Parenting Lessons: Call for Back Up

November 19, 2013 Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

For me, calling for back up is very difficult. But, when parenting a child with mental illness and feeling like I'm not able to deal, calling for back up is the best thing I could do. If you're like me, you have a hard time asking for help because you want to make sure everything gets done right. The hardest challenge I've had in parenting Bob is being comfortable asking for help. Below are some reasons why making a call for back up can be good for you.

You Get a Break

This past weekend, I yelled at Bob as we had an argument about whether or not he'd showered the night before. This has been a sticking point for us because he's become allergic to water. He'd rather not shower (according to my bff who's son is 17 - this is a normal developmental stage for pre-teen boys). So, I called Bob's father for back up. I felt myself getting so angry that I was ready to snap and I really did not want to. So I asked for help to get a break. In that moment, I could have lost control. Instead, I asked for help. When you ask for help, you can get a break from the challenges of parenting a child with mental illness.

You Keep Your Cool

Losing control is not an option especially when parenting a special needs child. Not keeping your cool can set you up for failure. Why? Because your child will end up learning that losing your patience is how to get attention even if it is negative attention. I don't want Bob to learn how to lose control. I want him to learn how to manage his emotions in a healthy way. By calling for back up, I was able to calm down faster and know that help was on the way. Besides, Bob also saw how calling for help made a difference.

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You Put Yourself First

Asking for help allows you to put yourself first. Parents, in general, feel some guilt when putting their needs ahead of their child. It doesn't mean they love their child less; it means that they can be better parents by taking care of themselves. Bob is THE most important person in my life and I'm not okay if he's not okay. But, I also know that he isn't the center of my universe. I know that I have to eat right, sleep well and take care of myself to be the best mom I can be to him. By calling for help and putting myself first (ie calming down) I keep myself from losing my cool and taking it out on Bob. And I teach him how to take care of himself.

Asking for help is hard, no question. But, parenting a child with mental illness is much harder when you go through it alone. Call for back up and everyone wins.

photo credit: deeplifequotes via photopin cc

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, November 19). Parenting Lessons: Call for Back Up, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 23 from

Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

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