As Bob approaches his teen years (only one more month to go), I’m reminded of how important conversations will be, now more than ever. Words are powerful. Not only do they have the potential to build up; they also have the potential to hurt. With Bob, I’ve tried to use words that are loving, helpful and kind. But, I’m reminded of how hurtful words can be especially when I think of my own childhood and teen years.
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.
To keep your cool while parenting a child with mental illness sometimes takes every drop of your energy. Especially when you're annoyed, upset, cranky, irritated or just plain stressed out. Getting upset is a normal thing for all people, but it takes a few tricks to keep your anger in check. And when you can keep your cool, your child will, too. Here are three steps you can use to keep your anger in check and calm down.
I talk a great deal about self-care for parenting a child with mental illness. The task isn't easy. Not only are you responsible for this child, but you also need to address his or her mental illness. We spend so much time caring for our kids that we don't have time to care for ourselves.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but there are imperfect parents everywhere. I'm one of them. It is amazing how much I expect to be a great parent, not a perfect one, but a great one. Especially because I'm a single, working mom with a special needs child. And even more so when Bob is dealing with a tough situation.
I need a job. Our finances favor it. My husband prefers it. My sanity demands it. But will my oldest child's psychiatric illness allow it?
There's a great deal of flexibility demanded of parents and other caregivers of mentally ill children. I don't mean physical flexibility (although that can certainly come in handy, as well)--I mean the ability--and willingness--to completely move from Plan A to B in the blink of an eye. I mentioned previously that some changes were in order for our family. After a lot of number-crunching, soul-searching, cussing and dis-cussing, nail-biting and everything else that goes with major life decisions--yesterday, I resigned from my job.
I've been job-hunting. Although currently employed, office politics (and, if I'm being honest, the 60-mile round trip commute) have led me to seek other options. So I find myself wondering--how much of my family life should I disclose to potential employers?
There are some issues surrounding children with mental illness, their parents, blame and anger, I want to explore. While I'm collecting my thoughts, however, I ask you to consider this, originally posted on my personal blog in July, 2007. Kindergarten starts August 20, 2007. Bob is registered. He's had his tour of the school. He can't wait. Me? I'm freaking out.
I posted this on my personal blog on 11/09/06. Bob had been 5 only a few short weeks. We were deep in custody litigation and still 18 months away from a real diagnosis. As you can tell from these paragraphs, I was nearing the end of my rope.