advertisement

Life with Bob

Melissa David
The main symptom of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is chronic irritability. "Irritability" is a vague word, though. It doesn't adequately describe how angry and mean our kids with DMDD can get or how demoralizing it feels. As parents, we work hard to raise decent human beings, then a DMDD outburst erupts and that decency seemingly flies out the door.
Susan Traugh
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), spotlighting the fact that every year "approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner," according to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project. Awareness of violence in teen and 20-something dating is an important key to turning these statistics around, especially in teens with mental illness, yet three out of four parents never talk to their children about domestic violence. As parents of mentally ill children, it is vital that we address this issue and speak to our teens about dating violence and what to do.
Susan Traugh
Avoiding bipolar instability because you have the flu is important, but it can be difficult to maintain stability with bipolar disorder while trying to combat the effects of the local virus going around. If you are a parent of a child with bipolar disorder, a simple virus can lead to bipolar instability in your child’s mental health. It becomes a difficult cycle as increased instability with bipolar makes it hard to treat the flu and increased symptoms of the flu make it difficult to control bipolar. However, by planning ahead, parents can lessen the ill-effects of flu season and keep their child’s mental health as intact as possible.
Melissa David
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and video games: How much screen time do you allow your child with ADHD? I ask because parents of children with ADHD have a love/hate relationship with video games. They can be a huge motivator for our kids. They provide us with rare quiet times. Yet, we're often shamed based on how much screen time our kids get. Using screens is often viewed as poor parenting. I've even been told video games cause my son's ADHD (Stigma Against Parents Who Raise a Child with Mental Illness). These days, asking me about my child's screen time will elicit the same response as asking me about my weight. I will lie about it, then I'll go home and cry.
Susan Traugh
“Emotional contagion” occurs when we mirror the strong emotions of those around us whether those emotions are negative or positive. As a parent of a mentally ill child, it can be difficult not to "catch" our child’s negative emotions. By employing a few tools, parents can avoid the downward spiral of emotional contagion and help their melting down child find a way back to the positive.
Melissa David
Managing disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) in the classroom isn't as simple as knowing how to prevent DMDD behaviors. Yet parents of children with DMDD are often expected to have immediate solutions for teachers and caregivers in our children's lives. Symptoms of DMDD are tough for even parents to handle, and immediate solutions don't exist, but there are doable small steps that can help manage DMDD in the classroom.
Susan Traugh
Preparing your mentally ill children for natural disasters is vitally important. Knowing what kinds of natural disasters are expected in your area and preparing a plan to deal with a crisis will provide a sense of control and safety to children with mental illness during a natural disaster.
Melissa David
There are mental health benefits of pets for children with mental illness. Pets can be great friends and teachers to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), or other mental health concerns. Plenty of research exists backing up the helpfulness of having animals in therapy, school, or at home. My son's mental health benefits from the animals in his life.
Susan Traugh
Finding gratitude when you or your family member lives with mental illness can seem so hard. The holidays especially can feel like a real season of loss for families with mental illness. While “normal families” seem to celebrate all the traditions that film and commercials dictate, families with mental illness cannot take on such busyness and chaos without negative repercussions or a mental health relapse. But, rather than see our alternate celebrations as a loss, finding gratitude during the holidays helps us see the better side of mental health struggles.
Melissa David
My family experiences sibling abuse because my son has disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). This means his emotional responses are violently out of proportion to the trigger. Worse, the trigger is often his sister. If he perceives her to get anything positive that he does not, Armageddon breaks out. I don't know how siblings without mental illness interact. All I know is that the fighting that goes along with sibling abuse is exhausting.