Life with Bob

After nearly two years, I am officially closing the laptop on my blog at HealthyPlace. When I started, my son had just been diagnosed with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). Two years later, I have filled these pages with information on how we've parented a child with this relatively new diagnosis. I've delved into his attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), too, and the ways we've tried to manage the ups and downs that come with it. I've learned a lot, and I hope others have, too.
The use of restraints for children with mental illness in hospitals and schools is common and legal. While instances of abuse and overuse do happen and should be taken very seriously, this post isn't meant to debate whether they should be eliminated in treatment. Neither is it meant to promote the use of restraints. Instead, this is a look at how my own family has experienced them.
Myths about parenting a child with mental illness are harmful, so let's straighten some of them out. If your child struggles with mental illness, you've faced judgment and unsolicited advice from almost everybody. None of it compares to the judgment and fear we heap on ourselves. It's easy to get dragged down by ignorance and stigma. Debunking common myths, then, may make the journey through parenting a child with mental illness a little easier.
Children have suicidal thoughts. In fact, every five days, a child under age 13 dies by suicide [1]. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, but often, we leave children out of this discussion. What can we do as parents to include them and help our children who have suicidal thoughts?
Parents may be surprised to hear that antipsychotic medications are a common treatment for childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They're often prescribed to help children who experience intense mood swings, aggression, destructive behaviors, or self-harm. These medications can be life-changing and life-saving, but the term "antipsychotic" is so stigmatized that parents might be terrified when doctors recommend antipsychotics. Of course, always consider the risks, but also consider the benefits of using antipsychotic medications in childhood.
Back to school tips for parents of kids with mental illness will help you and your child manage the back to school season with all its excitement and anxiety. We get new clothes, supplies, and worries. When a child has a mental illness, we also have to consider psychiatric medications, whether teachers can manage behaviors, how the school handles disciplinary actions, and childcare for the days our kid is asked to leave early or gets too anxious to go at all. Below are some going back to school tips to help prepare you and your child with mental illness.
The definition of the least restrictive environment is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It mandates that children with disabilities should learn alongside their regular education peers as much as is safe and possible. Why is it so important that our children with mental illnesses be included in the least restricted environment?
Whether to use attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug holidays or not is a secondary decision for doctors and parents of children with ADHD. But before you discuss ADHD drug holidays, you must decide whether to use ADHD medications at all. First, you have to manage the stigma and judgment that comes with medicating your child. Then, if you do decide on ADHD medications, you have to juggle side-effects, changes, and the complicated decision of ADHD drug holidays.
It has been my privilege to write for “Life with Bob” on the blog for this past year. HealthyPlace provides such a valuable resource to the community of people living with mental illness, offering insights, information, and open communication on the wide variety of issues that affect our community. Therefore, it is with some sadness that I say “goodbye” to my role in this fine organization.
The transition to middle school from elementary is tough for any kid, let alone kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Middle schoolers are hormone-riddled, parent-defying, not-quite-adolescent bundles of angst who suddenly find themselves more independent and socially engaged than ever. Many of our kids with ADHD spent years just trying to manage one classroom in elementary school. As parents, we're just as anxiety-ridden when we have to figure it all out again when our children transition to middle school.