When choosing a topic to write about for "Life with Bob," I usually like to try to pick just the right one, maybe even do some research to see what my readers are asking about on Google. This week, though, I can only think about one thing: my child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) won't listen to me.
Self-Care - Parenting Child with Mental Illness
Keeping a child mentally healthy can be challenging, especially if your child has a mental illness as mine does. In fact, I think it can be harder than keeping a child physically healthy since keeping the body in shape basically involves a checklist: good diet, check; lots of exercise, check; plenty of water, check; annual checkup, check. A child's mental health, though, can be a bit more complicated.
Like everything else in life, the risk factors for mental illness in children are impacted by both nature and nurture. Some of these risk factors I can do something about as a mother raising a child with mental illness, although some are out of my control. Accepting this has been one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me, but it's also been one of the most liberating.
There are two very important people in my life who depend on me for pretty much everything. They're both young. They're both a handful. And they both have so much energy that they drive themselves--and me--a little crazy with it. One of them, though, isn't a person at all. He's my dog, and he's done more for my child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than anyone else.
One of the hardest parts of parenting a child with mental illness is watching my kid behave disruptively or throw a larger-than-life tantrum and wondering, "Would this be happening if I were a better mom? Is my child's mental illness a result of my poor parenting?"
There are many repetitive, sometimes less than pleasant habits that come with my child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and excessive talking is one of them. It's one that I have a particularly hard time tolerating because he has so much to say all the time. Point blank; it can be exhausting for me. I have to remember, though, that everyone has a reason for doing what they do, even things I don't like. Understanding why my child talks excessively and what his ADHD has to do with it is a huge step towards patiently and constructively handling this habit.
Since I author a blog about raising a child with mental illness, you'd think I'd be an expert at handling my own child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but that's definitely not the case. Some days I feel overwhelmed by the mental, emotional, and physical toll that this job can take. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, either.
Life is tough when your child has a mental illness. It gets even tougher when you do, too.
I don't know why, but being a parent feels so much easier when the sun comes out of hiding, and everything starts blooming again. It's springtime, and I'm relieved, so is my child's mental illness.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my local school system has closed until further notice. The problem is, I still have a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at home who needs to learn, grow, and stay busy. I still have a full-time job and a pile of bills that aren't going anywhere. And I still wrestle with a lot of depression and anxiety that makes it difficult to hold everything down without the reprieve of an eight-hour school day. So what's the trick? How have I learned to take care of my child's ADHD, education, and all of my other responsibilities in the face of such unpredictable school closures?