Dr. Scott Shannon recommends that parents allow their children to make decisions for themselves wherever possible. It can be daunting for parents, who want to guard their children from mistakes or getting hurt but children making decisions while in a protected environment will have their parents' love and nurture to buffer them. This will help them develop into confident and responsible adults who can roll with the punches and deal with inevitable mistakes in life.
(Transcribed from video interview)
There are a number of different ways that parents can empower children, and I think one of the simplest ways is that parents need to realize that children need to make their own decision very often.
And so whenever appropriate allow the child to make choices which will build their level of responsibility and comforts.
One of the big mistakes that I see parents make is they try to manage and control their children too much and they try to micromanage their lives and make all the little decisions for them and don’t allow them to make decisions and occasionally fail, so that they can learn from their experiences.
And a child that’s most resilient is one that’s had the opportunity to take risks, has failed some but has learned to succeed by adapting and responding.
The ecological model of children’s mental health is sort of an expansion of either the holistic model or the model we had in psychiatry 30 years ago – the bio-psychosocial model.
And what this model does is it goes beyond the biological, the psychological and the social and includes the spiritual, the environmental and really acknowledges that children have multiple interconnected spheres in their lives, and that the more broadly we can understand how all this is interconnected and interdependent, the more we can recognize the influences that are going to impact a child’s life as they are growing and developing.
And once we validate and acknowledge the broad influence of all of these things in a child’s life, then we can begin to take action to change the things that may be holding them back.
About Dr. Scott Shannon, M.D.: