Parenting is a difficult job. Add to that a mental illness and parenting becomes very tricky. What do you do when you just want to crawl back in bed? If you have the time, then crawl right in, but I’m betting that you don’t have the time. Which means you’re going to have to face that wicked old world on your own.

How do you parent while having a mental illness episode? I think honesty is the best policy and, if your kids are old enough, you should tell them about your mental illness an how it manifests itself. Some other tips from PyschCentral:

  • focus on the whole family—pay attention to each other’s well being
  • engage in treatment (modeling smart choices)
  • connect with others (have a support system helps provide consistency
  • create a Crisis Plan
  • enroll kids in activities (gives kids another opportunity to connect with healthy peers and adults
  • attend to your needs
  • give the best time to your kids
  • recognize your strengths
  • practice your passions

If you have a very young child (10 or less) you can tell them you’re not feeling well and not go into why. An older child can handle hearing about your mental illness and your needs during episodes.

Weather permitting, this is great time to go to a park and get some sunshine and helps burn off some of that toddler energy.

Anne Theriault said, “When you live with depression or anxiety, there are two things that are incredibly important: self-care and a solid support network.”

For more information on self-care, see: https://www.mentallyinteresting.com/self-care-plan. As for building a support network, start with your family and add friends and professionals as you find them. A support network is vital for keeping you accountable, present and supported.

You might consider starting a “Mom’s Club” where you and other parents can get together at a playground.  Just hearing stories from the other moms will make you feel better about your parenting.

If you have a very young child (10 or less) you can tell them you’re not feeling well and not go into why. An older child can handle hearing about your mental illness and your needs during episodes.

 

Then there are the times that you put a video in/turn the tv on to provide some distraction for your kids while you deal with your illness.

Weather permitting, this is great time to go to a park and get some sunshine and helps burn off some of that toddler energy.

Anne Theriault said, “When you live with depression or anxiety, there are two things that are incredibly important: self-care and a solid support network,

For more information on self-care, see: https://www.mentallyinteresting.com/self-care-plan. As for building a support network, start with your family and add friends and professionals as you find them. A support network is vital for keeping you acountable, present and supported.

A great resource for kids is Children of Parents With a Mental Ilness, copmi.net.au/parenting with a mental illness.

There are five things you can do to ensure the success of your child:

  • Tell them its not their fault;
  • Ensure them that they aren’t alone;
  • You deserve a break–be kind to yourself.
  • You aren’t your parent
  • Your story can have a happy ending.

There are several other things you can do to ensure your child’s mental health.  First, make sure they have access to a reliable, consistent and caring parents or other adult they can talk to.  Second, provide your children with a full explanation of your illness (depending on age and maturity).  Third, encourage and support your child in their everyday routine.

Openness and honesty are your best bets when it comes to telling your kids about your mental illness.  If you’re having an episode, see if they can spend time with another mom and child.

 

SOURCES:

Children of Parents With a Mental Illness, copmi.net.au/parenting-with-a-mental-illness

http://www.psychcentral.com/lib/tips

“Mental Health and Growing Up Factsheet”, rcpsych.au.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyoung people/parentscarers/parental mental illness

Bethany Ramos, “5 Powerful Truths for Every Child of a Mentally Ill Parent”.  May 3, 2016, http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/

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