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Life with Bob

Melissa David
As a parent of a child with mental illness, there are many things I wish I could do. My child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviors, or my own anxiety, often get in the way. Parenting a child with mental illness is intense. I often feel like a snowball of anxiety rolling down a snowy mountain of anxiety towards an icy river of even more anxiety, and if I type "anxiety" one more time, you'll start to feel as anxious as I do. Because I am a parent of a child with mental illness, there are some things I just don't do.
Susan Traugh
Maintaining mental health over the holidays can be a real challenge for teens and young adults with mental illness. With 64% of mentally ill people finding holidays stressful, according to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), it is important to find ways to stay healthy during the holidays. So read on for holiday mental health tips.
Susan Traugh
At 18, when our mentally ill children are no longer minors, it is important to encourage them to waive their privacy rights through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and allow parents to participate on their mental health team. To assure that adult children waive their privacy rights, parents need to develop a relationship of trust.
Melissa David
A child's mental illness diagnosis can take years to get right, especially when both disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) and a childhood bipolar disorder diagnoses are possible. One diagnosis can look similar to another. It takes a skilled provider to tease it out and, let’s face it, as parents, we don’t always know if our providers are the skilled ones. It took three years to get to my son’s diagnosis of DMDD. Prior to that, they briefly considered childhood bipolar disorder. I still sometimes wonder if it’s not.
Melissa David
Children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) may go through a couple diagnoses, including oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), in the beginning. This is partly because DMDD is a newer disorder, but it also looks like other illnesses--especially ODD. My son's first providers diagnosed him with ODD, and other DMDD parents have told me their kids also started with that diagnosis. There is, however, a subtle difference between the two.
Susan Traugh
You can support a bipolar teen as she works on problem behaviors, but you must be patient. I didn't have any more patience when my daughter's new counselor asked me, “What’s the one behavior you would like to work on with your daughter?” I was stunned, one behavior? Did she have any idea how erratic and out-of-control my teen’s behavior was as her bipolar disorder cycled from frantic highs to screaming lows? I quickly listed 10 desires. But, no, the therapist insisted that I choose only one. My first reaction was to choose a new therapist to support my bipolar teen daughter.
Melissa David
If your child hears voices, your first reaction may be panic. The first time my son said he heard voices, I almost fainted. I work with adults who hear voices due to their mental illnesses, so my first thought was early-onset schizophrenia. My son does not have schizophrenia. Turns out, a child who hears voices isn't that unusual.
Susan Traugh
Several weeks ago, another blogger triggered a heated discussion on a minor’s rights to mental health privacy when they suffer from mental illness. Readers chastised the author for disclosing too much information about her child. And that made me ask: where is the line when it comes to minor's mental health privacy.
Melissa David
Sleep problems are common with childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Parenthood and sleep don’t mix, and if you have a young child with ADHD, you’re probably getting even less sleep than other parents. Sleep problems with childhood ADHD are common and the sleep problems come in many forms (ADHD and Sleep Disorders). The methods we use to get our children to sleep come in many forms as well.
Melissa David
Of all behaviors associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lying is one of the more frustrating. My son's therapist recently reminded me of something important, though. Lying serves a purpose, and punishing our children with mental illness for the lie itself may mean we're missing the underlying issue all-together.