Critical parenting has been consistently associated with depression and, to an extent, anxiety. It is hypothesized that parents who criticize and minimize the child’s feelings undermine the child’s emotional regulation and increase their sensitivity to emotional health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Although parenting is difficult no matter what, having a child with a mental illness can be even more challenging and tiring. Unfortunately, there is no official manual on having a child with a mental illness and parenting.

Some of tips that parents should abide by while raising a child with mental illness are:

  • Be patient: Many people think that someone can simply snap out of these disorders only if they want to properly, but this is so not the case.
  • Do your research: The best way to teach a child with a mental health disorder is to make sure you understand it for yourself.
  • Teach your child: Educate your child about the mental illness that he/she is having, and how this is not the end of the world for them, they can still live healthily and happily with the help of some regulations and medications.
  • Answer their questions: Whatever they ask, answer their questions, please do not shut them out. If you are unable to answer those questions, take help from outsiders.
  • Inform others as necessary: As much as you want to, you cannot be with your child 24/7, nor should you. If your child is younger, get a caretaker’s help and if is older, trust your child will tell those who need to know.
  • Do not ignore their symptoms: Parenting a child with mental illness can be confusing, but if something seems amiss, do not dismiss it. Treat it at its earliest.
  • Get them professional help ASAP: As a parent, it can be hard to deal with the fact that you cannot fix everything for your child, but you can get them the help they need.

Although parenting a child with a mental illness puts a large focus on the well being of your child, do not forget about yourself. The only way you can be the best parent for your struggling child is by taking care of yourself.

There are many ways to cope with a mentally ill child including:

  • Joining a support group
  • Participating in therapy
  • Asking for help
  • Taking time for yourself on a regular basis
  • Getting away on occasions
  • Becoming an advocate

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