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Guide to Parenting a Child with A Mental Illness
From acting as a maid, cook, chauffeur, and a pediatrician, raising a child is far from easy.
Although parenting is difficult no matter what, having a child with a mental illness can be even more challenging and trying. At Banyan Mental Health, we work with various young adults who struggle with their mental health, but we understand that being a parent of one of these children is even more demanding.
Tips For Raising A Child With A Mental IllnessUnfortunately, there is no official manual on having a child with a mental illness and parenting, but as a Boca residential mental health center, we know a thing or two about mental health disorders. Follow these tips on parenting a child with a mental illness to make the lives of both you and your child easier.
Be patient. Many people think that someone can simply snap out of depression or overcome their anxiety, but this is not the case. Mental health problems are disorders that can alter the brain and often require formal treatment in order to see improvements.
Do your research. The best way to help a child with a mental health disorder is to make sure you understand it for yourself. There are plenty of resources out there. Ask your child’s doctor questions. Find books on the topic. Do research online. Our mental health blog may also be able to help.
Teach your child. Especially if they are younger, they may not understand what is going on. They are probably already curious so take the time to explain to them their disorder, their symptoms, and why it is happening. Answer any of their questions as well. The more your child understands their mental illness, the more likely they will be able to recognize if their symptoms get worse and ask for help.
Inform others as necessary. As much as you may want to, you cannot be with your child 24/7 nor should you. If your child is younger, make sure their school or caretakers are aware of their disorder and any red flags to look out for. If they are older, you should trust that your adult child will tell those who need to know.
Don’t ignore their symptoms. Parenting a child with a mental illness can be confusing, but if something seems amiss, do not dismiss it. Pay attention to your child’s mental illness symptoms. If they suddenly seem worse or more severe, it may be a sign that their treatment needs to change, or they are not taking their medicine. Get them help now before matters get worse.
Get them professional help. As a parent, it can be hard to deal with the fact that you cannot fix everything for your child, but you can get them the help they need. Especially for older adults who may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their poor mental health, treatment is even more important. A dual diagnosis program in South Florida like ours may even save your child’s life.
How to Cope with A Mentally Ill ChildAlthough parenting a child with a mental illness puts a large focus on the well-being of your child, don’t forget about yourself. The only way you can be the best parent for your struggling child is by taking care of yourself.
There are many ways to cope with a mentally ill child including:
- Joining a support group
- Participating in therapy
- Asking for help
- Taking time for yourself on a regular basis
- Getting away on occasion
- Becoming an advocate
As a parent, you only want what is best for your child. Get your child the professional mental health care they deserve at Banyan Mental Health.
To learn more about our facilities and various programs, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 888-280-4763.
- Clinical-Depression.co.uk - Depression and dreaming
- Healthline - How Much Deep, Light, and REM Sleep Do You Need?
- Netflix - The Mind Explained
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine - Depression and insomnia are strongest risk factors for frequent nightmares