Tips for Parents with a Mental Illness
Let's face it - parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It's a job that never ends, and comes with the kind of stress and worry you cannot prepare for. When you're living with mental illness, or any chronic condition, it can make consistent parenting even more difficult. Here are a few tips to help you overcome common challenges:
Engage in Treatment: If you aren't already in treatment, do it for your kids. Kids model healthy choices, and it can be valuable for your children to see it's okay to acknowledge when you need help, and seeking care. These are signs of strength!
Get Connected: Mental illness can be isolating, but isoloation is not a positive way to manage mental illness. Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your situation and respect your goals for your family. Having other people in your world that you can count on will help you in the long run.
Plan Ahead: Just like you plan ahead for your kids activities, dinners, and school assignments - create a plan for when life gets tough. During a calm time, have a discussion with your therapist or doctor. Create an action plan for emergencies, so that when life throws you a curveball, you have a plan in place to care for your kids.
Celebrate Success: Remember that any success is worth celebrating. Acknowledge your strengths and be proud of your wins. It can be easy to get down on yourself and feel like you can't do anything right. But you do have strengths, and it is positive activity that can be a great model for your children.