Has your child been diagnosed with a mental illness? This can be a very uncertain time for many of us. We question whether it is the right diagnoses and should we allow them to be given medication. But the biggest question of all is what did we do wrong?
As mentioned in a previous post, mental illness can and sometimes is triggered by adverse events. For many of us though there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it from emerging. For those of you that are unaware, mental illness has a genetic component. This basically means your child came into the world with the genetic possibility of a mental illness developing. Sometimes this is triggered by adverse events and sometimes a random event that the mind perceived as traumatic. For my son, the traumatic event was watching the Mummy when he was 10 years old.
It is important that you begin to educate yourself on not only your child’s current diagnoses but also other diagnoses. As you learn more and more, you will be able to bring more to the conversation with doctors and clinicians. You can say “Hey, I don’t really see this, but I do see this). These professionals have a very small amount of time with your child, so it is up to you learn and let them know what you see at home or hear from the school. Educating yourself also helps you to know which questions to ask. Also, say the doctor/clinician is asking you a question but you perceive the question differently than it was meant, you might say your child doesn’t exhibit a symptom that he actually does. This can be the difference between accurate diagnoses and an inaccurate one.
It is also important for your child to be educated, age appropriately, on his/her diagnoses. This will help your child to know why they are feeling and behaving the way they are. Many children with mental illness believe they are bad because they may struggle with behavior out of their control. If they can see that this behavior stems from an illness and not a character flaw, this can begin the process of rebuilding their self-worth. Children want to do well. They want to please us, but when they can’t, sometimes they give up. So let them know that this is something you will work together on so that they can be more successful. They are not incapable; they just need additional support to build up these skills. This doesn’t mean that they are not held accountable but that we meet them where they are and help them learn the needed skill.
Please let me know in the comments section your thoughts on the information provided. Let me know hat was helpful and what’s wasn’t so that I can better provide support and education to all of you. Also, feel free to share what has been helpful for you along the way.
Below you will find some links to some very informative resources.