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Getting your child to open up: timing is everything

More of us worry about our children’s emotional and mental health than is talked about says Child Psychiatrist Dr Sarah Zohra, who is sharing her tips on how to get your children to open up with her TLC approach

Posted: 1 June 2018
by Dr Sarah Vohra
Junior archive girl on sofa
{Image from the Junior archive}

How many of us worry about our children’s emotional and mental health?

Having that initial conversation with your child, regardless of their age can be incredibly difficult;

‘what if I make things worse’, ‘what if they clam up’ or ‘what if I have got this all wrong

are common fears that may put you, as a parent, off making that crucial first move. And then there is the dilemma of how you physically go about having the ‘conversation’ in the first place?

Before even uttering your first word, think TLC.

Time, Location and Child

T is for TIME

Ask yourself these questions. Is this the right time to be talking to your child about your concerns? Perhaps, it is the end of a long day for the two of you? Are you likely to be interrupted by others walking in? Are you free from other possible distractions such as your phone?

Make sure that you set aside enough time for your conversation, after all you don’t know what it may bring up and having to cut your child short because 'you have somewhere to be' may feed into your child’s ideas that ‘no-one cares or has time for me’.


Is this the right place to have the conversation. Over a kitchen table or in a busy shopping centre will probably not lend itself to your child sharing sensitive information so make sure you pick a location free from prying eyes and potential eavesdroppers.

C is for CHILD

Is this the right approach for this particular child? There is no one size fits all when it comes to having a conversation. What works for your 6 year old will not necessarily work for another 6 year old. The language you use for a 16 year old will be more akin to what you would use for an adult whereas with a younger child your language is likely to be a lot simpler.

Think about their interests. Whilst the most appropriate place to strike up a conversation with your 6 year old daughter may be over role play with her Powerpuff girls, it might be more appropriate to strike up a conversation with your 16 year old daughter over a mother-daughter pamper session.

If your son hates football, then taking him for a kick about to 'have the conversation' will immediately arouse suspicion whilst having a conversation camped out in his bedroom and joining him for a game of Mindcraft may be more familiar territory. Having your child distracted on a task that they enjoy or would ordinarily take part in will make it more likely for them to open up to you more naturally.  

>> For more information please visit Dr Sarah Vohra's website The Mind Medic


Dr Sarah Zohra

Mental Health in Children and Young People: Spotting Symptoms and Seeking Help Early by Dr Sarah Zohra from Amazon

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Discuss this story

Great post! Thanks for discussion about this great topic, I really liked this concept because its very important for every parents to care about their child mental health, its help those child opened up more quickly. I am totally agree with this post and appreciate you for sharing this excellent article. Anyway I am Justin an professional writer at Edubirdie. I am specially providing assignment writing for students. So If any people are interested to do my assignment now Then you should contact me, I ensure you all of their writing quality. I am also helping others kind of academic writing for students, like essay, dissertation, thesis paper, etc.

Posted: 21/06/2018 at 02:47

Thank you for sharing the post. These days, reading the stories of little boys and girls ending their life but nobody has an idea hurt my heart. They tell no one about their problems, hide the tears, put smile on their face... it hurts me too much. I hope they told someone about their pain, tell someone who can help them. I'm a parent myself, I'm really scared, what if... Thank you for sharing this post.
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Posted: 22/06/2018 at 07:02

Mental health in children and young people is very important nowadays. Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.wireless printer troubleshooting

Posted: 25/06/2018 at 10:43

great post thanks for sharing

Posted: 07/07/2018 at 12:22

I totally agree with this post and appreciate you for sharing this excellent article. Maria

Posted: 07/07/2018 at 12:23

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