Mental illness affects everyone, the impact of medical health conditions can be on male and female, rich and poor, young and old, people who have or don’t have children, on everyone. Parenting is equally rewarding and at the same time a daunting task that is why good mental health is very important for upbringing a child.
How A Parent’s Mental Illness affect Children?
There are no certain measurements to ensure the impact of a parent’s mental health condition on their children. It is varied from parent to parent and many times it is unpredictable because on the other side there are children with a normal mind and they do have different natures too.
It is believed and seen that parent’s mental illness can affect their children biologically, psychosocially, and environmentally too but not all the children get affected in the same way. Some of them learn to react to their parent’s changed behaviour caused by mental illness and they develop to deal with it.
A parent’s mental illness is not the only cause that creates problems for the child or on a family member it depends on how mental illness affects a parent and his/her behavior, how the other family members react on the condition of a parent, and how much they support. Parentage, the severity of medical illness, the stress on the whole family all equally affect on the child. Child’s age and stage of development are also important factors.
Children whose parents are suffering from mental illness are always at risk for developing social, emotional, and behavioral problems. And there is no doubt that an inconsistent, unpredictable family environment generally has been seen in families in which a parent has a mental illness; it contributes to a child’s risk. Other factors that place all children at risk, but particularly increase the vulnerability of children whose parents have a mental illness, include:
- Occupational or marital difficulties
- Poor parent-child communication
- Parent’s co-occurring substance abuse disorder
- Openly aggressive or hostile behavior by a parent
- Single-parent families
Increasing a child’s protective factors helps develop his or her resiliency. Resilient children understand that they are not responsible for their parent’s difficulties, and are able to move forward in the face of life’s challenges. It is always important to consider the age and stage of development when supporting children. Protective factors for children include:
- A parent’s warm and supportive relationship with his or her children
- Help and support from immediate and extended family members
- A sense of being loved by their parent
- Positive self-esteem
- Good coping skills
- Positive peer relationships
- Interest in and success at school
- Healthy engagement with adults outside the home
- An ability to articulate their feelings
- Parents who are functioning well at home, at work, and in their social relationships
- Parental employment