Helping your child with mental health is one of the hardest things a parent has to do. You become helpless. Your child is stuck in their own mind. Helpless with their emotions and you are there watching it happen.
I am a dad! A dad who’s oldest daughter suffers with mental health. It is a never-ending hill that you have to climb. Most days you hurt, you are sacred and feel drained. Mentally and physically drained.
The things your child say to you on down days will rip your heart apart. Because of this I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep. Other nights I become lost in my mind. Going over the days events trying to fall asleep. As a result you become distracted in day-to-day tasks. Always left wondering what else you can do. In the end, all you can do is be there.
Communication stops when mental health lowers. Your child will clam up and not talk. You have to pick through the anger thrown at you to find out whats wrong. Trying to help becomes a battle. No matter what you say, backlash happens. On the positive side, things do stick in. Your words do matter and do hit home.
Now when it comes to helping your child out, difficulties arise. Trying to find resources is extremely hard. Surprisingly you really have to look. In fact there isn’t a lot geared towards kids. Finding the right path to take is daunting.
You also find out once your child hits 16 years old, parents no longer have a say when it comes to mental health. Everything has to be done by them, not you. I have tried myself to get my daughter to go see someone. Start talking to a psychologist and take recovery to the final level. Find out whats hurting inside her mind and learn to cope with life stress. But it’s scary, it means you have to admit something is wrong.
Being told by your child to “call someone for me” when a breakthrough happens, but you can’t. Left becoming helpless and in pain. How is it that I am responsable for my child up until she is 18 but I can’t help her after 16. She can’t drink, vote and become labeled an adult until 18. I am responsable for her care but she can’t have me help her with anything mental health related after 16. Something so important but yet she is left alone dealing with it. Dealing with it when she already feels alone in the world.
Like I said earlier, as a parent you feel helpless. Dealing with all that anger and pain is exhausting. There are days where I ultimately feel like it’s all my fault. Maybe I did something or didn’t do something to trigger this. I can tell you those feelings are ok. Just remember, a child who suffers will lash out at those they love because they feel safe, nothing more.
My daughter didn’t choose this. It’s not like she woke up one day and said I want to hurt. It just is what it is.
I know for myself, I have had to pull back a bit. I am emotionally drained. Having 3 kids you just can’t keep focusing everything on one child. I will always be there for her to talk or just to listen. Listen to anything she has to say, to give her a way to vent. But when it comes to taking that next step, she has to do it. Sometimes all we can do as parents is just listen.
Stay tuned as I will write more on this topic. Sharing all the information I have found and shown my daughter. Let’s start talking about this as parents.
I spoke with The Baby Spot on this topic and they have a challenge to us parents. “It’s ok to tell someone you are seeing your dentist, but not your psychologist. How can we as a parenting community change this?”
I would love to hear thoughts on this. Maybe if we as parents stand up and speak, our kids wouldn’t be so scared to seek help. Please share this out and lets start talking. Change can happen.