Tips For Parenting With Mental Health Challenges

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Here are some tips that may be helpful in navigating the waters of parenting as a person with mental health issues.

Be open about your mental health with your child.

It may feel uncomfortable, but discussing your mental health issues openly with your child is a very effective way of mitigating the risk of passing on your issues to them. By discussing mental health with your child, you’re modeling a proactive approach to care. For example, if you’ve been feeling depressed, simply saying “Mommy is feeling very sad right now. It’s not your fault, it’s just that sometimes this is how I feel.” Being candid about what you’re feeling allows your child to see that it’s okay to talk about emotions. It also removes any blame that your child may be harboring. These sort of conversations go a long way and present the framework on how your child reacts to mental health concerns in the future.

Model good coping strategies.

Show your children what you do to make yourself feel better! Let them know that you have a therapist who you talks to you about your feelings. Discuss the benefits of talking things out and prioritizing health with them. Showing your children good self care practices and having these conversations early on will help them in the future when they’re not feeling at their best. Children pick up on more than we think and they are always watching closely.

3. Don’t be too concerned that your child will develop a mental illness.

If you live with a mental illness, your worst fear may be that your children will inevitably deal with the same issues as you. After all, there is a genetic component to mental health disorders. However, just because your child might inherit your disorder, does not mean that they 100% will. There are so many factors that go into how a chid develops, and although you may not have control of all of them, you can be proactive in creating a safe a supportive environment for them. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t.

4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

When you’re having a bad day don’t beat yourself up for it. Losing one battle does not mean you’ve lost the war! Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, and it can trigger mental health issues in a big way. That’s why it’s important to be open about your struggles and be kind to yourself when they present themselves. Your children don’t need to have a flawless parent. They need one who will simply make an effort to be the best one they can be.

5. Use It To Your Advantage

Having a mental health issue means that your level of self awareness is likely higher than most people’s. That means that you have the ability to recognize any symptoms that may present themselves in your children early on. Your experience has left you better equipped to address any mental health concerns with your children promptly and effectively.


It’s natural to worry, but there are solutions!

Remember that your children are more than your genetics, and more than any mental health disorder. Each and every one of us has more grit and resilience than we know of. By openly discussing the topic of mental health with your children, exposing the challenges, and demonstrating the solutions you’ll surely raise children who are understanding and educated.


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