Raising a child with a mental health disorder can present a unique set of challenges throughout a young one’s developmental years, both for the child and the parents involved. Addressing a child’s mental health disorder and creating a plan for a happy, thriving childhood is essential. However, it also requires a personalized approach to the needs of each child. Although there may be some hurdles throughout these young years, it is still possible to build happy memories and a solid foundation for a child to embody their own identity and ambitions.
Understanding the Effects on the Child
A child suffering from a mental health disorder can face any number of daily stresses, all of which can greatly impact their developing mindset. Children do not inherently have a developed sense of emotional resilience—feelings of sadness, anger, or mood swings can all be very common without the learned ability to address changes or hurdles in daily life. However, for those suffering from a mental illness, this can compound into a very debilitating state. Learning to work with a child’s mental health disorder can all be incredibly difficult to deal with.
Childrens’ emotions can also greatly impact their social development. Learning to appropriately communicate and act around others and work as a group are core components of a child’s social development. Even playtime with other children serves a great purpose in establishing a base set of social skills. However, suffering from a mental health disorder can make it difficult to connect with other children or establish effective communication and social skills from a young age. This can further potential feelings of isolation.
The effects of a mental health disorder can create barriers and cause confusion for a child. This may leave them feeling lonely, isolated, or otherwise feeling like they are ostracized from their peers. Addressing these effects is necessary to help a child feel supported and accepted through these crucial developmental years. Instill the skills necessary for an effective transition to adulthood is vital.
Parenting Through Barriers
Taking a unique approach to parenting each child is necessary, depending on their mental health disorder and needs. However, there are some tips that can help parents breakthrough and effectively support and raise their child, despite any mental health disorder.
Do Your Research
Understanding and educating oneself on their child’s unique diagnosis is the first step towards creating an effective parenting plan. Doing so can help a parent to better understand why their child may feel or act in certain situations.
It can also create a necessary baseline for effective communication to employ other strategies. The child will also be able to better express themselves and feel as if they are truly understood when they discuss their emotions and symptoms. Becoming more informed can also allow parents to determine if the symptoms their child is facing are common childhood difficulties or the result of a disorder that needs additional attention.
Don’t Shy Away
Children are more perceptive than many may realize. While a child might not understand the intricacies of their diagnosis, it is very possible they will know they are different from their peers in some way. Telling a child that they do have different needs from other children can be helpful as it can legitimize their feelings. Reinforcing this fact can help a child feel like they are less ostracized or isolated.
Instead, it can create an avenue where they are heard and can better understand their own feelings, needs, and goals. As children age and their questions become more nuanced, further explaining their diagnosis and what is going on can continue to aid in the development of their emotional resiliency and coping strategies.
Discuss With the School
Taking the time to address the situation with a child’s school can also be a way of helping the child even while the parent is not around. Having teachers or guidance counselors aware of their unique needs can help these influential figures better understand and address the situation. This can provide extra aid or even information on how certain actions may require the need of therapeutic assistance rather than disciplinary action.
A child’s school holds a great deal of influence over the developmental years. Having a plan of action, escape plan, or emergency plan already established with these facilities can help ensure that a child is receiving proper, specialized care.
Having a professional listen and observe the child alongside a parent can help create a better understanding of the situation. While developing coping strategies and grounding techniques is important, it is also critical that these strategies are created with an informed, professional source that can explain the intended effects and goals of the practice. Engaging in therapy alongside one’s child by attending a family therapy program or individual programs together can also aid in developing communication skills.
Raising a child who suffers from a mental health disorder can be complicated. However, Chateau Recovery, located in Midway, Utah, is ready to help you today. We offer an array of programs geared to help you better understand your child and create a supportive and positive environment to work through a child’s mental health disorder and lead a fulfilling and constructive childhood. Our family programs are backed with psychoeducation and specific, pertinent skills and strategies to help parents and children alike. They can help you better understand and create an effective plan for coping with mental health disorders in the family. Individual and group therapy, alongside familial support, education, and more make up our comprehensive approach to your needs and goals. For more information on how we can help you and your child, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call Chateau Recovery today at (435) 222-5225.