Our children’s mental wellbeing needs to be looked after before they suffer from mental illness not after.
Also, the lack of understanding and knowledge of mental illness in a family member can cause massive problems for a child when nothing is explained to them. This is compounded by the disappearances and reappearances of the parent throughout their childhood.
Just imagine for one moment your a child and a happy parent sees you off to school but by 2pm the door of your home is opened by an aunt. You are told that your parent is in the hospital.
Everything goes through your mind: Was I so bold. Is it because I didn’t eat all the dinner? Yes, its because I’m bold.
If mental illness is not explained to children they play the blame game and end up blaming themselves for the disappearances.
There is no point in telling a child that a parent suffers from their nerves To this day I see a picture in my head of a parent carrying a bag full of nerves.
Give children credit where its due and explain this illness to them so that their world will be more stable and not too confusing. God knows children understand a lot more than we realise.
Also never blame a child for your suffering with mental illness. Their words and actions do not cause mental illness but if you blame them they will grow up with a very battered outlook of themselves.
Never say to a child that your statement will cause me to have a breakdown and I will end up in hospital. By saying things like this you’re removing a child’s confidence to speak to you freely. The child will find that silence is a safer option and dwell in their own world. By stopping free conversations with your child in the long run you are losing out on a great relationship with the growing child. This important time is lost just because as parents we thought we knew best and never explained Mental Illness and its impact on family life.
Relationships among family members are changed and the parent who was meant to be the carer and mentor becomes a stranger.
The child will seek emotional support and love elsewhere.
The child bonds with whoever they feel close to during their confused childhood and the parent who suffers from mental illness has lost a treasured relationship.
So for our children lets be open about mental illness and remove all the taboo and mystery. Don’t let a child carry unnecessary baggage around in life, just talk and communicate effectively
What qualifies me to say this is that I was that child