July 07, 2004

Tips for moms of mentally ill kids

Judith S. Lederman, author of "The Ups & Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child: A Survival Guide for Parents," knows how difficult it can be to mother a mentally ill child. Her own child was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of eight.

"While every mother has difficult challenges to face, the mother of a child with mental illness too often plays the martyr," explains Lederman, who co-wrote her book with child psychiatrist, Dr. Candida Fink. "These moms feel overwhelmed. The illness is not one they publicize and so they lack support. They frequently must deal with hospitalizing their child, criticism by a public that just doesn?t understand the nature of mental illness..."

The following are Lederman's "makeover tips" for the martyr-moms of mentally ill children:

(Excerpt from article)

1) Find support wherever you can get it, and that goes for emotional as well as physical aid. Talk to sympathetic clergy, a neighbor, or your child?s schoolteacher. If you can afford to, pay a therapist and work through your issues as a mother and a woman, one by one.

2) Reclaim yourself physically. It is easy to fall into a punishing pattern when you are overwhelmed by your situation. In a word, don't. Instead of reaching for the cookies, go for a long walk or join a gym. If you can afford to, hire a personal trainer to get you started on an exercise regimen.

3) Watch your sugar intake. Sugar is addicting and while we may find it comforting in the short-term, it actually will bring your own mood down. Any mom who is used to monitoring her child?s mood, should also be very aware of her own moods. Cutting the sugar can actually give you more energy. And the mom of a mentally ill child will need every shred of energy she can get.

4) Stay in the No-Martyr Zone. Make up your mind here and now that no matter how difficult your child is, you will not enter a self-destructive mode of thinking. Face your challenges without self-pity. Remember that if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to be the best for your child.

Visit http://www.parentingbipolars.com if you would like to order Lederman's book.

Source: NewsReleaseWire.com (www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/)

Article Headline: "Reclaim Your Life," says Mom of Child with Manic Depression (March 29, 2004)


Thank you for these tips especially about watching the sugar intake. I am going to reduce my dependence on chocolate chip ice cream.

Posted by: survivor at August 5, 2004 08:06 PM

I read a little book about a well known mentally ill young woman who wrote a children's book about her conversations with fairies and wood-sprites in the forest as a child but I can't remember who she is. She lived in the first part of the 20th century in America as I remember. Do you know who I mean? Tom

Posted by: Tom Langlois at August 19, 2004 11:06 PM

Very helpful thanks

Posted by: Denise Wilson at May 30, 2005 08:33 PM

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