Raising Child with Mental Illness Requires Flexibility

April 26, 2011 Angela McClanahan

There's a great deal of flexibility demanded of parents and other caregivers of mentally ill children. I don't mean physical flexibility (although that can certainly come in handy, as well)--I mean the ability--and willingness--to completely move from Plan A to B in the blink of an eye.

I mentioned previously that some changes were in order for our family. After a lot of number-crunching, soul-searching, cussing and dis-cussing, nail-biting and everything else that goes with major life decisions--yesterday, I resigned from my job.jump1

My office is at least a 45 minute drive from home, school, and doctors' offices. My hours are such that I leave home before the boys get up in the morning and don't see them again until just before dinner. I'd considered taking a job closer to home, but in my profession, "family friendly" means you can bring your kids to work with you when they're ill. I knew I might end up closer to home, but would likely be home even less.

So, after next Friday, I will be working in a different capacity.

I don't imagine it's going to be an easy transition, although I've been mentally preparing myself for the past few months. We can live on one income, but that's about it--we won't be taking any cruises or buying any new cars for some time. Beyond that, I've never not had a job in the last 22 years. Removing myself from the market at my age is frightening enough. Handing over my independence is even scarier. jump21

The bottom line, however, is at least one of my children requires more focus and flexibility. As the parent who earns substantially less, it's kind of a no-brainer.

I'm hopeful that my being around more will benefit Bob. Having me there to help him stay focused in the morning, as well as getting some early-morning exercise (we'll be biking to school when weather permits), will do him some good. I'm not green enough to believe my quitting my job will be the cure-all for Bob, but I am hopeful it will alleviate some of the pressures faced by him and our family.

APA Reference
McClanahan, A. (2011, April 26). Raising Child with Mental Illness Requires Flexibility, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 29 from

Author: Angela McClanahan

April, 27 2011 at 8:28 am

Nice article thank u for sharing it and best of luck to u and ur family. Kristen

April, 28 2011 at 5:11 am

I too have had to be flexible with work. Being a nurse helps me to work as little or as much as I can - who knew when I went to colloge that having a son like Matt would suit that profession so well?
Wanted to say that being able to be at home might make it a bit easier, but it's not the answer all together. I am only as flexible as my own mental health and stamina allow. I think more than any other single variable, having respite and help is absolutely crucial for being able to make the right decisions and handle all those challenges. Where to get the respite - haven't a clue. If you find out, let me know 'cause I should could use some now.

Angela McClanahan
April, 28 2011 at 8:46 am

@bonbon - thanks for your comment. Oh, I don't think at all that my being home will be the cure-all. I do think it will alleviate a lot of MY stress (and when Mom's less stressed, isn't everyone?) and maybe even some of Bob's (he tends to get anxious when I'm not around). As for respite, as much as I hate to admit it, it's almost a good thing Bob spends time with his biological father, because his stepfather and I (and his brother, even) really need those breaks, no matter how short and no matter how much we end up missing him during the longer ones.

peggy Black
May, 20 2011 at 3:24 pm

I have just learned that my son was seeing theing and hearing things I dont know how to handle it I am look for some answers

peggy Black
May, 20 2011 at 3:33 pm

My son has been haveing halusanations, the Dr's put him oh meds but it does not help much what can I do

Angie Mireles
August, 6 2011 at 9:19 pm

Can understand why you need to be home, I'm a hairdresser that has a wonderful boss who's given me the flexibility. However, working just 2 days doesn't cut it ...dr. visits, medicine co-pays(even w/ my husband income). I feel like I'm not winning at all. Sometimes my daughter has to come with me to work, and my customers are great with it. They always tell me, wow, your really patient or no wonder you look so tired. I've lost a lot of wonderful clientele because of my 2 day work week, but w/ dr app, hopsital stays-what can I do? I have to do what I can, dr schedules are so limited. I start
another job as a manger of a salon, more pay-praying it works out. God be with you as you do what you have to for your son.

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