Parenting in itself is a difficult undertaking, but parenting a child with medical needs, any kind of medical needs is a different issue altogether. Some of the problems you may find yourself dealing with are mental health issues.
In the US, roughly one in every 6 children has some sort of mental health issue. Though your parenting style may have to change a bit on a case-by-case basis, most things will probably stay the same.
There are certain things a parent of a mentally ill child will likely have to deal with that others might not. We’ll talk about some of the challenges of parenting a child with mental illness in the paragraphs below.
Look for and Treat the Condition Early
With all mental illness, quick diagnosis and treatment is often the best way to deal with the condition. Parenting a child with mental illness means understanding what they’re going through and why they’re acting the way they are.
Some conditions, such as psychosis, schizophrenia, or depression, may require treatment to ease the symptoms. If left untreated, the child may start getting bad grades, get into drugs, become profoundly unhappy, or a whole list of other horrible things.
Get to Know Your Child
Just as important as understanding the condition is understanding your child and how their condition affects them. For instance, someone with depression might become happier and live a better life with treatment and medication.
Not all conditions require treatment, though. While child psychology is a good idea even if your child isn’t mentally ill, medication may be unnecessary.
For instance, those with autism may function very well both at school and at home. They may not have any harmful behaviors that they want or need to change.
If this is the case, don’t try to medicate them. Even if authority figures try to pressure you into doing so, don’t listen to them.
The only people who should have input in these decisions are you, your child, and their doctors/psychologists. The only exception is legal authorities. If they think your child needs medication or other treatments, there’s probably a good reason.
Understand the Specific Issues Your Child May Face
Mental illness comes with its own set of problems in addition to the condition itself. For instance, those with mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence and bullying.
An untreated condition may lead to drug use or other criminal activity. While this news may be unsettling, knowing about them may make them easier to address and even avoid altogether.
Parenting a Child With Mental Illness Takes Work
Parenting a child with mental illness comes with a lot of challenges, but knowledge of these challenges and hot to handle them can help our children live full happy lives.
We’ve talked about some of the potential challenges and solutions for children with mental illness in the paragraphs above. There’s much more to learn, though. We encourage you to do more research on your own if you’re interested.
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