Becoming parents is bliss. Parenting is a challenging phase, but we all cherish it. Parenting is an essential factor that affects the development of early psychopathology. It is a sensitive thing, and harsh discipline during parenting can lead to behavioral problems in children. What if you’re parenting with a mental health problem? Being parents with a mental health problem can be tricky. But with the proper help and support, you can manage your parenting phase and mental health.
Mental health problems can encounter any person. It involves people who have or want to have children of their own. Parenting is a pleasant but difficult task as well. But it brings some distinct challenges for people with mental health conditions.
This small piece of writing is all about mental health and parenting. It will help you understand parenting and mental health problems, where you can get help to support yourself and your children.
How can mental health affect your parenting?
Being parents, you face challenges, but you may face additional difficulties if you have a mental health problem. Mental health problems vary in terms of how critical they are and how they are affecting you. You might require continuous extra support, or there are a few days when you need more help. It depends on how severe your mental health is. Along with mental health issues, some unpleasant events like money problems or a relationship breakdown can add an extra dose of stress in life. Such stressful situations make things more challenging for a parent.
If you are not mentally fit, you may find it challenging to do simple parenting tasks. For example:
- If you feel low because of depression, it will become challenging to fulfill your children’s basic needs like water, food, warm bed sheets, etc.
- If you are mentally stressed, it seems intricate to manage your mood or emotions around your children. It leaves a negative effect on children’s minds.
- In parenting, every task needs to be done with perfection. When you are unwell, physical or emotional care of children is complex.
- It becomes tricky to manage your children’s behavior or set limits for them.
Did you know that the mental health of children is directly connected with parents’ mental health? As per the recent study, one out of 14 children, aged between 1-17 years, whose parents reported poor mental health, had poor general health, mental, emotional, or developmental disability, adverse childhood experiences.
How can children be affected by your mental health?
Parents support children’s mental health. If parents with mental health problems get enough support from family and friends, then children don’t experience any adverse effects. But if there is no one to support them, then children can be affected by your poor mental health.
- Children might worry about your health.
- Because you are not well, they might exchange the role of parenting.
- Children might forget to enjoy their childhood because they have to put their family needs first.
- Children may develop a mental, emotional, or developmental disability.
- They might not be comfortable sharing their worries with their parents.
- They may experience bullying.
- They start thinking wrong about their parent’s mental health.
Parents who are not mentally healthy and have the symptoms of depression or anxiousness may have more trouble providing care for their children than parents with good mental health.
How can you maintain your mental health?
Sometimes parents hesitate to seek help because of being judged by society. Please don’t pressurize yourself too much to become an “ideal parent.” Everyone has flaws. There is no guilt in seeking extra support.
There are some tips that you can try to maintain your mental health and parenting.
Don’t ignore your mental health.
It would be best if you take care of your mental health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Always eat healthy foods, take out some time for exercise or yoga and have a sound sleep for around 8 hours. If you are an alcoholic or smoker, quit that immediately. These are factors that affect your mental health directly or indirectly.
Build a network that supports you
You should build a network of people on whom you can rely. Tell them to know when you find things difficult to manage. Please share your thoughts with them. Ask for their support, whether it’s practical and emotional. You can ask for help getting the children to school or taking a doctor’s appointment.
Make a routine and stick to it.
Write down a proper routine of yourself as well as your family. Sticking to the routine of mealtimes and bedtimes can help you feel more grounded. It helps your children feel more guarded. It will also help people who are helping your family and can provide continuity and a sense of security.
Please write down the likes and dislikes of your children and include them in their routine. It makes you feel that things are in your control.
Check with your boss for flexible working hours.
Having a good work-life balance can help you manage your mental health and parenting more healthily.
Ask for help from your regional authority.
Your local authority has to help you if you have poor mental health and cannot care for yourself. The local authority can also help your children if they are caring for you.
It is not easy for you to ask for help for yourself, but don’t feel guilty. It is for the betterment of you and your children.
Talk to your children.
Children worry less if you tell them the truth about your mental health condition. So share clear, factual information about your mental health problem with your children.
If you have some mental health conditions and are worrying about parenting, then let me tell you. Several parents with poor mental health can care for their children safely and lovingly. But they need the support of family, friends, or healthcare professionals to overcome the problematic situation. But remember, never feel embarrassed to ask for additional help as a parent, whatever its reasons.
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