also wonder sometimes if you’re doing the right thing. In fact, it may encourage you to know that:
1. Almost every parent has felt what you are feeling now;
2. There are so many good things about your child’s growth and development which can give you pleasure;
3. One or two problems now won’t affect your child forever.

You can get from this stage in your lives to the next stage by:

1. Living with your child’s developmental problems from day-to-day;
2. Enjoying her, laughing with her, holding her close when the dark moments close in upon both of you, and
3. Simply getting through the ordinary routines of each day.
If you ever feel being a parent is getting too difficult for you, talk to a close friend or relative or other parents who can share their experiences. Whatever you do, don’t mentally bite your fingernails or waste your emotional energy in wondering if you are a “perfect parent”, whatever that may mean.
Don’t hover over your child. Don’t constantly ask yourself, “Is she doing all right?”
Don’t pressure your child into performing at ever-higher levels.
Don’t make her feel that you love her only if she performs well. She should
know that you love her because she is your child. Above all, let your child know in a hundred different ways that you love her. The knowledge that she matters, that she is loved for herself
alone, is the greatest gift you can give your child.

GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of:
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363. Fax: 028 71365334.
E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org
Web Site: www.lifestartfoundation.org

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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