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The importance of emotional health for parents and children

happy family enjoying sunset and talking about mental health

The journey of being a parent undoubtedly brings many challenges, especially in the area of emotional health. From the very first moment a couple finds out they are expecting, they start worrying about their future children. Anxious questions arise: Will the newborn be healthy? Will they be able to bond? How will the child feel in kindergarten or school? Will he or she be able to pass the school-leaving exams?

At the birth of a child—a time of change and challenges, when you want to give your full attention and energy to your children and meet all their needs—it is important not to forget yourself. Ensuring parents’ good emotional health is not a luxury or an excessive responsibility—it is a necessity. By taking care of their own emotional health, parents are also taking care of their children’s health, creating a psychologically safe and healthy environment for their child’s further development and ensuring their own well-being.

What is emotional health?

Emotions are information. Like our physical senses, they help us understand our own needs and the needs of others, and to meet them correctly.

Emotional health is the ability to understand that information and to cope with negative emotional states and strong experiences in appropriate ways.

Parental emotional health

Parents often put their children’s needs before their own. All energy and attention are focused on the offspring, pushing one’s own needs further away. However, research shows that parents’ emotional health is crucial not only for their own overall health and happiness but also for their children and their children’s development.

How do emotional health problems manifest themselves in parental behavior, and why does this affect children?

Not being able to regulate their emotions. For example, in stressful situations, anger, sadness, or fear can lead to verbal/physical outbursts. This can not only frighten the child but also teach ineffective strategies for regulating emotions and generally create an unstable and unsafe home atmosphere.

Poor emotional well-being. When parents are struggling with their own emotional problems, they may be less able to empathize with their child’s feelings or provide comfort and support when they need it most. As a result, the child may feel unsupported, isolated, or abandoned. Parents may not be able to give their child the attention and involvement they need. As a result, the child may lack the connection that is crucial for the child’s social and emotional development.

How can poor parental emotional health affect children?

Research has shown that children living in stressful environments can experience a range of behavioral and emotional problems throughout their lives. For example, if parents feel anxious, they often experience ‘household’ stress but are unable to cope successfully, and these emotional difficulties are visible and reflected in their behavior. This can have a significant impact on their children’s well-being and can be associated with emotional problems, behavioral problems, aggression, anxiety, and even depression. 

The reason for this is that in early childhood, parents are responsible for regulating their children’s emotions, and as they grow up, they remain one of the sources of information—parental behavior or facial expressions that signal anxiety or fear are observed by children and act as additional information about the environment and its safety. There is also growing evidence that anxiety or stress, even during pregnancy, has an impact on the fetus and may have long-term consequences for the child’s development (e.g., it may be associated with later anxiety, difficult temperament, impulsivity, attention problems). It is, therefore, very important to take care of your emotional health in advance.

How does good parental emotional health affect children?

When parents take care of their own emotional well-being, it can have a positive impact on their children’s emotional health and development.

When parents themselves use healthy coping strategies such as mindfulness, help-seeking, breathing exercises, singing, etc., children can learn the same skills and apply them to their own lives when overwhelmed by particularly strong negative emotions.

It is very useful to teach children emotion regulation strategies from an early age, but it is also important to remember that your behavior as a parent is the most influential model from which children learn the most.

What are the most common challenges parents face that can affect their emotional well-being?

Sleep deprivation, which can make parents irritable, stressed, and anxious. 

Balancing work and family responsibilities, which can be stressful for parents. 

Financial challenges—the financial burden of bringing up children can be stressful and worrying, especially if their budget is limited. 

Social isolation—many parents find it difficult to maintain friendships and relationships while caring for their children. 

Dealing with children’s behavioral problems such as tantrums, disobedience, and aggression can be emotionally challenging and can leave parents feeling frustrated, angry, and helpless. 

Couple relationships—changing relationship dynamics, new roles (parents) can present new challenges. 

Striving to be the perfect parent—parents may feel pressure to be the ‘perfect parent’ and compare themselves to others, which can lead to stress and anxiety.

The first step is to identify and acknowledge the challenges you are facing. Identifying specific problems will help you find the most suitable coping strategies. It’s also crucial to understand that these challenges are normal and common among many parents, yet they require your attention and effort to maintain your emotional health.

How can parents improve their emotional health?

Self-help practices include:

  • Meeting basic needs: rest, healthy eating
  • Physical activity: exercise, sports, outdoor walks
  • Understanding one’s own emotions, practicing emotional health training, and engaging in emotional health education

🌱 The Mindletic app provides access to various techniques that strengthen emotional health, including an emotion tagging tool, breathing and relaxation exercises, articles, and recordings of events on emotional health, and more.

Help from others involves:

  • Conversations and support from friends and like-minded parents
  • Specialists: consultations with a psychologist

🌱 In Mindletic, you can book a consultation with a psychologist who specializes in the topic of parent-child relationships (you can indicate your need for this topic when choosing a psychologist).

Therefore, the emotional well-being of parents is essential to ensure the overall health, well-being, and smooth development of both parents themselves and their children.


If you are an employer and would like to support your employees’ mental health, do not hesitate to book a demo call with our expert team.