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Our Mental Health Blogs

Parenting Lessons: Focus on the Small Victories

Parenting Lessons: Focus on the Small Victories

Focus on the small victories? What does that mean? It means that you need to focus on the little things rather than the big ones. For parents of a child with mental illness, it is often hard to see the little things; to notice the small wins that kids have. Especially children who act out or have frequent behavioral problems. Bob recently had an issue at school and I was reminded of something that happened with my father. I chose to focus on small victories. And this focus helped Bob.

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Children with Mental Illness: The Spring-and-Fall Phenomenon

Children with Mental Illness: The Spring-and-Fall Phenomenon

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but mine is literally blossoming with signs of Spring. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming–we even dug the lawn mower out of hiding yesterday.

With the return of Daylight Savings Time and April 1 less than a week away, I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers, wondering–Will Bob’s psychiatric symptoms get worse in the next few months, or do we have them well enough under control?

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Child’s Understanding of Mental Illness Improves with Age

Child’s Understanding of Mental Illness Improves with Age

December is, and always has been, a difficult month for Bob. It’s tough for him to wake up in the morning, and hard for him to get to sleep at night. He “thinks too much” (in his words), and often finds himself getting sad and teary-eyed. And his schoolwork? Don’t even ask.

I’ve known Bob’s mood takes a downturn in late Fall for a few years now. This year, it appearshe recognizes this aspect of his bipolar disorder diagnosis, as well.

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Holiday Gatherings Can Cause Added Stress for Mentally Ill Children and Parents

Holiday Gatherings Can Cause Added Stress for Mentally Ill Children and Parents

I was almost looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. We had a pretty uneventful holiday planned–Bob would be at his father’s house until Saturday evening, and my large, loud extended family had opted for a smaller gathering on Saturday (just my parents, siblings, and assorted nieces).

Until Bob caught wind of this plan, and asked to come home early so he could go to his grandparents’ house with us. And then I discovered it was not to be an intimate gathering (or as “intimate” as it gets with four siblings, their spouses, and 7 grandchildren); it would be the whole family–aunts, uncles, ad nauseum–totalling 28 people.

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Medication Side Effects Troublesome for Mentally Ill Children and Parents

Medication Side Effects Troublesome for Mentally Ill Children and Parents

When your child has a psychiatric illness, your plate fills rather quickly–psychiatrist appointments, therapist appointments, IEP meetings, trips to the pharmacy and the never-ending juggling of prescription medications. But there are other things crowding the china–things like medication side effects–we may have no idea how to handle, even if we feel we’ve “mastered” all there is to know about our child’s diagnosis.

Children with mental illness experience myriad side effects that create even more problems for them and their parents; one in particular has hit us the hardest. In our house, the most persistent medication side effect is bedwetting. And it’s driving us all crazy.

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Teaching Experience Exposes School Issues for Mentally Ill Children (Part 2)

Teaching Experience Exposes School Issues for Mentally Ill Children (Part 2)

(continued from Part 1)

I spent Tuesday afternoon with a delightful group of first-graders, at a school more like Bob’s–middle-class, mostly native English-speakers. This class had only one Bob–a little girl I’ll call “Bonnie”–but that wasn’t the only contrast from Tuesday.

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Parent Guilt, Frustration Responsible for Dreams of Abusing Mentally Ill Child?

Parent Guilt, Frustration Responsible for Dreams of Abusing Mentally Ill Child?

Sometimes, my frustration at Bob gets the better of me, and I hit him. Or pull his hair, or pinch him, or kick him, or any of a number of physically abusive gestures.

Fortunately, he’s usually asleep during these attacks–and so am I–because it only happens in my dreams.

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Odd Man Out–Mental Illness and Family Dynamics

Odd Man Out–Mental Illness and Family Dynamics

Bob came home last night after spending a week at his father’s house.

There were no ticker-tape parades or confetti. We usually try to keep his returns low-key because of his problems with transitions, but last night felt different, because I’m not sure any of us were too excited about his homecoming.

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Parents Look to Other Parents When Professionals Fail to Provide Comfort

Parents Look to Other Parents When Professionals Fail to Provide Comfort

I don’t trust celebrity parents when it comes to parenting advice. Color me cynical, but I just don’t think Angelina Jolie is any authority on potty-training anymore than Madonna would be on talking to your child about sex.

But you know what they say about desperate times calling for desperate measures.

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Co-morbidity–Muddying the Waters of Childhood Psychiatric Illness

Co-morbidity–Muddying the Waters of Childhood Psychiatric Illness

Comorbidity. Interesting word, isn’t it? If you were new to the English language and without your dictionary, you might guess it to mean something like “dying together.”

And you wouldn’t be altogether inaccurate.

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