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Our Mental Health Blogs

Childhood ADHD and Lying: Be Careful What You Punish

Childhood ADHD and Lying: Be Careful What You Punish

The child with ADHD may use lying as a way to deal with shame over being unable to meet expectations. Discipline gets tricky. Here's something to think about.

Of all behaviors associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lying is one of the more frustrating. My son’s therapist recently reminded me of something important, though. Lying serves a purpose, and punishing our children with mental illness for the lie itself may mean we’re missing the underlying issue all-together.

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Both Sides of Bullying Affect Children with Mental Illness

Both Sides of Bullying Affect Children with Mental Illness

Both sides of bullying affect children with mental illness. Their behaviors make them a target and, sometimes, make them the bully. So what is a parent to do?

My children start school this week, so I’m back to worrying about both sides of bullying. As a parent of a child with mental illness, who is not going to be mainstreamed this year, the fear is real. Will he be bullied for being “special ed”, or will his behaviors make him the bully? I tell myself that, if I can just get him through adolescence, he’ll be okay. In the meantime, though, how do I manage when I understand that both sides of bullying could affect my child’s school year?

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Create Mental Health Safety Contracts for Teens with Bipolar

Create Mental Health Safety Contracts for Teens with Bipolar

A mental health safety contract can save your child from herself. Mental health safety contracts can prevent suicide and other dangerous behaviors. Here's how.

My daughter and I have a mental health safety contract. She violated the conditions of the contract, and I had to call the police. Since my daughter and I have used mental health safety contracts since she was a teenager, we both understood the rules. By having a mental health safety contract, I took what could have been a volatile, extended fight with my adult child with bipolar disorder and turned it into a straightforward contractual arrangement. It made a difficult situation easier.

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No, My Child Does Not Have PANDAS, He Has a Mental Illness

No, My Child Does Not Have PANDAS, He Has a Mental Illness

PANDAS symptoms resemble signs of some mental illnesses. People sometimes insist my son has PANDAS, but that only stigmatizes a mentally ill child. Here's why.Well-intentioned people often suggest that my child with mental illness isn’t actually mentally ill. They insist he has an underlying medical condition. Lately, it’s pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS). To those who interject these suggestions without invitation into a conversation about mental illness, know it can be more harmful than you think.

Note: I am not an “expert”, nor am I writing this in a professional capacity. I am a parent on my own journey, which is where this blog comes from.

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Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency plans for mental health crises help you help your child. Find out how to prepare and emergency plan for psychiatric crises here.

According to our emergency plan for mental health crises, I had to call the police. After melting down for an hour, my daughter with bipolar disorder had locked herself in the bathroom threatening to kill herself. Knowing the signs of suicide, my daughter and I (with the help of her therapist) had created a safety contract—she violated it by locking herself away from me—I had to call according to the emergency plan for mental health crises.

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Give Balance to Siblings of a Child with Mental Illness

Give Balance to Siblings of a Child with Mental Illness

Siblings of a child with mental illness can get lost in the fray, and that's a top worry for parents. Here's what can happen and tips to help balance it out.Siblings of a child with mental illness don’t have it easy. Managing children is a balancing act. Throw in mental illness, and that balance disappears. Sadly, this doesn’t usually favor the child without the mental illness. I have many fears for my younger daughter who often lives in the shadow of her brother’s behavior disorder. I’m betting many parents like me have the same fears for the siblings of a child with mental illness.

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Coping with Your Child’s DMDD Outbursts and the Aftermath

Coping with Your Child’s DMDD Outbursts and the Aftermath

A child's DMDD outbursts exhausts the whole family. Is there a way to manage these intense DMDD outbursts to reduce the stress on the family? Try these ideas.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) outbursts erupt multiple times a week because a child with DMDD is persistently angry and irritable. DMDD outbursts are tantrums that are way out of proportion to the situation. As parents, they are tough to watch, but preventing them seems impossible. Keeping everyone in the family safe is a priority, and when it’s all over, DMDD outbursts leave your family emotionally exhausted.

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Mental Health Screenings in Schools Should Be More Inclusive

Mental Health Screenings in Schools Should Be More Inclusive

Early mental health screenings in schools catch problems like autism, but miss most other mental illnesses. Many kids can't access the programs they deserve.While mental health screenings in school may take place, they need to be more inclusive. Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and childhood mental illnesses like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can look similar on the outside, the way they’re treated in schools looks different. From the perspective of a parent of a child with mental illness, they seem like unfairly disparate worlds. It makes me think of the need for inclusivity in school mental health screenings.

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School Refusal and Your Child With Mental Illness

School Refusal and Your Child With Mental Illness

School refusal happens in families with kids who live with mental illness. School refusal is a nightmare. Learn more about how to handle school refusal.For a child with mental illness, school refusal can be common. School can be anxiety-provoking for children with mental illnesses (School Anxiety in Children: Signs, Causes, Treatments). School refusal is anxiety-provoking for parents. Working parents have the added layer of inflexible timelines. Being late to work daily may get them fired, and the employer doesn’t necessarily care about our struggles with our children. So what can we do as parents to get our mentally ill children past school refusal?

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Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), relatively new to childhood diagnoses, may explain your child's terrifying outbursts. Could it be DMDD?Most people don’t know what life with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is like. But if your child is perpetually angry and irritable or you walk on eggshells for fear of triggering terrifying outbursts, these behaviors may point to disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, a childhood mood disorder that can lead a child and his or her parents on a scary and frustrating journey.

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