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How Your Mental Health Impacts Your Children

According to an article from the Annals of Epidemiology, in the United States, approximately 12.8 million parents have a mental health disorder. Whether you are a parent or not, living with a mental health disorder can increase difficulties with daily functioning and maintaining relationships. However, while parenting has its challenges, parenting with an untreated mental health disorder can compound your experiences.

Mental Health and Parenting

According to “Talk About Mental Health: For Parents and Caregivers” from Mental Health America (MHA), a mental health disorder alone is not sufficient to create mental health difficulties for your children. Rather, it is how you cope with your disorder that can have an impact on your children’s mental well-being. As noted in an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both parent’s and children’s mental health are connected to each other. Therefore, difficulties coping with symptoms from disorders like depression and anxiety can impede your parenting.

As noted by MHA and the CDC, listed below are some ways maladaptive coping skills can impact your parenting and your children’s mental wellness:

  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Diminished ability to show interest in your children
  • Issues with parent-child communication
  • Difficulty providing care

Moreover, while it may feel daunting, talking about mental wellness with your children can support the whole family.

Talking About Mental Health With Your Children

An article from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) encourages parents to practice active listening when talking about mental health with children. Listed below are some ways to start a conversation with your children about mental wellness:

  • Use uncomplicated language
  • Age appropriate detail
  • Create a safe nonjudgmental environment
  • Ask them about their feelings
  • Listen to their questions and concerns
  • Talk about professional support

Moreover, with communication, you can start learning how to build healthy coping strategies together.

Building Healthy Coping Strategies

According to an article from Frontiers in Psychiatry, while some symptoms may be a common feature of your disorder, building adaptive coping strategies can be beneficial for parental coping. Your children learn their developmental, emotional, and social skills from you. Therefore, when you engage in adaptive coping that highlights planning and active problem-solving, your children learn to cope in that way too. Listed below are some coping strategies you can incorporate into your life with your children:

  • Deep breathing
  • Building a routine
  • Spending time together
    • Reading
    • Games
    • Arts and crafts
    • Gardening
  • Going for walks
  • Engaging in positive self-talk

Moreover, at The Guest House, digging into the root of your disorder is an integral part of the recovery process. When we understand where your actions and behavior stem from, it allows us to collaborate on a tailored treatment plan and develop coping techniques for your specific needs. Therefore, our commitment to meeting you where you are with personalized treatment plans gives us the space to offer a wide range of therapeutic modalities. Here, at The Guest House, we believe in the importance of providing tools for healing you can carry with you to support long-term recovery.

Living with an untreated mental health disorder as a parent can negatively impact your ability to parent effectively. You may find it more difficult to communicate with your children or give them the care they need. However, with support, you can help yourself and your children build healthier coping skills to support your long-term recovery. At The Guest House, we believe in the value of personalized treatment plans to meet you where you are on your recovery journey and build coping strategies that make sense for you. To learn more, call us at (855) 483-7800.