Children Should Be Happy, But some of them Aren’t

Children are fun, children are silly, children are full of joy, children are always happy. Children run around without a care in the world.

That’s what we like to think anyway.

It’s too hard to think of them in any other way. Children are meant to live in a carefree world of imagination and games, discovery and adventure.

But what you don’t know is that boy who just passed you on the escalator, he may look like any other teenager, shopping with his mates on a Saturday. But he harms himself in his room, when his parents think he is studying for his exams.

It’s the only way he can feel real pain, the way he thinks he deserves to feel pain.

And the child waiting at the ice-cream van clutching her mother’s hand? She found it hard to walk down the stairs today. Those once powerful legs that used to charge around the hockey pitch are so weak now, because she often doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed.

This trip has taken every ounce of her mother’s persuasion to get her to face the outside world. And all the time she is out, her young head is feverish with panic.

What about that twelve year old boy, kicking his ball in the park? He feels utterly alone. He has not made friends at his secondary school. He doesn’t like sport and gets teased for his love of poetry and pottery.

Nasty comments have been posted on his Instagram page. He doesn’t know where to turn and his head is full of despair and desperation. What is the point in him anyway? Maybe the other kids at school are right…

That little girl sitting on the bench with her mum, was once so outgoing and bubbly. She used to love nothing more than to surround herself with her friends. Her mother now scolds herself for ever telling her child to keep the noise down, for getting irritated by the shrieks of laughter from behind her bedroom door.

How she wishes she could hear those shrieks of laughter now. Her daughter refuses to see anyone. Not even her best friend. The once bubbly girl is a shell of her former self. She can’t be the person she once was for those friends, the person she thinks she should be for them. Her mum can tell her again and again that they won’t care, they just want to see her. But she is ten. And she does care.

The sweet child who sits with her daddy in the café, drinking a milkshake? Most evenings she thrashes around and yells furiously that she can’t go on like this, she can’t take another day feeling this way. She sees no reason to live. And nobody understands. Why can’t her parents fix this? They are meant to fix everything.

Eventually she crashes with exhaustion. Her body heaving with sobs. Collapsing into her mother, who rocks her gently as she whispers in her ear that everything will be alright.

This week marks Children’s Mental Health Week, but that doesn’t hold much meaning to these children. Nothing holds much meaning to them right now. They are struggling to see the point in much of the world around them.

So, what can we do?

As friends, teachers, sisters, brothers, cousins, grandparents, we can show kindness and warmth.

As parents, all we can do is hold them, when they let us. Tell them it will be OK, they will get there and the dark clouds will part.

The sunshine is forever there, above those clouds. They just can’t see it yet. But one day, it will gleam through again and dazzle them with its light and hope, because there is hope.

We just need them to catch a glimpse of it.

 

Children’s Mental Health Week takes places from the 6th – 12th February 2017, and is organised by the charity Place2Be. This year the aim of the week is to encourage everyone – adults and children alike – to spread a little kindness.

 

As featured in Huffington Post.

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38 Comments

  1. February 9, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    A great thought provoking post. It is sad to think that our children can be affected by mental health issues and lose the freedom and joy that childhood brings. There can never be enough kindness in the world. #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 9, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      It is sad, and from personal experience so heart breaking to see. But making people more aware can only help and kindness really matters. Thx for the comment #globalblogging

  2. February 11, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    I love to think that my children are and will always be these happy little souls but we need to accept and acknowledge that that isn’t the case and we can be there to help x #brillblogposts

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 19, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Sadly it’s not always the case but we can offer love, support and kindness. Thx for the comment x #brillblogposts

  3. February 12, 2017 / 2:41 am

    This post made my heart so sad at first. There are so many children out there that need love. Sadly we cannot save them all, but we can start with one. Nothing is more beautiful than a child’s laughter. A great reminder! #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 19, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      What a lovely comment, and so true. We can show love and kindness and support. Thx for reading x #globalblogging

  4. February 12, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    My kids are still babies but this haunts me that one day we all could be facing this. Great post #postsfromtheheart

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 19, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      I know, it’s a horrible thought but something that is unfortunately very much an issue for many children. Thx for the comment x #postsfromtheheart

  5. February 15, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    A brilliant post. It pulls at my heartstrings and makes me wonder what I can do and what more I should be doing.
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 19, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      It’s too much to bear thinking of little people suffering but I guess all we can do is support and offer kindness. Thanks for the lovely comment. #ablogginggoodtime xx

  6. February 21, 2017 / 12:48 am

    Kindness and warmth, sounds simple to me, something we are all capable of. #bigpinklink

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 21, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      Absolutely, and support. So many children are suffering from mental health issues unfortunately so kindness can only help. Thanks for the comment #bigpinklink x

  7. February 22, 2017 / 10:05 am

    This brought a tear to my eye. The thought that any one of those children could one day be our children… Children’s mental health is something I feel so passionate about, so I’m loving that it’s being spoken bout more and more. #BloggerClubUK

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 23, 2017 / 2:44 pm

      Thanks for reading Aleena and for commenting. Children’s mental health is an issue that is very close to my heart, and it’s so good to hear more and more people talking about it and becoming more aware.x

  8. February 25, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    Beautifully written and a subject close to my heart, one that needs a lot more coverage and more people to talk about it, so thank you for writing this and thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 25, 2017 / 10:43 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment. It’s a subject very close to my heart too but I’m just so pleased people are talking about it more. Awareness is so important. You never know when it’ll happen to your children. Thank you for reading xx

  9. March 2, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    We have a pandemic of social anxiety and depression here in Australia, and young people suffer greatly from it. It’s very hard to make sure people are getting the help they need. But talking about it is surely the first step. #StayClassyMama

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 3, 2017 / 12:10 am

      Talking is definitely the first step. Sharing and support can only help these youngsters and making them realise they are not alone. Thanks for your comment Lydia.

  10. webmdiva
    March 3, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Bravo for talking about this! We take for granted that all kids are happy. But you’re right. They all aren’t. It’s a sad truth. Sigh.

    #StayClassyMama (I love your blog name, by the way!)

  11. March 4, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Brilliant post you #stayclassymama. It is so important that we, the caregivvers, the nurturers, know how our words can be sticky in the worst of ways. We need to step back and listen to how we sound to the sweet, impressionable youth we have birthed. Great post. TY! xoxo

  12. March 6, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    This is indeed one of my worst fears for my children. I just can’t imagine them going through some of those scenarios you described. Such a powerful post. thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 6, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      Sadly it’s all too common among young people but we can raise awareness and offer them support. Thx for commenting #stayclassymama

  13. March 27, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    You are right, it is sometimes harder to accept in young people “they have no reason to be sad”…but I remember my sister being a very anxious child and my friend now is facing anxiety in her kid too. Its so common and so much responsibility for us to keep an eye and offer them the love and support they need to get through rocky patches. Whatever their ages x #marvmondays x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 27, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      Anxiety in children unfortunately is very much an issue, and some obviously suffer more than others. It shouldn’t be like that when we think of children all being carefree but not all of them feel like that sadly. We can be kind and offer love and support as you say. Thx for your thoughtful comment x

  14. April 5, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    What an important thing to remember! I think as adults we’re probably better at this than kids are at spotting problems with their friends. I get fed up of hearing about the low level bullying at my eldest’s school – he calls it ‘banter’. If that is aimed at kids who are a little bit vulnerable mentally, I do worry about what it is doing to them.
    #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 8, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      I agree, some kids can deal with that kind of banter and it’s like water off a duck’s back, but the more sensitive among them may be finding it really hard to deal with and struggling. We can only hope they talk to people who’ll listen, and we can teach our kids to always be kind. Thx for reading and commenting x

  15. April 10, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    This is such a powerful post. We none of us know what’s going on behind the scenes or in someone else’s mind and as parents that’s so very hard #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 13, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      It is very hard especially when we see our kids suffering and all we want to see is them being carefree kids, as they should be. Thx for reading and commenting x

  16. April 12, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    This is a beautifully written and powerful post. It made me stop and think. I agree as parents we need to be a solid loving presence that could be the only stability they have in a rapidly changing world. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  17. April 17, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Hi Susie, I remember this post from earlier and loving the power of the message even more the second time around. Thanks for linking it with TweensTeensBeyond

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 19, 2017 / 8:51 am

      Thanks Jo. I’m glad it seems more powerful the second time you read it. It’s great that high profile people such as Prince Harry are speaking out about mental health at the moment, the more awareness the better. Thx for commenting xx

  18. April 18, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    A great post Susie. One that makes us stop and think and also feel very sad. Very relevant too this week and I’m hoping that Prince Harry speaking out on mental illness and how it can spill into adulthood will raise more awareness around this subject. Thanks so much for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 19, 2017 / 8:48 am

      It’s great that the likes of Prince Harry and high profile people are speaking out about mental health issues, as it’s an area that needs a lot of awareness. And we mustn’t forget that children can suffer too. Thx for commenting Nicky xx

  19. June 8, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    So sad to imagine your children, or anyone’s for that matter struggling with mental health issues – such a moving piece of writing.

    Thanks so much for raising such an important issue with #coolmumclub

  20. June 9, 2017 / 6:50 am

    This post hit very close to home for me, My two eldest are on the autism spectrum and struggle with anxiety every day. It’s so true, you often don’t see or even realise what’s going on in young minds. A great reminder for all of us to be kind and accepting of our kids x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      June 12, 2017 / 9:38 am

      Thank you for sharing your experience with our own two children. I think people don’t want to face the fact that sadly some children are struggling, because we all wrongly presume all children ought to be happy and carefree. In a perfect world they would be, but we can support those who unfortunately are not. Thx for reading xx

  21. talkingmums1
    June 11, 2017 / 7:34 am

    Such a sad thought but something we all need to be mindful of. I try as much as possible to keep open communication with my kids and show them kindness and warmth. Lots of pressure on kids these days x
    #coolmumclub

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      June 12, 2017 / 8:48 am

      It is an area that we don’t like to think about because children are meant to be carefree and happy, and it’s uncomfortable to think that this may not always be the case. Hopefully awareness is rising though. Thx for commenting x

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