Just found a great Australian site — National Network of Adult & Adolescent Children of Mentally Ill Parents — with super advice (see below). The site also features a great downloadable Family Management Crisis Plan.
Tips for Parents with a mental illness for managing life with Children and Young people.
- Be honest with you kids.
- Let them know when you are feeling stressed.
- Talk to them about what you can and can’t do.
- Don’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool. (Hav to admit I’m a little in the dark about the cotton wool advice — pk).
- Let them do ‘kids things’ within reason, let them go to birthday parties and to the pool to the gym.
- Let them go to youth groups, sporting activities, church, religious activities.
- Don’t be over protective.
- Because when you are really unwell these positive experiences from these things can pay off.
- Let them talk to friends and develop friendships in these activities; you have to let them be part of their community.
- Keep well by taking your medication, have regular contact with your psychiatrist.
- Give your kids positive reinforcement.
- Tell them they have done a good job when they have done the washing up or the vacuuming or a task that you appreciate.
- Tell them that you love them, unconditionally, as often as you can.
- Does not matter what they do (your kids), good or bad, tell them that you love them.