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Tips for Parenting with Borderline Personality Disorder

Parenting with borderline personality disorder is difficult and hard for kids, too. These tips on HealthyPlace help both parents with BPD and their kids.

Parenting with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can bring elation, but in quick succession, it can bring frustration, anger, despair. Borderline personality disorder can be exhausting and overwhelming.  If you are a parent with BPD, it can be helpful to know how this personality disorder affects your children so you can benefit from some tips for parenting with borderline personality disorder.

How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Affect Parenting?

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by problems in regulating or controlling emotions and the inability to maintain stable relationships. Instead of stability, relationships are marked by hostility and a lack of trust. Some of the other traits of BPD are difficulties in understanding others’ feelings and a very low level of empathy.

This tumultuous personality disorder can cause depression, substance abuse, extreme levels of stress, and hostility in the home. This illness is difficult to live with. It’s also difficult to parent with borderline personality disorder. Further, it’s hard on children. They are negatively affected when a parent has BPD.

Effects of a Parent’s Borderline Personality Disorder on Kids

Parents have some BPD traits that are problematic for their children, including these:

  • Extremely low sensitivity to a child’s needs, moods, and more
  • Difficulty interpreting and properly responding to their child’s emotions
  • An intrusive, overprotective parenting style and
  • An unresponsive, unemotional parenting style and
  • An angry, hostile parenting style
  • Dissatisfaction with their own children and life in general
  • An unwillingness or inability to encourage attachment, bonding, and love

Children raised by a parent with BPD experience risks and consequences, such as:

  • Behavior disorders
  • Emotional disorders
  • Depression and suicidal behavior
  • ADHD
  • Negative attitudes disrupting interactions with others
  • Attachment problems
  • Poor relationships with their parent
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Dysfunctional need for reassurance
  • Inability to make and keep friends
  • Very low self-esteem

Having a parent with BPD hinders children’s healthy development. Happily, there are things parents with BPD can do to make parenting more successful.

Tips for Parenting with Borderline Personality Disorder

Learning parenting skills for mothers with borderline personality disorder will help you be present and even-keeled for your kids. Begin with just one or two of these tips, and gradually add others to help you raise your child well.

Educate yourself. The more you know about how you experience BPD, the better you’ll be able to identify and understand the impact of the disorder on your kids. Ask your doctor or therapist for handouts or pamphlets. You can also check with local mental health organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Many organizations offer free classes and support groups, too.

Develop healthy coping skills. Erratic emotions and unstable relationships, including the relationships with your kids, are part of BPD; however, that doesn’t mean you have to surrender to these experiences. Practice self-care and develop healthy coping skills (deep breathing, going for a brisk walk, listening to music, coloring—anything that helps you feel steady and ready to be with your kids).

Practice mindfulness. This is the art of being fully present in your moment rather than letting your mind race with worries, negative thoughts, feelings of resentment, self-hatred, or other bothersome borderline experiences. When you pay attention to your emotions, you can learn to identify them and recognize those emotions in your kids. This helps you be there for them as they need it.

Establish routines. Having predictable routines for the morning, mealtimes and bedtime create stability. You and your children will feel more secure and stable as well as less stressed.

Teach feelings. Teach your kids about feelings. Read books together and talk about how their feelings relate to the ones in the book. This benefits you, too. When you can identify feelings, they don’t become overpowering. You and your kids will become more empathetic and understanding, too.

Get support. Parenting, especially with BPD, is exhausting. Enlist the help of your spouse if they’re with you, other family members, friends, and hired babysitters. Take breaks. Allow your children to be loved and cared for by others. It’s a win-win for you and your kids.

Use professional help. Therapists can help you sort out BPD-related issues as well as parenting difficulties. Many use dialectical behavior therapy to help you develop skills for parenting and for life. Also, doctors might prescribe antidepressants if you have been diagnosed with depression. This medication can make you feel better and thus better able to parent.

Parenting with borderline personality disorder is challenging, but by using these tips, you can feel well and raise healthy kids.

article references

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2019, July 22). Tips for Parenting with Borderline Personality Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parents-with-mental-illness/tips-for-parenting-with-borderline-personality-disorder

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD