The moment my 12-year-old son ran out the front door, I locked it. The temperature that evening was 17 degrees. Bob was wearing basketball shorts, a tank top and no shoes. Earlier he was playing with knives and making threats. My mind struggled as he banged on the door begging me to let him in. Finally, I unlocked the back door to the basement and told him to go around the house. He slept downstairs (behind a locked door) while my family slept safely upstairs. The next day Bob was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Keep reading »

On Parenting a Child with a Mental Illness

Hello, my name is Christina Halli. I am excited to join HealthyPlace writing Life with Bob. I can tell you parenting a child with mental illness is tough, one of the hardest things I have done. Keep reading »

Hiya readers. Moving can be a challenge. It can stress you out. It is hard to leave something behind and scary to face a different future. At some point, all of us – parents and children – go through this. For kids, it can be moving on from one grade to another, one classroom to another or even from one subject to another. For parents, it can be moving on from one job to another or from being a parent to parenting a child with mental illness. Transitions are hard, but they happen to all of us.

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April is Stress Awareness Month according to Stress is common to all people, but it is especially challenging for a child with mental illness. I know how stress affects me, but I can also tell when it affects Bob. Parenting a child with mental illness also means dealing with stress as a trigger instead of being a by-product. Here are some tips to help your child with mental illness. Keep reading »

Stress is common for any parent, especially when parenting a child with mental illness. But did you know that stress affects kids, too? According to, April 16th is National Stress Awareness Day. The Center for Disease Control states that “stress is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of physical or emotional tension. It is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious. Stress can be positive (e.g., preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g., dealing with a natural disaster).”

Kids experience stress due to school, home and other on-going events. But, in my work I have found that kids with mental illness are very sensitive to stress. Even the positive stress that most kids deal with at home or in school. Here are some tips to help you to parent a child with a mental illness dealing with stress. Keep reading »

Parenting a mentally ill child is not easy, but it becomes more challenging when major life changes happen. Your child may overreact to small changes and much more so over big ones. Major life changes can include switching schools, moving or having a new sibling. How you present major life changes can drastically improve your child’s reaction to it. Here are some tips below to help you prepare a mentally ill child for a life change. Keep reading »

You’re only human. As I watched one of my favorite television shows, Dancing with the Stars, I was reminded of this – I’m only human. The song, Human, written by Christina Perri & Martin Johnson, touched my heart from the first moment I heard it during a commercial for another one of my favorite shows, The Little Couple. It reminded me of so many things, most importantly, that we’re only human. Listening to the song on the show, I was brought to tears as I thought of so many things. Keep reading »

Today I read an article introducing me to positive psychology. The article was co-written by Martin P. Seligman who proposed looking at a person’s strengths rather than weaknesses. When you apply this to a special needs child, it is about playing to the child’s strengths.

Both personally and professionally, I find that there are several benefits to playing to your child’s strengths. Check them out below. Keep reading »

The decision to medicate your child for a mental illness is often an agonizing one. Many parents that I work with struggle to find the balance between dealing with their child’s behaviors themselves and letting someone help them. Often times, the act of asking for help is a challenge. Medicating a child is not the easiest decision to make for some parents while for others it is the easiest thing to do. As a parent who does choose to medicate my child, I have to say that medication in and of itself, does not resolve behavior issues. Yes, medication does help, but I believe it to be a last resort option. Below are descriptions of some of the parents I’ve worked with. So would you choose to medicate or not to medicate your child for a mental illness? Keep reading »

Recently, I wrote about motivation and the special needs child. The hardest thing to do while parenting a child with mental illness is to encourage motivation when we want it. Instead, parents find themselves battling their children to get them to do what Mom & Dad want them to do. I liken this to swimming against the current. If we look at our children as the ocean, we can see how swimming against the tide will do nothing but waste our time and energy. Not to mention frustrating us parents to no end. In my work, I’ve found one step helps in keeping special needs children motivated: let them volunteer. Keep reading »