April is Stress Awareness Month according to Brownielocks.com. 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 BrownieLocks.com, 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 »

Motivation, where does it come from? Sometimes, I think about my own motivation, or lack thereof, and wonder what inspires me to push ahead. According to Dictionary.com, motivation is the act or reason for behaving in a particular way. In my work as a therapist, I see children who are motivated by different things. Some are motivated by positive statements, others are motivated by being needy and still others are motivated by negative attention. For special needs children, or anyone else, motivation is no different. Keep reading »

Sometimes, the parents I’ve worked with underestimate their children with with mental illnesses. They can find it hard to see the little victories and tend to only see the negative things. As a parent, I have been there. When Bob was struggling in school thanks to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and I received complaints from the teacher or spent hours nagging him to finish his homework (until his tears of frustration came), it was SO very hard to see the positive things. But, there are days like today, when Bob surprises me. Keep reading »

As I thought about what to share in this post, I thought about how words matter. But, along with being careful about our words, we need to have faith. Faith is something more connected to spirituality or religion. But, I’m not talking about that kind of faith. I’m talking about the kind of faith that encourages people to be at their best and do their best. Keep reading »