What If My Child Develops Mental Health Issues?
No one wants to see their child develop mental health issues or suffer in any way. Oftentimes parents with mental Illness are asked if we fear we'll pass our illness down to our children. I've always thought there are worse things to fear. Still, I can't ignore genetics, and I know my daughter is at a higher risk of developing a mental illness because I have schizoaffective disorder. So I wonder, is there a way to try to prevent it from happening? Or is my time better spent preparing her for the possibility?
Prevent or Prepare for a Child Developing Mental Health Issues?
Is preventing mental health issues possible?
Obviously, the best possible outcome is your child no struggling with mental health issues, but that seems unrealistic. Even without a formal diagnosis, who hasn't struggled with a little anxiety or experienced situational depression?
If any prevention is actually possible, I assume it would be to always keep your child safe and healthy, and hopefully free from any abuse. This is what most parents already strive for, but you can't always shield your child from negative experiences in life. Unfortunately, trauma is common.
Preparation and healthy choices for mental health issues may be more realistic.
Of course, we all want prevention for our children developing mental health issues but preparation may be a little more in our grasp. My daughter's best chance at surviving a mental illness -- or maybe just life in general -- is to keep an open conversation going about mental health throughout her childhood. The best preparation is sharing my story and modeling a strong commitment to recovery and wellbeing. With this preparation, she will hopefully find healthy ways to deal with any possible mental health issues in the future.
I will teach my daughter to ask for help and be kind to others.
I will always make sure my daughter knows it's okay to ask for help. I will teach her that If she's struggling, not to wait.
I will also teach my daughter to be empathetic to others' struggles. Not only is it the right thing to do, but helping out and finding ways to relate to others will help progress your own recovery.
I am the strongest, most influential tool in preventing or preparing my child for developing possible mental health issues. I must remember that with every decision I make in my life, she is looking up to me. My most important job is to keep her safe, healthy, and hopefully somewhat prepared for whatever life throws at her. That's really all any parent can do.
Rahm, M. (2019, February 27). What If My Child Develops Mental Health Issues?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/2/what-if-my-child-develops-mental-health-issues