Learning that your child has a mental illness is devastating. No parent would want to see their child grow up in a world of judgment, a world where people judge someone negatively just because they are suffering from a mental illness. No one wants to see their child suffer and at the same time, you want to know everything that you can on how to cope with grown child with mental illness.
Where do we start with this journey?
Raising a child with mental illness
The challenge of raising a child with mental illness is by itself one of the hardest challenges a parent can ever face. Aside from feeling the pain of seeing your child in this state, you’d give everything to help your child get through this. There are many different situations where one can be diagnosed with a mental illness.
Anxiety disorder is when people receive false signals that trigger the mind to send anxiety signs such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, having a hard time breathing, and even shaking. A person with an anxiety disorder can have an attack even with the slightest triggers such as an unknown phone call.
Mood disorders, on the other hand, include bipolar disorder where a person experiences emotions to the extremes and in shifts. One can feel hyper and happy for a few days only to succumb to depression the next week.
Psychotic disorders involve a twisted way of how a person thinks. Often, a person who has psychotic disorders will have delusions; can hear voices asking them to do things and even hallucinations. Schizophrenia is one of the most common psychotic disorders to date.
There are other types of mental illnesses to cover depending on the signs and symptoms that the child is showing. Some can be Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative disorders, and more. How to cope with grown child with mental illness is another concern that we all need to address as it’s different from taking care of a child that has a mental illness.
There are mental illnesses that can be diagnosed at an early age with the help of behaviors and how the child performs in school and deals with other people.
A child with mental illness will be first assessed by a professional to come up with a concrete diagnosis. How to start dealing with your child after the diagnosis will be challenging at first and at some time, can be overwhelming, especially on how to cope with grown child with mental illness.
Parenting a child with mental illness
At the first few months and years of parenting a child with mental illness, expect to experience lots of adjustments. Together, let’s see how to deal with a child with mental illness and what approach we can use to make the process a little bit easier for both child and parent.
- Try not to have unrealistic expectations. It’s just the beginning of a long journey and we don’t want to face disappointments that will only make things harder.
- Always put your best effort with your child no matter how difficult it may seem. No one will ever be as effective in your child’s recovery as you. You are your child’s strength no matter how hard they push you away.
- Always try to communicate with your child. Don’t use phones to check on them. Make sure that the bond that you have with your child will not be broken.
- Accept your child wholeheartedly. Sometimes, it’s too hard to accept the reality of having a child that suffers from a mental illness but this is your child and they never wanted this and so do you. There are just some things and situations that are already beyond our control and the only thing that we can do is to accept and be together through this journey.
- Support groups for parents who have a child with mental illness are available and if needed you don’t have to feel ashamed in attending to one. It will greatly help you on your journey. When everything may seem too overbearing, these types of support groups will help.
An adult child with mental illness
There will come a time where we have to face how to cope with grown child with mental illness. It’s a part of life and along with the transition comes new challenges. An adult child with mental illness will require a different approach because they are now capable of making their own judgment and decisions and sometimes, it’ll be a little harder to have them cooperate.
Here are some strategies to try
- Identify the specific behaviors that concern you and let your adult child know about it.
- Always make sure that you have open communication. Let your child be able to tell you their concerns.
- How to cope with grown child with mental illness by showing and expressing your unconditional love
- Set firm limits on their behaviors so they would know that it’s not okay or acceptable.
- Acknowledge why your adult child refuses treatment and explain why it’s needed. Sometimes, treatments can be tiring and adjustments can bring stress to your adult child that’s why they refuse it. You have to put some effort into making sure that they understand why these treatments are needed.
- Take charge if needed. Even though you are a friend to your child, there are situations where you need to be firm in your decisions.
- There will be a time where you won’t be the best person to take care of them anymore, it’s time to let go and have the professionals take over if needed. It may be hard but for your adult child’s future, you need to make a decision.
- Take time off. This is an exhausting journey and even though you’re doing this out of unconditional love, we are all humans after all. We need to take some time off and feel refreshed.
How to cope with grown child with mental illness when your child can already decide and refuse on his own will be a very long and tiring journey but at the end of the day, as you can see that your child who suffers from mental illness show progress, all hardships will all be worth it.