Parenting is a difficult job regardless of what challenge you might be facing. Depending on your season of parenting, you’re juggling all kinds of physical and emotional needs. But for parents managing a mental illness those issues are multiplied. So how do we parent effectively in light of mental illness?
Today we’re going to talk about 5 Tips for Parenting with a Mental Illness.
I’m Angela Howard, my passion is to break the stigma of mental illness among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a more purposeful life with God, and with one another. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get the first updates of new content.
Living with any kind of chronic illness complicates our relationships. And when we tackle parenting along with coping with a mental illness, there are times when our functioning will be challenged. But don’t give up! This doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy family who loves and supports one another.
#1 Seek help and make that a part of your family culture.
When your kids are young it can be as simple as saying, “Mom has a counseling appointment.” As they get older you can educate them on the differences between various mental health providers and what you’re doing to stay mentally healthy.
#2 Make sure your kids connect to other adults who can support them.
There will be times when you will not be at your best for your kids. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s definitely okay for kids to learn that life isn’t perfect. But if they have an aunt, a family friend, a youth pastor, or another trusted adult who understands your family dynamic and can support them during those hard times they will feel much more consistency even when you can’t provide that same support.
#3 ID your triggers.
In a calm time, reflect and identify what really sends you into a negative spiral. The more awareness you have, the easier it is to prevent those destructive cycles. For more on this you can watch my previous video on: 5 Tips to Be Ready for a Crisis
#4 Ditch the guilt and work for acceptance. There is so much in our world that is out of our control. We don’t choose mental illness, but we can refuse to let guilt weigh us down, and make choices towards acceptance rather than resignation.
#5 Your weakness can become a strength for your family.
I recently asked my son Ben, who is about to leave for his first year at college, if he felt like he gained anything from having a father with a mental illness. He didn’t hesitate to say that when he faced problems as a teen, talking to his dad really helped him, because he felt that Michael had a lot more credibility than most people. The best advice he gave him was to, “Never run away from your struggles, because it will just get worse. Honestly seek to get help, and though it won’t get better overnight, it’s worth fighting for.”
Scripture: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
What’s the greatest challenge you face as a parent with mental illness? Comment below, I’d love to hear for you!
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