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Our Mental Health Blogs

Mental Health Setbacks for Children with ADHD Will Happen

Mental Health Setbacks for Children with ADHD Will Happen

Mental health setbacks are a natural part of mental illnesses such as ADHD and DMDD. When mental health setbacks happen, you can make it a learning experience.

You can sometimes predict that a mental health setback will happen, but still, when it happens, a mental health setback seems to come out of nowhere. I got a call from school staff this morning saying that my son was disrupting the class. He had been out of his seat, kicking chairs, and refusing to do work. In the background of the call, I could hear his teacher attempting multiplication lessons while the paraprofessional explained quietly that my son was now on the floor, unmovable and unresponsive to everybody. He was no longer allowed on Friday’s field trip. The staff put the phone to my son’s ear so I could try to talk him, but he hung up on me instead. After months of doing amazingly well at school and home, this was definitely a mental health setback.

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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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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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How to Advocate for an Individualized Education Plan

How to Advocate for an Individualized Education Plan

Parents must advocate for an individualized education plan (IEP) for their children living with mental illness. Here's how parents can request accommodations.Advocating for an individualized education plan for your child can be challenging. If your child has a mental illness that interferes with their learning at school, your child has a disability. This means your child has the right to accommodations. One way to get those is through an individualized education plan (IEP). This document encompasses interventions and legal protections for your child. It is your sidekick in advocating at school–the Robin to your Batman. Below are steps to take to advocate for an individualized education plan for your child.

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What Works When Disciplining a Child with Mental Illness

What Works When Disciplining a Child with Mental Illness

Parents struggle when disciplining a child with mental illness at home and school. This story talks about what discipline works for a child with mental illness.

As parents of children with mental illness, we witness extremely bad behavior. We know it is not okay to be disrespectful or put holes in walls. Yet, traditional discipline methods don’t work. We become desperate for effective parenting tools for our kids (The Challenge of Difficult Children Homepage). The key is to understand what is driving the bad behavior. Is it the kid or the mental illness?

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Mentally Ill Youth in the Legal System

Mentally Ill Youth in the Legal System

I worry my son will end up in jail. This is ironic because my son is a rigid rule follower. He attends a small college prep high school and plays basketball. He’s a good kid. But, he’s a good kid with a serious mental illness.

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My Mentally Ill Child and School Refusal

My Mentally Ill Child and School Refusal

School refusal is the most arduous test I’ve encountered while parenting my mentally ill son. Middle school is difficult for most adolescents. Seventh grade was the worst year for me and my son Bob. That is the year he refused to go to school.

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Having a Mental Illness Causes Stress for Your Child

Having a Mental Illness Causes Stress for Your Child

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.

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Advocating for Your Special Needs Child in 3 Steps

Advocating for Your Special Needs Child in 3 Steps

Advocating for your special needs child is challenging for many reasons. Some of the parents that I work with have great difficulty with stepping out of their comfort zones to get the best services for their children. One parent I worked with in the past was so anxious that she had trouble seeing that she had the power to make decisions for her son’s well-being.  So, I thought of tips for parents on how to advocate for their children.

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