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Natalie

Parenting a Child with a Mental Illness

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Parenting is one of the most stressful and rewarding jobs you can have. It takes a lot of energy, resources, creativity, and patience to guide children on the path toward a happy and healthy adulthood. Having a child with a mental disorder throws another level of complications into the mix. You are likely grappling with a wide range of concerns and issues for which you may not have the answers. Or, you may be so stressed out that sticking to the recommended treatment suggestions may seem almost impossible.

How do (or did) you find a competent child therapist to conduct an assessment and provide treatment recommendations? Should your child take medications? How do you let teachers, coaches, and other individuals know about your child's symptoms in a way that minimizes the likelihood that he or she will be treated negatively? What are the most challenging symptoms you deal with and how do you cope?

This is an opportunity to share with and gain support from parents who truly understand what you are dealing with on a daily basis.

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I have a son with an anxiety disorder. His phobias are mostly around performance, particularly school performance. he is bright and a perfectionist. he is now 16 nearly 17 and we have been having professional help since he was 13. last year he became very depressed and we started medication. Now he is in his final year at school and has 'hit the wall' again. Apart from the obvious challenges with supporting him the biggest challenge is that my husband and i don't see eye to eye about his management. my husband still takes a behaviourailst approach of 'get over it and get into it' but my son does not seem to be able. it is tearing our relationship apart and distressing not only us but our 14 year old duaghter who now 'hates ' her father and just wants to live in a 'normal family'. I'm at the end of my tether!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Julian,

The painful and difficult situation is one that needs therapy not only for you son but for the whole family. That is why I am suggesting that all of you enter family therapy and that the family therapist and your son's individual theapist work together. In other words, family therapy is not a substitute for the therapy your son is in.

Also, research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is best for anxiety disorders as well as depression. I would suggest that if this is not the type of therapy your son is receiving that he be referred to a clinical psychologist who has this type of practice. That, combined with family therapy could successfully help all of you.

Allan :)

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