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Unexpected Parenting Teamwork

February 13, 2013 Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

Parenting a child with mental illness requires a team. Parents, extended family members, friends teachers, therapists, etc. can all be a part of the team. In my case (and Bob’s), Bob’s father is around, but sometimes dealing with him is more of a hassle than a help; especially in the years of schooling before Bob’s evaluation and diagnosis.

Good parenting takes teamwork.

No Parenting Teamwork

If you read my previous post about co-parenting, you’ll understand more about why I don’t necessarily defer to Bob’s father or politely share things. Not only does he have his own issues (all kinds), but he was in severe denial of Bob’s ADHD. It even reached the point that he tried to stop Bob from being given an ADHD medication evaluation, which was unsuccessful.

Having a team member who doesn’t agree with how to help a child with mental illness makes it that much harder to identify and implement those services. And the longer Bob’s father and I go without agreeing on how to parent Bob, the more surprised I am when Bob’s father is agreeable.

Different Parenting Styles Don't Mix

For example, Bob’s father has a laid-back (passive) parenting style, which allows Bob to go as far as he can with lots of conversation and not much in the way of consequences. I have a more structured (authoritative) parenting style filled with consequences for behavior. When Bob does what he needs to do as expected, he gets a positive consequence (later bed time, special treats, etc). And when he does something he shouldn’t do, Bob gets a negative consequence (loss of privileges, early bedtime, etc).

Yesterday, Bob presented me with an incident report for using a pair of scissors to carve holes in his desk. Out of the ordinary for Bob in terms of behavior, but after Bob explained that he was bored, it sounded right. ADHD is about inattentiveness. So Bob’s boredom during class wasn’t a shocker.

Parenting Teamwork Shocker

What DID shock me was the teamwork. I had Bob call his father to inform him of the incident report. Bob was scared, but he did it. I informed Bob’s father of the incident report and he had Bob explain why he put holes in the desk. I didn’t expect Bob’s father to work with me to lay down the law with Bob and give him consequences for his actions. And it went smoothly. So smoothly that I almost pinched myself to see if I was dreaming. The ease of unexpected teamwork stayed with me until today. It kept me thinking that maybe, just maybe this parenting thing might not have to be as hard as it has been the last nearly 12 years. Then again, it could have been a nicely timed fluke.

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, February 13). Unexpected Parenting Teamwork, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2013/02/unexpected-teamwork



Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

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