It’s important to know how to manage your child’s problem behaviors caused by mental illness when you’re not there. When your child struggles with mental illness, going into public can be terrifying. More terrifying is wondering what your child is doing in public when you’re not there (Parenting Children with Behavior Problems). One of my son’s diagnoses is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I’ll discuss more specifics about parenting children with ADHD throughout March, but for now, just know that ADHD sometimes makes children socially awkward and they display problem behaviors that you need to manage even when you’re not there.
Problem Behaviors Also Happen When You’re Not There
During a parenting group at one of my son’s behavior programs, I came to a realization. It isn’t my son’s mental illness that causes me the most fear. Yes, there are scary parts of it, but there are also amazing parts of it. It’s my opinion that kids with ADHD perceive life in multi-faceted, imaginative, amazing tones that the rest of us can’t fathom. I love that my son isn’t “normal.” As Coco Chanel once said, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
Whatever his struggles, my son is definitely irreplaceable.
My biggest fear is that no one else will see it this way. I can manage ADHD tantrums, but can his teachers? I can patiently parent him through immature social skills, but how long will his friends deal with him being a sore loser or being unable to share? What happens when he’s no longer a little boy but a teenager and he has a violent outburst near the police?
Tools for Kids with Problem Behavior
You can’t be there for your child all the time. You need to know how to manage your child’s problem behavior due to mental illness even when you’re not there. Your main goal as a parent, then, is to provide tools for your child with a mental illness to use to self-regulate, self-control, and self-soothe (30 Tips on Managing Attention Deficit Disorder at Home). You want them to be that amazing kid you know they are, even when you’re not around to deflect some of the less amazing traits. Other children may naturally develop social skills, but our children with mental illnesses sometimes develop more slowly. Sometimes, their illnesses prevent them from developing these skills on their own at all (Help Your Child With Mature Social Skills, Better Self-Control).
My videos moving forward will focus on tips and tools you can provide your child to use at home, school, or in the community to help them cope and manage their behavior problems. Check out the video below regarding 3 tools my son currently uses in school (i.e. fidgets distract him from anger).
Until next time, remember this second awesome quote from Marilyn Monroe:
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.