Raising Children with Mental Illness
First things first, let’s just talk about the stigma that comes with raising children with mental illnesses. When children act out or have explosive and unpredictable behaviors, others may see it as the product of poor parenting, so parents often remain silent about these issues. We need to be able to talk about these things more openly and receive compassion, understanding and empathy in return. Until that happens let’s discuss how you can receive support in a nonjudgmental environment.
The first step in helping a child living with a mental illness is by taking notice of your children’s moods, behaviors, and emotions. Early intervention is critical because mental health conditions often get worse without any kind of treatment. If you think you are noticing symptoms that cause your child/family distress, call and make an appointment with a mental health professional to have your child properly evaluated. It can actually be a relief to have an explanation for symptoms that can often look like “bad” behavior in a child. After the evaluation and you know what you are looking for, explore all of your options available to meet your child’s and family’s needs. Check your local library, community organizations, and yellow page sections in the phone book. A large amount of information can also be found online.
Parents will often question their abilities as a parent. However, your child’s mental illness is not necessarily a consequence of your parenting, but rather a condition of how his or her brain is wired. Consistent and effective parenting can increase your child’s chance for success. Your child might need extra support from your family. Living with a child with a mental illness is not only stressful on the child, but the family members as well. If this is the case, family therapy is an option available to help families work together more effectively.
Raising a child who has a mental health condition can be stressful and overwhelming and it is unrealistic to think you have to be quiet and suffer in silence with your child’s symptoms. Ultimately, you decide what help is needed and where you want to go for it. Help is available and you do not have to manage it on your own. We at Aspire Counseling, LLC are dedicated to serving children, parents, and families in and near Hutchinson. If you want to talk more about how we can help, please contact us today.