Parents Get Family Mental Health Tips
More than 50 people attended a set of presentations from February to April concerning the mental health of their children. Presented by Mary Lou MacFarlane-File, who operates Fawg Forest Therapeutic Farm, Ontario, the topics surrounded the mental well-being of children and youth with a focus on mental wellness, rather than mental illness.
MacFarlane-File believes that the problem lies in social scepticism in mental health, rather than the circumstance leading to the children’s problems; in the instance of the March Meeting, she suggested that both parents and children need to establish a healthy balance of influence. Furthermore, that any media-related negativity, namely the “dramatic horror of violence and abnormal human behaviour” found in films and games may encourage negativity, rather than a high volume of positivity.
“Through the consistent messaging of violence (news, video games, movies, television) we tend to be drawn into the exceptional abnormal situations – we also become desensitized,” said MacFarlane-File.
Her concerns suggest that they are perhaps less to do with the graphic visuals of media subjects, but more that they distract the parent and child from communicating on an even, empathetic or understanding way. Instead, as any child might, they will be allowed to be led by examples, either from their parents, who show indifference or the media, which misrepresents the life around them.
Throughout the presentation, MacFarlane-File strongly asserted on the strength of communication and listening in order to establish attentiveness to the children’s reactions.
The presentation was received well, with parents feeling slightly more prepared for helping their child to grow in a complex, busy society; where youth today are struggling to find a place for themselves and whilst it is a time of growth for children, the presentation proved that parents too, must grow and learn to help both their loved ones and themselves.
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