Being a parent is a hard job without a mental disorder, but bipolar disorder can make parenting seem impossible. Thankfully there is help for parents who are struggling to provide the best life for their children.
Talking to Your Kids about Bipolar Disorder
While you may want to avoid the topic, you should discuss your bipolar disorder with your children; while older kids are sure to already have a good idea about the disorder, your younger kids could use a bit more guidance.
Communicate with your children by doing the following:
- Speak with a family counselor before you talk to your children about mental illness. A licensed bipolar disorder professional can help you find the right words and ways to discuss your situation with your children. Ensure that your children understand that this situation is not their fault in any way.
- Bipolar disorder affects kids in a range of ways; talking to them about it all can help answer their questions and keep them from forming misguided ideas about your situation.
- Ensure that your children understand that they can always talk to you about their concerns with your mental health. While you may be struggling with this disorder, you are first and foremost their parent. That is what children want to hear and feel.
- The oftentimes erratic behaviors bipolar disorder brings with it can greatly damage children. Remember that bipolar disorder affects children of all ages, so it is important to talk to your kids even if they are in their late teens. It is never too late to try and rebuild your relationships with your family.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment for Parents
Deciding to enter rehab is a brave choice. This can, however, bring up a host of concerns about what to do with your kids in the meantime.
The following is advice for balancing the treatment you need and your role as a parent:
- Talk to your children about your need to receive quality bipolar disorder help.
- Discuss with them what it means to receive mental health help; focus on the positive aspects of your new future together.
- An open discussion about residential rehab will help to remove any of the concern, fear, or misconceptions that they might have about a rehab facility.
The more informed your kids are, the better they will be able to manage their roles in your recovery and in your new lives together. Your kids can be a source of strength for you, just as you will be a source of strength and inspiration for them.
Help for Parents with Bipolar Disorder
Single parents often feel as though they are completely alone, especially when they need mental health help. Rehab means time away from the kids, not knowing if they are brushing their teeth, eating their vegetables or doing their homework. However, a relatively short amount of time away from them – when they are entrusted to good hands – can ensure you are able to get quality professional treatment.
You may feel torn between mental health help, drug treatment and parental obligations; but, remember that you can’t give your kids everything that they deserve if you are not well.