A Leader’s Journey to Building Mentally Strong Children (Day 1: A Tough Topic)

The Men and Mental Health Blog features some curated content from online resources. This post originally appeared on the Parent-child-Connect website and was not written by Good Dads staff.

Mental health is a tough topic of discussion in most homes and oftentimes met with negative comments. Those who deal with mental health challenges are often shunned and ostracized.  I thought “finance” was a sensitive topic, but discussing mental health is like walking on thin ice! It is often seen as an untouchable, unspoken topic. I have personally learned from my own mental health journey, which started at an early age. I felt as though I would be viewed as crazy or looney, require a lifetime medication prescription, and/or be locked in an asylum for the rest of my life. I was always afraid to face my mental health challenges head on and be open with my parents about how I was feeling. I believed my negative thoughts were an evil I could pray away, and once I finished praying, I could hope for the best. As I got older, I often felt my mind drift to darker places than the last time. I finally learned that prayer and hope alone were not enough.

 

What I have learned along this journey is to be open and honest with my family and—most importantly—my children. Who knows what could be going through those little minds as our world crumbles right before their eyes?  I dealt with my mental health in adolescence alone because I was too afraid to open up to my parents and older siblings, thinking they would assume something was “wrong" with me. I do not want that for my children. I want them to understand that it is ok and perfectly normal to deal with mental health challenges.  I want them to understand that their biggest hero and cheerleader, Daddy, has gone through and continues to go through those feelings while on his own mental health journey. I want them to know I am here to guide them through their journey and ensure they are able to grow along the way.

 I have learned to replace words like “struggling” and “coping”  with words like “learning,” “growing,” and “progressing” when discussing my mental health journey. We all have our own journey, but it is imperative that we teach our children to navigate through this tough topic. How do we teach them? Let’s walkthrough this guide together!

 

Day 1 Discussion Question:

What steps can you take to normalize this topic with your child(ren)?

Some ideas to get you started:  

  1. Use age-appropriate stories, TV shows, etc. to spark the conversation.  
  2. Use sports analogies or other shared interests and tie-ins.  
  3. Be yourself and communicate naturally.    
  4. Work with mental health professionals and mentors you trust.  
  5. Listen and have frequent conversations.  
  6. Discuss self-care and self-esteem.
  7. Have fun! Mental health doesn't have to be a dark/gloomy topic.

 

Your Turn! I will…

 

For the complete Three Day Mental Health Guide Major Payne Edition, click here.

About Author

About the Authors of the Three Day Mental Health Guide: Major Payne Edition  

Olaolu Ogunyemi is a loving husband, father, mentor, and U.S. Marine Officer with a deep passion for working with children fueled by an unending supply of energy and imagination! He is the author of the Amazon best-selling children's book, "Crow From the Shadow," "Horace the Horsefly," and "Billy Dipper's Time to Shine." Olaolu is a frequent traveler and in his free time, he enjoys playing music, exercising, and spending time with his family. Connect with him at www.parent-child-connect.com

Dr. Clement Ogunyemi aka “The Finance Doctor” is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 4Q Financial Management LLC. Dr. Ogunyemi has been a finance professional for nearly a decade, with the scope of his work ranging from investment banking with Morgan Stanley to managing funds of the world’s largest and most profitable retailer, Walmart. A frequent traveler and entrepreneur, he enjoys working out and spending time with his beautiful fiancé, two sons, and his dog. Connect with him at: https://www.4qfinancial.com/  

 

Olaolu and Clement Ogunyemi have also co-authored a free downloadable financial guide called "The Road to Financial Success". Click here for more information.

 

The views and opinions expressed by guest writers outside of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Good Dads.