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Author Topic: 8.44 | Child Development and Parents with Mental Illness  (Read 18809 times)
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« on: February 06, 2012, 08:23:40 AM »

Child Development and Parents with Mental Illness

As parents, we benefit from understanding the natural developmental stages our children experiences as they grow up. It's good to know that a toddler's "no" is most natural and necessary, for instance.

As parents, stepparents, grandparents, and other significant adults who may share in the care of children who have a parent with mental illness, an additional layer of understanding is also needed. How does the child's developmental needs intersect with the parent's mental illness? What are the impacts of a parent's mental illness during different developmental stages? How can we support children so they grow up as resilient as possible?

In this workshop, we will:



    • Learn about developmental stages and in particular the developmental needs of the child at each stage


    • Learn about the potential effects of parental mental illness on children at different developmental stages


    • Relate this experience to what we have seen/are seeing in our own families


    • Discuss how we can create positive experiences, solutions, and situations for the children in our lives


    [/list]

    Although examples and questions are welcome, let's refrain from venting about the parent with mental illness. It's a given that the behaviors caused by the mental illness are troubling and difficult for all involved; the focus of this workshop is on seeking information and positive ideas for helping kids.

    B&W
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    « Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 11:19:03 AM »

    I'm so interested in this.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

    What a wonderful suprise to see this when I opened this section of the boards this morning.

    I have to be honest in I'm a little bit worried lately. My stepkiddos mama just went thru a divorce and moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. The two youngest are constantly on my mind lately. Especially the youngest who is 10... .who I feel is having her little personal boundaries impeded upon in several different facets.

    Where do we begin? Smiling (click to insert in post)
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    « Reply #2 on: February 06, 2012, 11:49:29 AM »

    Excerpt
    Where do we begin?



    Great question, and I'm glad the topic of interest. I have to hand quite a bit of information on child development and how parental mental illness can affect the necessary developmental tasks that children need to complete. I'll be working through the developmental stages, providing summaries and points to consider.

    As a way to start, how about if we assemble a "question and worry list" related to the children in our lives and how a parent's mental illness may be impacting them.

    1. What are you worried about?

    2. What questions do you have?


    We'll try to connect the information to the worries and questions throughout the workshop. The information and discussion probably won't ease all worries or answer all questions, but it will be a start and help us all to look at these matters through a child development lens, which can be very useful.

    So who's game to start?

    B&W
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    « Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 12:38:14 PM »

    I want to point out that my stepdaughters are 10, almost 13, and 15. I'm sure there are different stages of development going on for all of us.

    1. What are you worried about?

    1. Lack of Boundaries/Enmeshment  

    2. Emotional Incest - the youngest SD10 and mom share a bedroom

    3. Parentifying - all three have taken on the role of caretaker to their mom (especially the youngest), the two youngest are being asked to stay with her because she is so "sad" without them.

    4. The priority shuffle - when BPDmama isn't in a relationship the shift of the girls' importance becomes extremely high. A relationship will cause it to be low.

    2. What questions do you have?

    How do these kinds of "issues" affect their development? Their sense of independence and personality?   Emotional Intelligence?

    I've seen charts in the past, is there one to reference to see the developmental stages (and where the kiddos might need help on the chart)?
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    « Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 02:08:33 PM »

    1. What are you worried about?

    I worry that nons expect (or hope) a child will be able to stand up to a pwBPD in a way we weren't successful or that is beyond their years. [I told T that X regularly yells at D14 when they are in the car and that scares D because she can't get away. T said D should wait till they've reached their destination and then say something. D and I both think, "Have you ever met a disordered person?"]

    I worry that the only tools we have are beyond the capacity of a child to implement.

    I worry that radical acceptance is different for kids than for adults. I can accept that x is what she is and will behave as she behaves. For a child, who does not have the capacity to think ahead to the future where they will be out of the house on their own, acceptance of the pwBPD probably feels like giving up and believing their life will always suck.

    I worry that the kids are having to stay hyper-vigilant and as a result don't experience the carefree childhood they deserve.

    I worry that for those in the legal process, too much of the outcome of custody depends on how the child expresses their own perceptions, and that so much weight is placed on their shoulders.

    2. What questions do you have?

    What are the stages of development of children as regards their understanding of a parent's behaviors, and what can be expected of them at each stage? A younger child might recognize yelling versus not yelling, while an older child might understand that yelling happens after the parent [drinks/pays bills/fights with grandma]. How do we recognize their stage of development and what might be expected of them with regard to a parent's behaviors?

    What can a child do in the face of a rage, recognizing that a child can be punished for speaking up, walking away, etc.?

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    « Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 03:01:44 PM »

    My BPDmom watched my son 8 hours a day 5 days a week until I went NC when he was 2 1/2.  So my situation is a little different but I do have some questions:

    1. What are you worried about?

    I worry that he may have been alternately showered with affection and adored and then ignored/neglected when something else caught her attention.  I worry that he probably witnessed raging and screaming and scary emotional displays fairly often.  As a result of the above, I worry that my son might develop anger issues, problems processing emotions properly, suitable coping techniques for stress, difficulty socializing with peers.   

    2.  What questions do you have?

    a.  What impact would a mentally ill care provider have on a child aged birth to age 3? 

    b.  At such a young age, how can one identify behaviors or development that might need to be addressed?

    c.  Is there anything specific that can be done to reverse or mitigate any adverse impact that might result from having a mentally ill care-provider during these early years?

    Thanks!
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    « Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 03:20:28 PM »

    Thanks for starting this topic---I have so many concerns!  Our gd3 lives with her uBPDm, who is our dil.  She is separated from DS, who is somewhat intellectually limited.  We support them.  They are 300 miles away.  I have not seen gd3 in over a year, but get photos by email regularly, and occasional videos.   She appears to be loved, and developing normally, although I only am exposed to her during good times

     

    What am I worried about?  Her isolation from family, and from others who might compensate for mothers rages and DS's limitations.  He loves her dearly, but sees her infrequently, mostly when he has money to give to UBPDdil.  They argue constantly when together; they are  separated, and we hope will file for divorce when his year's separation is up.  But in the meantime, how can we help gd3?

    I worry about dh and my age (mid 60's) and our long term ability to provide for this little girl and our ds, who works minimum wage jobs, and will perhaps never be able to support her.

    I worry about her chances of having a normal life, given the genetics and environment she has been left with. 

    I know her parents love her; I know dh and I are in no way able to step in and parent her; but how can we help, other than with financial support, sending her gifts, communicating when we are allowed to, and praying?  I hate this disease, and hate what it does to the innocent children. 

    Thanks for any ideas anyone can give me.     
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    « Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 11:32:04 PM »

    Lot of questions and worries on all our minds--not surprisingly.

    Let's work through the information on development and see if we can get a framework for the developmental needs of kids and how mental illness in a parent might impact them at different ages--and what we might be able to do to help, knowing that we cannot fix everything.

    Infancy and Toddlerhood

    Developmental Tasks of the Infant

    (0-8 months)

    • The infant learns basic trust to prepare him/her for all future relationships.

    • Connection and attachment play a crucial role in the development of the “self.”

    Developmental Tasks of the Toddler

    (9 months - 2 years)

    • More awareness of the consequences of behaviour.

    • Beginning of self-confidence.

    • Time for exploration.

    • The toddler begins to use symbols (images, words, or actions that stand for something else).

    • Socialization and language development begin.

    Developmental task and impact information from: SUPPORTING FAMILIES WITH PARENTAL MENTAL ILLNESS: A Community Education and Development Workshop, November 2002, British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development and Ministry of Health Services. www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/200/MHA_Parental_Mental_Illness_Support.pdf




    A few questions:

    1. Did/does the child in your life have at least one trust-based relationship in infancy?

    2. Many of the questions and worries described so far relate to inconsistency. Is/as inconsistent parenting (attention, mood, presence, ability to be attuned to baby) a big factor in the infancy of the child/children you have in mind?

    3. Did/does the child meet developmental milestones in infancy according to his/her doctor?

    4. Attachment theory highlights the importance of a "secure base" and "safe haven" for the child (consistency and safety from which to explore). If these are not present or not consistent in infancy or toddlerhood, the child will develop strategies to cope that may create difficulties in the form of mental health problems and troubled relationships. Do you see the child/children in your life developing coping strategies such as avoidance or anxiety over the presence or safety of a caregiver?

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    « Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 10:01:06 AM »

    My dh and I have had custody of our gd6. GD has always lived in our home, mom was primary caregiver until about 8 mos when we took over daytime care. I often provided nighttime care. Agree inconsistent r/s with mom has always been a concern, and my own 'need' to keep mom in the picture. Some of this is per our legal custody stipulation requiring consultation about major life decisions. Some is the belief that gd is better off with some kind of r/s with her bio-parents (dad is in another state mostly in jail - infrequent letters or phone calls) Has this limited my ability to be consistent primary attachment for gd? Have I provided a good enough 'safe haven' for gd?

    Gd has a lot of issues with being clingy when seperating from me - daycare, preschool, school when not on the bus (she seems to manage without so much sadness when on the bus with all her friends - cries after I drop her off if I need to take her). Is this a normal part of her temperatment/development? This seemed beyond the norm for her developmental stage - continued even after years at the same daycare/preschool. She is able to be with neighborhood families now without this hestiation. After I walk with her to ring the doorbell I can leave while she has a playdate.

    DD expresses great concerns that our empathic parenting style will make gd into an easy target for bullies, and not prepared to 'make it' in the tough world. How much of this is DD's projection of her own issues and how much is accurate. DD refuses to participate in any kind of family counseling, read books or articles about developmental stage or parenting other than giving me articles she gets from the internet. Some of these are good articles, though she does not practice the ideas given.

    How can we balance these differing parenting styles while all living in the same household? DD undercuts my authority as a parent figure, and accuses me of undercutting her authority. And this is inconsistent. If DD is focused on ourside r/s with friends she has little daily contact w/gd. If her other r/s are in distress she suddenly is all about us 'stealing her daughter' and turning gd against her.

    I am just trying to keep gd safe. And I can see gd is able to stand up to her mom, leave the room (even though we a both 'punished' for this by DD's extreme tantrums) and express verbally her concerns and fears. I wonder if gd feels put in a caretaker position between DD and me.

    THis is not structured as well as others replies - hope my worries and questions can be wiggled out of this.

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    « Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 10:14:41 AM »



    A few questions:

    1. Did/does the child in your life have at least one trust-based relationship in infancy?

    My dh and I have done our best to provide this for gd. We also provided consistent, trusted daycare home for her starting at 18 months. She was home with dh from 9 to 18 months - he was in transistion between jobs. She was with her mom during the work day prior to 9 months, and I provided most of the care when home after the first 3 months (when daddy had taken a break for a couple months at a time).

    2. Many of the questions and worries described so far relate to inconsistency. Is/as inconsistent parenting (attention, mood, presence, ability to be attuned to baby) a big factor in the infancy of the child/children you have in mind?

    Yes, I do think this made gd's letting go harder later in her life. There were some attachement issues when she got to preschool age and she could walk away from our home. We had to actually lock her in our house, with a plan worked out with child/family T summer she was 5.

    3. Did/does the child meet developmental milestones in infancy according to his/her doctor?

    Yes she was on target for all these. Her mom never initiated any of these well-baby visits (or sick baby visits either) and stopped going along when it became painful for her as I had all the answers to the doctors questions - I was the one giving the care. Actually seemed to put more distance in her r/s with gd, not motivate her to work harder to be in gd's life.

    4. Attachment theory highlights the importance of a "secure base" and "safe haven" for the child (consistency and safety from which to explore). If these are not present or not consistent in infancy or toddlerhood, the child will develop strategies to cope that may create difficulties in the form of mental health problems and troubled relationships. Do you see the child/children in your life developing coping strategies such as avoidance or anxiety over the presence or safety of a caregiver?

    Yes, we have been working a lot with avoidance and anxiety issues with gd from an early age. These were especially evident after visits with DD when she was living away from the family home. When she was married with an infant son for 18 months, then again when DD was evicted and living homeless for 20 months. In some ways it is better with DD in the home, even given the 4-6 week cycles down into a raging state.

    qcr
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    « Reply #10 on: February 07, 2012, 10:37:13 AM »

    I read the link about attachment theory, and based on that gd has a good attachment to dh and I. As she has become better able to ask me questions and state her opinions and needs; I can see that this is a growing strength for her. I think we are doing OK. I have really stepped up to intervene with safety plan when DD is in meltdown state. Gd is also able now to verbally participate in her sessions with T, and looks forward to these. This may be a developmental shift, and also I am being more consistent an accepting in my role as her main parent. I have involved the local police as mediators when DD is in meltdown, often triggered by engagement of the safety plan - ie. gd or I leaving the room/house when DD is yelling, cursing, name calling etc. directed at me and dh. Often at how we are handling gd.

    I can see DD as fitting the 'disorganized attachment' profile. How much of that was from my inconsistent availability to her as a young child? Undiagnosed bipolarII and PTSD that often was triggered by DD's 'disorganized' behaviors - and chicken and the egg paradox. I just did not know how to manage this child, and still don't know how to relate to her as a young adult.

    As I parent gd I continuously compare this to how I parented DD. They are very different individuals - how much of this is due to my increased awareness of how I parent?

    qcr
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    « Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 10:56:41 AM »

    1. Did/does the child in your life have at least one trust-based relationship in infancy? 

    Yes

    2. Is/as inconsistent parenting (attention, mood, presence, ability to be attuned to baby) a big factor in the infancy of the child/children you have in mind?

    Yes - inconsistent attention, mood, and ability to be attuned to the baby from care provider

    3. Did/does the child meet developmental milestones in infancy according to his/her doctor?

    During infancy, yes.  During toddler years, teachers have noted a slight delay in speech compared to peers and difficulties with socialization compared to peers

    4.  Do you see the child/children in your life developing coping strategies such as avoidance or anxiety over the presence or safety of a caregiver?   No - he appears to have secure attachment judging by most factors, but he did have exaggerated distress when separated from me from about 6 months through 2.5 years of age, he is getting better able to separate now - but will revert to extreme distress due to separation if other factors are involved (e.g., when he is sick or when we are traveling).   
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    « Reply #12 on: February 07, 2012, 10:26:31 PM »

    Thanks for all the great reflections and comments so far.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

    There are some generalities that can be made about the effects of mental illness of children. Not all of these will be present and there are certainly factors that can mitigate them. But these are things to look out for in the early years:



    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on the Infant


    (0-8 months)

    Children may:

    1. Not receive necessary attention, may be neglected physically and/or emotionally, may experience tension or anxiety or have accidents due to caregiver distractibility.

    2. Have deficits in stimulation (caregivers may miss cues). Excessive stimulation may occur during manic phase.

    3. Show a lack of response (eye contact and connection). The child may develop more slowly cognitively.

    4. Experience separation trauma (in relation to hospitalization, etc.).

    5. Bond to a sibling, as extended family and community are more involved, a possible benefit.

    Caregivers may:

    6. Give less time for care giving, may end breastfeeding due to medication.

    7. Misread cues (crying due to hunger, boredom, etc.).

    8. Lack consistency in routine.

    9. Not know or recognize the health needs of the child.

    10. Neglect their own physical and emotional needs and, as a result, may be hospitalized and place extra stresses on the family.

    (9 months-2 years)

    • Previous tasks apply

    Children may:

    1. Experience general neglect as emotional and/or physical needs (hygiene) may not be met.

    2. Feel the impact of poverty.

    3. Be very adaptable to various situations.

    4. Not be aware of social stigma at this stage.

    Caregivers may:

    5. Experience generalized stress and be inconsistent at setting appropriate limits.

    6. Provide inadequate structure and safety required for learning new behaviours (toilet training).

    7. Not meet child’s special needs (caregiver may not have emotional and/or physical energy/stamina).

    8. Not explain hospitalization to the child.

    9. Model some inappropriate behaviours (e.g. washing hands repeatedly).

    10. Exert either too much or too little control, not allowing for exploring, curiosity or risk taking.

    Developmental task and impact information from: SUPPORTING FAMILIES WITH PARENTAL MENTAL ILLNESS: A Community Education and Development Workshop, November 2002, British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development and Ministry of Health Services. www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/200/MHA_Parental_Mental_Illness_Support.pdf




    1. Have you seen any of these impacts? Which ones and how did/do they manifest?

    2. What has helped to mitigate these impacts, either something you have been able to do or other factors (extended family, efforts on the part of the mentally ill parent, professional support, etc.)?

    3. Did/do you see other impacts that concern you at this developmental stage?
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    « Reply #13 on: February 08, 2012, 08:10:36 AM »

    Members of this board have children in their lives at all developmental stages, and I will continue to add in information about developmental tasks and impacts (from www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/200/MHA_Parental_Mental_Illness_Support.pdf unless otherwise noted). In general, the same self-reflection questions apply:

    Self-Reflection

    1. Have you seen any of these impacts? Which ones and how did/do they manifest?

    2. What has helped to mitigate these impacts, either something you have been able to do or other factors (extended family, efforts on the part of the mentally ill parent, professional support, etc.)?

    3. Did/do you see other impacts that concern you at this developmental stage?

    At some stages, particularly as kids get toward adolescence, new questions apply and we can discuss them.




    Developmental Tasks of the Pre-schoolers

    (3-5 years)

    • Autonomy and mastery.

    • Socialization begins.

    • Protection of the child at this stage is important.

    • The need for safety to explore the environment.

    Excerpt
    Pre-School Years are the time for development of problem-solving skills and self control skills. Mentally ill parents may experience difficulty in teaching such skills as they try and cope with their own overpowering problems. Discipline can be inconsistent or absent leading to behavior control problems in the child. Ultimately, many children of parents with mental illness enter school with delays in emotional, social, and cognitive development. They may already be behind before they get started (Avison & Gotlib 1990).

    A Lasting Impression: A Teacher's Guide to Helping Children of Parents with a Mental Illness, Canadian Mental Health Association.

    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Pre-schoolers

    (3 - 5 years)

    • Previous tasks apply.

    Children may:

    1. Feel shame and self-doubt if experimentation and exploration attempts are restricted; begin to be aware of social stigma; be confused about reality, theirs versus their caregiver’s.

    2. Have difficulty with trust and confidence if caregiver’s world is one of mistrust, anxiety or paranoia.

    3. Not experience complete safety at home (be prone to accidents, have fear of new experiences).

    4. Compensate for caregivers who may be under involved – (exaggerated mastery or lost confidence and withdrawal).

    5. Lack autonomy due to limited assistance from their caregiver throughout their lives (due to hospitalization).

    6. Have unclear boundaries resulting from caregivers being strict one day and over permissive the next. They may not master new skills because of lack of consistent practice (loss of ability, delayed shutdown or exaggerated mastery when caring for the caregiver).

    7. Have an unpredictable daily life. Caregiver may not always meet expectations in terms of lunches, field trips, duties, carpool, etc.

    8. Have difficulty with socialization, exploration and interaction with outside world.

    Caregiver may:

    9. Not like change and may not have the flexibility to vary routine in order to meet child’s need for growth.

    10. Have disorganized life style (frequent moves) especially if the caregiver’s management skills and financial resources are limited.

    Note the growing emphasis on shame and self-doubt. Emotional validation and providing safe opportunities for the child to achieve mastery are critical to improving shame and self-doubt.
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    « Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 09:00:16 AM »

    I'm late to this party but want to participate, both as a CASA and as a stepmother to two girls whose mother has indications of a Cluster B personality disorder.  Unfortunately, I don't know much about their lives before I entered them except what my husband has told me; I think that life for them all was normal (although very high-emotional drama, nothing ever good enough) until their mom had multiple miscarriages and then became terrified of losing her daughters in any way, including their affection.  I relate all of her behaviors towards her daughters to this insecurity.  The behaviors I see most often (and disturbingly) are inconsistent or nonexistent boundaries, a propensity to twist words or an interpretation of a situation around to suit one's needs, emotional parentification, a demonstrated inability to take accountability, a demand for unequivocal loyalty, and a desire to be more of the children's friend, including making them her equal or doing "cool" inappropriate things like letting SD13 drive a car, not requiring helmet use on bikes or skateboards, taking SD9 to R-rated movies, and feeding both of them junk food although SD9 has weight and health issues (very high cholesterol).  I am torn because I see the girls visibly relax and enjoy being children (and know what's expected of them as children) with us, but I also feel that their happiness and affection for my husband and me causes them additional difficulties at home with their mother.  I don't know whether or how to coach them to walk on eggshells there, whether or how to support/encourage my husband's pursuit of primary custody, and especially, how to validate their experiences with their mother without speaking negatively of her or conveying approval of what happens there.

    I'll jump in when we get to a developmental stage at which I've known the girls but I will be saving the resources and notes as well.  Thanks so much for holding this workshop.
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    « Reply #15 on: February 08, 2012, 08:36:18 PM »

    This is such an interesting thread.  I entered therapy just over a year ago due to the ending of a relationship with a BPDbf.  What I came to understand is that I am more tolerant of BPD behavior because my parents both had strong traits of BPD/NPD.  My childhood was all over the place - sometimes loving, sometimes hostile, very often and consistently completely neglectful.  My sibling and I were often left alone, me responsible for the sibling that was 5 years younger.  I remember frequently comforting my mother after huge fights with my father while she blamed me for the fight.

    The sad truth is that the conditioning I received as a child has colored most of my adult relationships and left me very immature in important ways.  I realize now I have co-dependent behaviors.  The good news is that self-awareness has allowed me to at least intellectualize my behaviors/choices and hopefully the emotions will follow.  For example, I realize I didn't have a trust-based relationship until I was an adult.  It takes a lot of work for me emotionally to trust anyone to meet any of my needs and I'm still working on it.  But, at least, I now know what I am looking for.



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    « Reply #16 on: February 08, 2012, 11:03:47 PM »

    Join in anytime.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

    Continuing with the developmental information:

    Developmental Tasks of Middle Childhood

    (6 - 12 years)

    • Emotional development

    • Development of concrete operational thought

    • Educational adjustment

    • Children become less dependent

    • Increased association with friends

    • Development of a sense of competence and importance

    • Onset of puberty

    Excerpt
    The Early School Years of a child consist of dealing with people outside the family. The development of social skills are important to successfully interact with other peers and teachers. A child in a family disrupted by mental illness may have their needs neglected in favor of those of the affected parent. The parenting role can be further compromised by spousal discord and divorce which is more common in families with a parent with mental illness. The child may feel responsibility and guilt for the family disruption. At the same time, the child may have a strong desire to spend more time in a stable environment, such as at a friend’s house. This feeling of abandoning the mentally ill parent may be viewed as disloyal by the child leading to further guilt (Dunn 1993). Turmoil at home with lack of consistent stable environment can lead to poor academic performance and inappropriate behavior at school.



    A Lasting Impression: A Teacher's Guide to Helping Children of Parents with a Mental Illness, Canadian Mental Health Association.


    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Middle Childhood

    (6 – 12 years)

    • Previous tasks apply

    Children may:

    1. Experience loss or disorganization at onset of illness or at hospitalization.

    2. Become resilient.

    3. Experience anxiety due to chaos and lack of structure and may be afraid to leave caregiver alone.

    4. Feel anger toward caregiver for not fulfilling caregiver role, not providing what other caregiver provide.

    5. Be vulnerable to stories of fear due to literal and concrete thinking.

    6. Have their worldviews impacted by illness (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Delusions).

    7. Compete with ill parent for attention to get their needs met.

    8. Be accustomed to hostility, violence and verbal abuse in the home.

    9. Be emotionally neglected which impacts all aspects of functioning, (skills, learning relations with peers and teachers); develop depression; not experiment with their abilities, be afraid to take risks.

    10. Have process of individuation interrupted. [Resulting in enmeshment and/or lack of maturity]

    11. Have overdeveloped capabilities in care giving but lack emotional capability.

    12. Internalize, become over-achievers, attempt to maintain order.

    13. Use coercion (of caregiver or others to get needs met).

    14. Continue to have safety issues.

    15. Have behavioural problems and substance abuse issues.

    16. Feel the need to belong (may feel alone and/or different).

    17. Now be aware of a stigma of mental illness (shame, fear, guilt); may be reluctant to bring friends home.

    18. Have difficulty trusting outsiders.

    19. Feel isolated, or have limited resources, which prevents them from joining social and group activities (clubs, sports, etc).

    20. Be under socialized, not aware of social expectations.

    21. Straddle two worlds, two sets of rules, inside vs. outside home.

    22. Learn and be more aware of normal/abnormal behaviours.

    23. Have educational risks, too much or too little involvement.

    24. Have difficulty concentrating due to chaos at home and may be seen as disruptive or having behaviour problems.

    Self-reflection Questions:

    1. Have you seen any of these impacts? Which ones and how did/do they manifest?

    2. What has helped to mitigate these impacts, either something you have been able to do or other factors (extended family, efforts on the part of the mentally ill parent, professional support, etc.)?

    3. Did/do you see other impacts that concern you at this developmental stage?

    4. Are the kids able to socialize and have experiences that increase their feelings of mastery?

    5. How are they learning to self-regulate their emotions?

    Excerpt
    People often ask me what factors contributed to my resilience [writes a daughter of a mother with bipolar and schizoaffective disorders]. I credit my mother. Despite 30 years of struggling with mental illness, she never insulted me and believed strongly in reinforcing children's self-esteem. One day, as a high school student, I teased my mother about her illness in front of one of her friends. The friend attempted to correct me, saying she did not allow her children to tease her. My mother stepped in, saying, "You have to understand, this happened to Margaret too, and she needs to laugh about it." She also acknowledged that sometimes my teasing hurt her feelings. I had not realized I was hurting my mother's feelings, and after that I stopped joking about her illness. But it was exactly my mother's awareness of my needs that contributed most to my recovery and health.

    Maggie Jarry, M.S. A Peer Saplings Story: Lifting the Veil on Parents with Mental Illness and Their Daughters and Sons. Psychiatric Services. December 2009. Vol. 60. No. 12  Emphasis mine.

    6. Is there a loving adult paying attention to and valuing the child's needs and perspective? Communicating that understanding and value? How?

    Although a personality disordered parent may struggle to have the perspective to say the equivalent of "this happened to Margaret too, and she needs to [laugh, cry, forget for a while, grieve, etc.] about it, if someone else in the child's life CAN play that role, that makes a huge difference.
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    « Reply #17 on: February 09, 2012, 06:21:26 AM »

    Chiming in... .at this age (7) I have noticed an express attempt to "cover up" BPD's behaviors, and the effects of her Dad's illness.  Loyalty is big, as D7 is constantly defending and making excuses for father's behavior. My concern is that she is therefore learning that bad behavior is acceptable, and should be tolerated.  She is already learning to mask feelings and bury her own needs to "save face."  Already a master of deception, and she has learned from me. Trying now to reverse the effects, but I don't know how beyond my own consistency. This strikes me as much too high of an expectation of a child, and one that must certainly have some very damaging results.

    How do we teach them about countering unacceptable behavior, but expect them to understand that there are exceptions to that rule (i.e when walking on eggshells). I can barely undertand it myself. 

    GREAT topic. Thanks.
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    « Reply #18 on: February 09, 2012, 06:50:39 AM »

    1. Have you seen any of these impacts? Which ones and how did/do they manifest? Nearly all of them.

    2. What has helped to mitigate these impacts, either something you have been able to do or other factors (extended family, efforts on the part of the mentally ill parent, professional support, etc.)? Extended family... .particulary those who played a smaller role prior to divorce and acknowledgement of the illness, or were not close with the BPD

    3. Did/do you see other impacts that concern you at this developmental stage? Anger with "healthy" parent , for not "fixing" it... .worries me that lack of "hero" at this age will lead to lifelong pessimism. I think kids this age are smart enough to know that disordered person is wrong, but escapes punishment. But cannot yet understand the reasons for it.

    4. Are the kids able to socialize and have experiences that increase their feelings of mastery?As much as possible, but their impact seems to pale in comparison to the more potent effects of the disordered person.

    5. How are they learning to self-regulate their emotions? I am hoping that counseling will eventually help with this... .right now I firmly believe D7 is simply ignoring her emotions. Accepting help in counseling is accepted that her Dad has a problem. So she goes, but will not engage, 5 months in.

    6. Is there a loving adult paying attention to and valuing the child's needs and perspective? Communicating that understanding and value? How? Yes. Bedtime chats about anything with an understood rule that no topic is off limits, and no anger will result from them being honest.

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    « Reply #19 on: February 09, 2012, 07:57:28 AM »

    Spotlight: What Is Theory of Mind and How Can It Help My Child?

    Excerpt
    Theory of mind is a cognitive skill where children starting at age 4 begin to understand that people can be motivated by beliefs regardless of whether those beliefs are true or false (Harris, de Rosenay, & Pons, 2005). Around ages 5-6, children also begin to understand that these true or false beliefs can also effect emotions of individuals (Pons, Harris, & de Rosenay, 2003). There is growing body of evidence that suggests that progress in linguistic abilities is a good predictor of development of theory of mind with the reverse not being true (Astington & Jenkins, 1999).

    Deaf children who are born to hearing parents are slower in developing a theory of mind because of more difficult access to sign language, as their parents themselves take time in mastering sign language (Harris, de Rosenay, & Pons, 2005). By contrast, deaf children who are born to deaf parents develop theory of mind at the same speed as normal children because of easier access to sign language (Peterson & Siegal, 2000).

    How mothers talk to their children also appears to effect their children’s development of a theory of mind. In one study, mothers who used more linguistic terms describing mental states like think, want, and hope had children that performed better on tests measuring theory of mind (Ruffman, Slade, & Crowe, 2002).

    Talking to children about thoughts and beliefs of others can make a powerful impact in helping children develop a theory of mind. Hale and Tager-Flusberg (2003) discovered that when children were given verbal feedback in correcting them as they were told to read stories dealing with thoughts and feelings of characters in the story, their understanding of the idea that people can have false beliefs went up.

    Using more mentalistic language helps children develop a theory of mind because of pragmatic features of the language, such as the enunciation of various perspectives (Harris,de Rosenay, & Pons, 2005). Using terms like think and know can help in development of theory of mind because when children themselves attribute false beliefs to others, they end up using similar linguistic constructions.

    When mothers talk to their children about how others can have false beliefs, they also end up expressing various emotions that come by the virtue of having those beliefs (Harris, de Rosenay, & Pons, 2005). This is why use of mental terms in language not only helps in understanding of false beliefs but also understanding of how people can be affected by these false beliefs.

    Gunjan Singh. "How language helps children develop a theory of mind." Cognitive Science Examiner. January 30, 2010. www.examiner.com/cognitive-science-in-national/how-language-helps-children-develop-a-theory-of-mind

    Why is it important?

    Theory of mind, also called mentalization, is a skill that helps us understand ourselves and other people. It's a developmental achievement. With strong mentalization skills, a child (or adult) can reflect on their own and others feelings, thoughts, and actions. They can reframe, find more positive views, and change. Theory of mind is a key aspect of resilience, as it gives the child the ability to see his or her experience as a story that could have different endings; gives confidence that the child has some choices; enhances his/her ability to relate to others and move through a social world; increases self-efficacy and the child puts together thoughts, feelings, and actions into positive choices. Developing theory of mind doesn't guarantee a good outcome for anyone, but having it increase a child's options. One of things that people with borderline personality disorder struggle with is mentalization (thus the disorder is sometimes treated with mentalization-based therapy).

    What can I do?

    If you are in a role with a child that you can talk with him or her, talk explicitly about:

    *perspective

    *motivations

    *what goes on in people's heads

    *where feelings come from and what motivates them

    *recognizing feelings

    *choices we can make once we recognize our feelings

    Read stories. Discuss them. Discuss movies, situations with peers, situations with public figures, what they may learn about history in school in terms of perspective, motivation, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, choices. Ask the child to speculate about the experiences of others. Play games that enhance these skills. Use these skills in relation to activities the child enjoys--sports is a natural arena for thinking and talking about strategy, feelings, and choices. If the child is interested in art, talk about the experience of the artist in making the art an the viewer in seeing it.

    If you're not in a position to impact the child through discussion, your options may be limited. If you can encourage the child's participation in activities like sports, theater, book clubs, school-based programs that focus on emotional development, and therapy, do so.
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    « Reply #20 on: February 09, 2012, 08:35:23 AM »

    My SO's son is 12, and I see a lot of the problems raised during that developmental period. Fortunately, my SO was a stay at home Dad during the boy's infancy and pre-school years, so that may have mitigated some of the attachment stuff.

    At 12, however, he is highly, highly anxious. Fearful about bad things happening to him, overwhelmed with anxiety at times. He's enmeshed with his mother and in danger of having the individuation short-circuited by this enmeshment. He does socialize but it is mostly controlled by his BPDmom (she sets up sleepovers and "playdates" still for him and seems to almost view them as HER friends, doesn't expect or allow him to be independent in this). She is treating him like a mini-spouse, telling him her worries and concerns, making it her and him against the world. He is definitely feeling pressure to defend her and to join with her against Dad.

    Interestingly, my SO recently went in for surgery and the boy got very anxious and and somewhat disorganized before the surgery out of fear for his father and himself. The night before he came into the bedroom crying 3 times and needed reassurance as he was unable to cope with all the "what if's" going through his head.

    We try to provide steady guidance to him and talk to him about his mother's behavior and reactions without bad-mouthing which is very tricky. He tends to ask to speak to me every night before bed and this seems to help him a lot as he sees me as "neutral". He's a very confused and anxious boy and I worry about the next few years. Will he stand up to her control and enmeshment and establish an independent identity? Or will he give in and become sheltered and enmeshed and more dysfunctional?
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    « Reply #21 on: February 09, 2012, 09:30:38 AM »

    I can see the potential for so many of the impacts on my gd6. Even though my DD25 accuses me of 'stealing her daughter' by getting custody and sometimes limiting her contact with gd, I think this has been a big help in gd overcoming obstacles. I have also put a lot of energy into creating connections with other families in our neighborhood with kids. This exposes gd to some great role models of good parenting as well as the give and take of friendships. She is improving in her adaptability at school.

    With my gs, I saw all of these impacts. He was in the household with my DD and her husband. There was a lot of neglect. We stepped back from this situation and he was placed in foster care at 5 months and was adopted at age 2 by his foster parents. The year of weekly visits with his dad, seperate from his mom, was very dysregulating for him. Of course DD blames me for this loss since we would not 'help' with her fussy baby. He is thriving as a 4 year old now. I have limited contact with the adoptive mom via email and her facebook page.  Gd misses having her brother - she also visited for that year.

    qcr xoxo
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    « Reply #22 on: February 09, 2012, 10:34:26 AM »

    Excerpt
    at this age (7) I have noticed an express attempt to "cover up" BPD's behaviors

    They learn it from somewhere, and most likely us. I see now how I'd cover for X, though I never saw it as that at the time. Be/c of her anxieties, I'd plan everything carefully to lessen her anxiety, I'd help her find items on a menu she could eat rather than sit for 30 min waiting, etc. D started doing the same. I made a point of stopping and letting X deal with the consequences herself, and I made a point of freeing D from the obligation to pick up where I left off.

    But rather than make the point to D that X had a problem (which would get a sympathy response from D), I worded it as X is an adult and deserves the opportunity to do things for herself without our interference. She chooses her own path and we choose our own. And if someone's late because she couldn't get it together on time, or if the table's slow and hungry be/c she couldn't find one acceptable item on the menu, oh well. You still get yourself ready on time, D, and have your order ready, and let your mom do as she does. So covering for her is no longer necessary because fewer things are cast as my way versus her way.

    Thinking about it, I can see both radical acceptance and mindfulness in this, maybe for the first time in a bit of a 'Eureka'. D covers for her mom/dad because we've always treated those behaviors as something that needs covering. What if they don't? If we can put into practice the lessons from Radical Acceptance for family members, then we are teaching our children the same, no matter what their age and stage of development. No?
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    « Reply #23 on: February 09, 2012, 11:20:58 AM »

    Self-reflection Questions:

    1. Have you seen any of these impacts? Which ones and how did/do they manifest?

    * Yes, and they have differed according to child.  I entered my SDs' lives in this phase when they were just turned 8 and 12.  SD8 experiences the anxiety and fear of leaving her mother, she is very vulnerable to fearful stories and situations (and I understand that she has been since toddlerhood).  She also seems risk-adverse and overly sensitive to criticism (even as much as having her grammar gently corrected in the course of telling a story).  In addition, she seems awkward with emotional development, describing her feelings as "too big for her" and feeling confused as to how to express them appropriately.  More than SD13, SD9 escapes into her fantasy world, playing pretend.  It doesn't seem to faze her at all when DH and I have an argument; she seems not even to notice the noise of people screaming at each other.  SD13 experiences more of the anger and depression.  She seems to vacillate between rebellion and overachieving.  She is experiencing an intense need to fit in with her peer group.  She has expressed anger at her mother for things like not being able to eat a decent meal.  She has been evaluated for Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  She turns to self-harm to deal with emotional pain.  She engages in screaming and even sometimes physical matches with her mother.  However, she bounces more easily between our house and her mother's, transitioning between the sets of rules.

    So in summary: SD9 #3, 5, 8, 9; SD13 #2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 24 most obviously; perhaps others also.

    2. What has helped to mitigate these impacts, either something you have been able to do or other factors (extended family, efforts on the part of the mentally ill parent, professional support, etc.)?

    SD13 is receiving therapy from someone who has been made aware of some of her mother's more challenging behaviors.  She is being redirected towards learning self-control and alternate means of expression, as well as takes an antidepressant.  Their father works with both children to help them recognize their feelings and work through expressing them, differentiating their actions/behaviors from who they are, and helping them recognize what they believe is true versus what they were told.

    3. Did/do you see other impacts that concern you at this developmental stage?

    Yes, mimicking traits they see like lying to justify behavior, lack of accountability, and expecting total loyalty from friends as are indicative of their mother's illness.

    4. Are the kids able to socialize and have experiences that increase their feelings of mastery?

    Yes, in fact to some extent they escape into their social lives.  But the "feelings of mastery" is a difficult one as both are particularly ready to give up anything they can't master immediately, and SD13 dismisses things and people as stupid when she experiences rejection.  Again, with these things they are often ready to dismiss even their father as disloyal if he challenges them with a question or alternate viewpoint.

    5. How are they learning to self-regulate their emotions?

    SD13 is the biggest challenge since her emotions threaten to consume her with rage, either turned outwards (warring against friends, hitting her mother) or inwards (depression and cutting).  She is being encouraged to express them in artwork.  Both girls seem to be challenged with expressing vulnerability, like sadness or fear - SD9 channels to anxiety and trying to control those around her; SD13 to anger.  We see far less of this in person than we hear about during their mother's time with them.

    6. Is there a loving adult paying attention to and valuing the child's needs and perspective? Communicating that understanding and value? How?

    Yes, their father is the primary person in this role, although it is limited to phone calls and EOW visitations.  He practices a lot of the theory of mind exercises described, teaches them how to listen to and trust their inner voice, and tries to train them to focus only on things they can control.  I am trying to help with this but having been in their lives such a short time, do not have the rapport quite yet so I do a lot of listening, coaching for my husband when he feels dejected or confused as to how to proceed, and help his family, who see them relatively rarely, know what they can do to help also. 

    Interestingly, becoming involved in the children's lives has helped me get perspective about my own upbringing and how particular life challenges have manifested, like my own anxiety in unfamiliar situations.  My husband attending therapy with me and helping me work through things has prepared us both better for the girls.  In situations as minor as eating in a restaurant in which I'm not certain whether I'll like anything on the menu, he encourages me to lean into my anxiety, gives me a backup plan (we'll pick up fast food on the way home if you don't like your meal) and helps me navigate my uncertainty to a decision.  Recognizing this in me and learning techniques for dealing with it and allowing others to help has been really helpful in knowing how to deal with the children.
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    « Reply #24 on: February 10, 2012, 12:08:03 AM »

    Developmental Tasks of the Early Adolescent

    (12 - 15 years)

    • Accepting one’s physique and using the body effectively.

    • Achieve new and more mature relations with age-mates of both sexes. Peer groups are becoming very important.

    • Achieve emotional independence from caregivers, other adults.

    • Desiring and achieving socially responsible behaviour.

    Excerpt
    Adolescent Years require the development of trust, strong friendships, and increasing autonomy from the family in order to move smoothly into adulthood. At this stage, the child who is not coping well with the problems of parental mental illness at home will have fragile self-esteem. While many such teens must deal with the same transitional problems as other adolescents, their parents are often struggling with the same problems of identity and are not a great resource. Social isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, attempted suicide, and the development of mental illness are the potentially negative outcomes during this period.



    A Lasting Impression: A Teacher's Guide to Helping Children of Parents with a Mental Illness
    , Canadian Mental Health Association.




    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Early Adolescence


    (12 - 15 years)

    • Previous tasks apply

    Adolescents may:

    1. Live with secrecy and shame, be and/or feel reviled. This affects trust, spontaneity, and ability to feel pleasure.

    2. Live with pain and anger. Have underlying anger at injustices. Experience unresolved loss of a “normal” caregiver.

    3. Be at-risk for peer pressure and/or feel the need to belong. Have no involvement with peers due to embarrassment at caregiver’s condition.

    4. Be confused in regards to relationship with ill caregiver. Experience possible dependence of caregiver on child (caregiver not able to let go) or child feels concern, fear and responsible for caregiver (child unwilling to let go). Grow up too fast – may be more mature than age-mates and have difficulty relating to them.

    5. Be particularly sensitive due to hormonal and bodily changes. May experience decreased energy or demonstrate eating disorders.

    6. Have poor body image and make poor health decisions, e.g., little exercise or sleep, poor nutrition.

    7. Be at-risk for being unable to recognize and meet own needs. Low self-esteem.

    8. Have difficulties due to poverty, limited opportunities.

    9. Feel different, alone, and/or rejected. Feel distanced from caregiver and express it by running away, acting out, or engaging in substance abuse.

    10. Live with intense emotion, emotional self-regulation affected. Walk on eggshells around caregiver. Have difficulties at school, may be busy taking care of things at home. Conversely, do very well at school, able to keep order in their lives. Have difficulties with relationships and establishing boundaries.

    11. Not demonstrate socially responsible behaviour.




    Excerpt
    D covers for her mom/dad because we've always treated those behaviors as something that needs covering. What if they don't?

    Very interesting observation, JS. You're pointing out one of the implicit rules that was operating in the family.

    Spotlight: Family Rules

    Every family has rules. Some are explicit: No cursing in our home. Some are implicit: Ann gets to boss Joe around because Ann is the favorite. Children are keenly aware of implicit rules, and it can take decades for adults to be able to look back on the rules and see that they are not always healthy. Taking an honest inventory of the implicit rules can help you see the world through the child's eyes and judge whether the rules need to change or if you want to acknowledge the rules (name the elephant in the room) and help the child process his thinking and feeling around the rules.

    1. What are some of the implicit rules of the family of the child you're concerned about?

            Examples might be: We always take care of mom first. We are allowed to laugh and joke around unless Dad is in a bad mood; our mood must match his. Uncle Hal will get drunk and pass out on the floor; pretend he's not there.

    2. Whose needs are the rules serving?

    3. Does the child experience radically different sets of rules in different settings?

    4. What resources are available to help the child cope with rules that may be unhealthy or with rules that are radically different in different settings?
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    « Reply #25 on: February 10, 2012, 09:52:10 AM »

    Really good mention of implicit rules. Nice to have it named and put out there to contemplate.

    Good list of 'Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Early Adolescence,' too. I can see the potential for any number of those if D had had to continue living with her mom. There's a reason she doesn't invite friends to her mom's place, even though it's a veritable resort--she doesn't know behaviors won't go haywire and embarrass her.

    There are so many ways for things to potentially go askew, given this list. It feels like trying to plug a boat with 11 holes in the bottom. But knowing what to look for is a great start, and the obvious signs like rages and substance abuse are just the tip of the iceberg.
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    « Reply #26 on: February 10, 2012, 10:56:23 AM »

    Reading back over this thread today I realize how much it brings up old pain and guilt for me in how I parented my DD25. And now I am trying to do it better with having custody of gd6 -- and still having DD25 here to cope with as well. In DD's life I was the one with mental illness (bipolarII), and can see myself in so many of the unhealthy impacts on DD. That is the pain. Wondering if her childhood struggles and current level of mental illness would have been less if I had been able to be where I am now back then - this is the guilt. In a phone session with the child T this week, she cautioned, or encouraged, me to let go of this guilt. It gets in the way of parenting gd. I find this takes so much effort to let go of, esp. when there is conflict in our home over how we are raising gd - 'soft' vs. 'tough' love parenting stlyes. It is so hard to find the middle. And to establish for gd's sake who is the really the parent - the grandparents with custody or the intermittent mommy.

    I am processing all the questions here off-line to avoid a rambling cluttered reply. Thanks so much for this thread.

    qcr xoxo
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    « Reply #27 on: February 10, 2012, 05:13:12 PM »

    Possible to explore PAS a little?

    Ive had to witness it in the past but 1st time myself and daughter experienced was when D become 13.

    D left mum's abode when the abuse was directed at her and has only spent time at her home maybe 6 times in last 4 months and D only expresses that she is only wanting to go up there because she misses her brother and sister. D isnt really showing any emotion towards mum and the abuse/alienating towards D.

    When D 1st dettached i was split between really wanting her and mum to re-connect and between supporting D's feelings and choices she made for herself.

    I was kindly advised to support the D as she knows what is best for her and not force any support for MY wanting them to re-connect and help sort their differences.

    Had i not supported my D in this way it would of been seen that i would of been dismissing my D's feelings and so was more encouraged to support her feelings as she is becoming a young adult.

    Im not sure if this has any relevence here or if PAS is part of this thread structure.

    My apologies if not.
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    « Reply #28 on: February 10, 2012, 05:37:18 PM »

    1. Concerning stuff/Mitigation

    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Pre-schoolers

    (3 - 5 years)

    2. Have difficulty with trust and confidence if caregiver’s world is one of mistrust, anxiety or paranoia.

    Toddler is a cautious little bugger.  But, I'm not sure how much of this is mother and how much of this is toddler being born a cautious little bugger.  Probably both./Success in new experiences - Judo last week.

    3. Not experience complete safety at home (be prone to accidents, have fear of new experiences).

    No real injuries.  But, the house can get scary dirty./Maids, cleaning.

    5. Lack autonomy due to limited assistance from their caregiver throughout their lives (due to hospitalization).

    Meh. Toddler does spend an awful lot of time cuddling a sedated mommy./Toddler is in school full-time.

    6. Have unclear boundaries resulting from caregivers being strict one day and over permissive the next. They may not master new skills because of lack of consistent practice (loss of ability, delayed shutdown or exaggerated mastery when caring for the caregiver).

    Would be a real problem. BPDw does not do discipline. I do.

    7. Have an unpredictable daily life. Caregiver may not always meet expectations in terms of lunches, field trips, duties, carpool, etc.

    A real problem. I handle school - which helps.

    8. Have difficulty with socialization, exploration and interaction with outside world.

    Actually, a pretty social child.  Still a bit leery of wrestling with strange babies.

    Caregiver may:

    9. Not like change and may not have the flexibility to vary routine in order to meet child’s need for growth.

    Definitely.  That's why toddler's in preschool.

    10. Have disorganized life style (frequent moves) especially if the caregiver’s management skills and financial resources are limited.

    BPDw is quite disorganized.  Not sure what to do.

    Implicit rules?

    1. Accommodate mentally ill mommy sleeping until 2 PM. Be really quiet.

    2. Be careful when mommy disregulated. (until we get out of the house... .)

    Needs?

    1. Mommy's - obviously.

    2. Mommy - emotional control, Toddler - not being hit, Daddy - not divorcing mommy.

    --Argyle
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    « Reply #29 on: February 11, 2012, 05:39:20 AM »

    My parents both had strong traits of NPD/BPD.  Growing up - they were very variable in meeting even small amounts of my needs.  I routinely had to get to school myself, pack my own lunch, get rides to school events or walk miles to get there.  They were mildly to extremely neglectful most of my childhood.  From this I internalized that no one is available to take care of my needs.  I realize this has colored most of my adult relationships even with friends.  If someone does something for me, I get anxious waiting for "payback."  It's extremely hard for me to ask for help and even harder to accept it.  Part of my belief code is that relationships are hard, demanding and draining.  All of this conditioned me to have relationships with BPDs or NPDs growing up because it mirrored my childhood.  Just like my parents - if a BPD became disregulated because I asked for help or maybe had a need - I actually expected the blow out.  Not all of my adult relationships are with disordered people but I have a high tolerance for that behavior and will deal with it longer than most.

    I also realize that I didn't have a "normal" role model because I was very isolated as a child.  I think having one normal, reliable caretaker would have made a difference.

    I also learned through implied rules to walk on eggshells around my parents and to avoid setting them off by having needs - for as young as I can remember really.  This type of relationship rule has also played out in my adult relationships.

    The good news is that I am far more aware of these patterns now so I can can work on these issues.  I've already gotten more aware in the day to day of being anxious around reciprocal relationships and trying to calm myself down when things are normal and not what I am used to.  I've also gone NC with my Dad and LC with my mom to minimize the critical voices and make room for healthier relationships.

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    « Reply #30 on: February 11, 2012, 11:20:48 AM »

    I just wanted to say as someone with a uBPD mother and a uNPD/ASPD father that I've found this topic to be extremely helpful--possibly one of the most  Idea-inducing things I've ever read in my life. I don't remember much before age 3-5, but it's pretty amazing to read the lists from age three on and see that I was actually doing--or trying to do--what is expected of children at each developmental stage, but being punished for it and having it thwarted due to the home environment. Also, as someone who has never experienced a healthy childhood firsthand and who wants to be prepared to parent in the near future (though with a healthy future co-parent), I'm really excited to learn what to expect at each stage. Thank you!
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    « Reply #31 on: February 11, 2012, 12:58:35 PM »




    Excerpt
    D covers for her mom/dad because we've always treated those behaviors as something that needs covering. What if they don't?

    Very interesting observation, JS. You're pointing out one of the implicit rules that was operating in the family.

    Spotlight: Family Rules

    Every family has rules. Some are explicit: No cursing in our home. Some are implicit: Ann gets to boss Joe around because Ann is the favorite. Children are keenly aware of implicit rules, and it can take decades for adults to be able to look back on the rules and see that they are not always healthy. Taking an honest inventory of the implicit rules can help you see the world through the child's eyes and judge whether the rules need to change or if you want to acknowledge the rules (name the elephant in the room) and help the child process his thinking and feeling around the rules.

    1. What are some of the implicit rules of the family of the child you're concerned about?

            Examples might be: We always take care of mom first. We are allowed to laugh and joke around unless Dad is in a bad mood; our mood must match his. Uncle Hal will get drunk and pass out on the floor; pretend he's not there.

    2. Whose needs are the rules serving?

    3. Does the child experience radically different sets of rules in different settings?

    4. What resources are available to help the child cope with rules that may be unhealthy or with rules that are radically different in different settings?

    What a great topic B&W!  xoxo

    Sorry I'm late to chime in... .I'll have to go back and review some of the other stages and work through my perspective of what I know about the skids.

    For explicit vs. implicit - I had an explicit rule - no swearing.  And I modeled the behaviour myself.  The children never heard me swear. 

    But the implicit behaviour was - no swearing if Marlo was there alone.  But if dad was there, we can swear because he won't say anything.

    Another implicit rule - rules are only rules if Marlo is home.  Dad will let things slide and he won't give any consequences unless Marlo points it out to him.

    Most of the 'rules' that I enforced were ones that my husband and I came up with together and most were his idea and I whole heartedly agreed. The only problem was that I was the only enforcing them - at least consistently.

    This provided a very unstable environment for the kids (in my opinion), because it was confusing at first for them.  One day they can't punch their brother in the head, the next day they can with little or no consequences.

    I think the rules served the needs of all of the people in the family - modeling respect, self control, safety and self respect as well.  However, I think a lot of the implicit rules served the needs of the children and my husband.  My husband tends not to react to something unless it's glaringly obvious that there is a BIG problem.  And the children enjoyed the freedom of being able to do as they wanted.  It also served the kids to further drive a wedge between my husband and I because they blatantly pointed out to my husband that he was only enforcing the explicit rule because I pointed out to him that it needs enforcing.

    Another implicit rule for the children was that they were to always show their mom their loyalty - either by telling her negative things about me, or by directly behaving in a disrespectful manner towards me and telling her about it.  This would gain praise from their mom and she would further feed the behaviours by telling them how much she loved them and how much she knows they love her.

    On the flip side, the other implicit rule was that they must NEVER discuss anything negative about their mom.  My SS was not very good at this and every now and then he would 'let something slip' about some behaviour that mom was displaying while they visited, but he was quickly shunned and told to shut up by his sisters and advised that he wasn't allowed to say anything.

    Some ways that I think we can overcome these behaviours is to state clearly as parents what is acceptable and not acceptable - develop NEW explicit rules that include things that address these situations.  I think also stating clearly that there will always be rules that are allowed at one house and not at another - for instance, a child's friend might have a rule that it's okay to run in the house, but in our house, it isn't. 

    I think the most important part is to turn implicit rules into explicit ones that are clear and concise.  And then ensure that, as the parent, you are enforcing them, leading by example and being consistent.

    I think children are very adaptable to different rules in different places as long as the message is very clear consistently.  Chewing gum at home is okay. Chewing gum in school is not.  Children understand these things because it's always the same at school. They get it and they understand it.  It's the people around them - in authority - who either model the behaviour or don't, who consistently enforce the rule or don't that cause implicit rules to form.
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    « Reply #32 on: February 11, 2012, 01:33:39 PM »

    I'm also an Adult Child, and although this workshop is for Parents/Primary Caretakers, following along at each stage of development has been so validating for me. Unlike many AC's/Traumatized People my memories are so clear... .I remember so much that many of my cohorts don't and are trying to reconstruct regarding their childhood/adolescence. There is SO MUCH here I identify with growing up with a pdmomma.

    I am struck by the Caretakers and their genuine concern for these kids. You have NO idea what a difference you make in our lives and I'm sure it's a real struggle for all of you dealing with a whole plethora of challenges. I just want to say, "Thank you for caring. Thank you for trying to mitigate the crazy we're currently experiencing or grew up in. Thank you for loving us enough to understand we're little ones/adolescents in old people's minds. We became grown-ups without the benefit of childhoods." You may not feel you're making much of an impact-kids see a lot, we just don't say a lot or share it with you. But your steadfastness, your constancy and consistency and unconditional love is what in my experience makes an indescribable and positive impact on our lives. That DOESN'T mean "No Boundaries, No Rules"-thanks, but we have that with our PDparent who moves the "goal-posts" for acceptable behavior all over the map. Predictability is NOT a given in our world. Even if you're the parent on the "receiving end" of blatant PAS/denigration by your adult child with a PD when you have physical custody, please try not to worry too much, OK? We see, we hear and we KNOW who's "safe" and consistent and who's "not." We do understand more than you realize regarding who is getting the "short end of the stick" in terms of the nasty stuff the other 'parent' says. Even if we "defend" that pdparent, it's almost reflexive and indicative of our desire to "believe" that PDparent is safe. Some illusions are necessary for survival. And our role as at least emotional caretaker for our PDparent is beyond your control and our's too. That's what we DO IMO in part to feel we have some control over the outcome, some degree of impact in the external world as well. Don't worry about this because it's not something you can do much about at this time. It'll change over time, really.

    Your presence in our lives may not reap immediate, measurable "Progress" short term but always remember, the end of this story has not been written. Your consistent caring and compassion is written all over our hearts and will remain right there for the rest of our lives. Thank you for being a beacon of light and hope as we struggle through this together. (My apologies, cross posted, can't see the previous response.)
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    « Reply #33 on: February 12, 2012, 10:32:27 AM »

    There's lots to discuss and I'm glad you've found many different handholds into this material, coming from different perspectives.

    Finishing out the developmental stages... .

    Developmental Tasks of the Late Adolescent

    (15 - 19 years)

    • Achieving emotional independence from caregivers and other adults.

    • Preparing for an economic career.

    • Preparing for significant intimate relationship and family life.

    • Achieving masculine and feminine sex roles (i.e. individual sexual identity and orientation).

    Impact of Parental Mental Illness on Later Adolescence

    (15 – 19 years)

    Children may:

    1. Find emotional independence difficult. [See Have you experienced emotional incest in your family? to learn more about the struggles that adult children of BPD parents have had in trying to achieve a healthy balance of closeness and independence with their parent.]

    2. Have feelings of ambivalence. Be unable to balance self-care and care of others. Have a care-taking role, feel a need to remain at home to be a support.

    3. Have limited choices due to poverty, illness, housing, privacy, lifestyle, etc. Find career choices are affected by self-confidence, resources, mentors, etc.

    4. Be overwhelmed by responsibility. Have difficulty with completion and follow-through due to history of stability/breakdown cycle.

    5. Have limited attachment and trust which impacts the development of relationships. Not develop healthy interactions due to caregiver’s style of social interaction (extreme anger, overly suspicious). Have difficulty forming personal friendships and/or romantic relationships due to inexperience in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

    6. Have a predisposition due to genetics and environmental exposure. Fear of developing the illness as hormones begin to surge.

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    « Reply #34 on: February 12, 2012, 10:54:41 AM »

    Spotlight: Shame and Core Beliefs

    Excerpt
    A common perception for youth who have a parent with a mental illness is a personal identification with shame, or family shame as described by Dr. Marsh (1994). (If my parent is flawed, then I must also be flawed). The result is that children can develop conflicts around being in public or being seen when their internal message is one of keeping things hidden. This can result in difficulties around accepting oneself and predisposes the child to developing feelings of low family esteem and low self-esteem.

    A Lasting Impression: A Teacher's Guide to Helping Children of Parents with a Mental Illness, Canadian Mental Health Association.

    And something written directly for children that we can all benefit from reading:

    Excerpt
    Shame is another feeling that often plagues kids whose parents have problems Shame means you feel bad about who you are you think you don't measure up to others. You think you're not much of a person, that others are better than you Shame is a feeling people can have at any age, but teens are especially vulnerable to shame, even if they don't have troubled parents to complicate their lives. Any time you're trying to manage a new situation and you're worried about whether you're going to manage it well, you're vulnerable to shame. Since adolescence is full of new situations (like getting an adult body and mind and meeting all the new challenges that go with that), all teens are likely to have experiences of shame.

    Let's think about why having a troubled parent might bring feelings of shame. There are a few reasons I can think of. Sometimes kids take their parent's problem as a personal failure, and personal failures often bring shame. Kids can have the idea that a better kid would be able to fix their parents' problems. A better kid would cheer up a depressed father or calm a worried mother or convince a paranoid mother that the CIA is not out to get her or persuade a father with a dangerous habit to give it up. Not true! Kids very seldom can fix adults' emotional problems. No matter how smart or funny or goodhearted or patient a person you are, that's still going to be the case. So try not to put yourself down for not fixing your parent's problems when it's not reasonable to expect yourself to do so.

    Another idea that bothers some kids is the idea that a better kid naturally would have gotten a better parent, that is a parent who is healthy and nice and reliable and even-tempered. There's a feeling that a truly good kid wouldn't get assigned a not-so-terrific parent in the great parent lottery, as if fate or nature or God gives great parents to all great kids. Again, not true. Your parents are not a reflection on you.

    You and your parents are separate people. No matter how troubled they be or embarrassing their behavior, that doesn't make you any less of a person. You may have had bad luck in the parent department. That happens. It's not your fault and it doesn't make you have less valuable than your friend or schoolmate who's got an award winning parent. So hold your head up. Lots of successful, smart, good people had lousy or troubled parents. When you come to admire an actress or a rock star or a politician, you don't worry about what kind of parents they had. you judge them on their qualities. When you meet a jerky, dishonest, mean kid at school, you don't say, Her mom's nice so she must be nice, too." You say, "Even though her mom's nice, she isn't."

    Where do kids get the idea that they are bound to be just like their parents? In part it comes from early childhood wishes to be exactly like Mom or Dad. Very young children often feel they don't have many strengths or skills of their own. They look around and see that most people are bigger and more capable than they are. They don't want to feel small and inept, so they "borrow" strengths from the people closest to them usually their parents or older brothers and sisters. They say, "My did is big" (so I don't have to feel little) or "My mom can drive a car" (so it's okay that I can't). They compare their parents with other kids' parents because they're borrowing their parent's strengths and thinking, "If my mom is smarter, then I'm smarter".

    When you're older, you don't need to do so much borrowing, because you've developed your own size and strength and ability. But the idea of getting your worth from your parents' worth may still be with you. If you like what you see in your parents, that idea doesn't do you much arm; in fact, it can help you feel secure. But if you don't think highly of your parents, the tie that started out as a boost to your self-esteem becomes a drag on your self-esteem.

    If that's what's happening, it's time to remind yourself that your value doesn't come from your parents. In fact, it never did, even when you were three years old. It never was true that your mom being smart made you smart or your dad being strong made you strong. You didn't really have their strengths then and you don't have to feel dragged down by their weaknesses now. Another thing you can do for yourself is to make attachments to people and groups you can feel proud of. Make sure though, when you do that, that the group  you join really stands for what you value and respect. Don't join a gang just to belong to a group; that's no better than staying hooked up with a parent you don't respect.

    From When Parents Have Problems, by Susan B Miller






    Uncovering Core Beliefs


    A child with a parent with mental illness may be carrying around a number of self-damaging core beliefs. Being neglected leads to a feeling that you are unworthy of care or love. Being idealized leads to a feeling that you are not known, and that your true self must be defective and not worth knowing. A parent's depression and talk of suicide is terrifying to a child, and he will often blame himself to have some control: It's my fault dad wants to kill himself. It's because I'm bad. I'll try to be better.

    When a child in your life seems to be struggling with something, it can help to uncover the core beliefs that have formed. A good place to start is with a time and place when the child feels safe and ready to talk. Ask questions, gently, not with a challenge but with genuine curiosity. Then help the child explore the beliefs and test them. You don't need to say "that's wrong," but rather open up the idea that the child can question the beliefs him or herself. In cases with ongoing custody issues,  or for other reasons, it may not be possible to have a direct conversation about a parent. However, here is an imagined dialogue [very compressed and idealized] to give an idea about the kinds of questions that might surface core beliefs. Discussions of peers' families, stories, movies, famous people's lives, etc. can also provide a one-step-removed arena in which to explore core beliefs.

    Dad Gets Mad

    Adult: You said Dad's been getting mad a lot lately.

    Kid: Yeah.

    Adult: How are you doing with that?

    Kid: Fine.

    Adult: When he's mad, what's going on inside you?

    Kid: Nothing. [quiet; adult says nothing, looks a bit to the side] Well, I'm thinking that he'll feel better soon.

    Adult: That yelling will help him feel better?

    Kid: Yeah. It usually does. I just let him go for a while. It helps him.

    Adult: Getting mad and yelling help him? [neutral voice]

    Kid: Yeah. He gets in a better mood after and we can go do stuff.

    Adult: So do feel like you're helping him by sitting there and letting him yell at you?

    Kid: Well, I usually make him mad, so I figure I should help him feel better.

    Core belief: It's my job to make my parent feel better.

    Adult: That's part of your job at home then?

    Kid: Yeah, because I make him mad.

    Adult: How do you make him mad?

    Kid: You know, by running around and then I forget to feed Sadie [the dog] sometimes.

    Adult: It is good to follow through on your responsibilities, like feeding Sadie. I don't know... .is making somebody else feel better your job? Like if I want to be in a bad mood, can you really make me get in a good mood? [And so on... .if the child is open, explore the core belief from different angles and open up the idea it can be questioned.]




    Self-reflection Questions:

    1. Is the child showing signs of shame?

    2. What signs?

    3. What are the sources of shame?

    4. What negative core beliefs might the child have developed?

    5. Are there opportunities for the child to test those negative core beliefs? If so, what are they?
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    « Reply #35 on: February 12, 2012, 11:06:32 AM »

    Thanks for this effort, b&w. I can anticipate referring to it frequently.

    I've read/heard a lot about what can happen to girls whose father is absent from their lives. A search for male role model.A seeking for male approval and love. Gravitating toward whatever guy promises love, attachment, etc. It's not the same for everyone, of course, with plenty of exceptions, but it's the stereotype.

    Questions are, does a father suffering from mental illness engender a similar reaction? And, what's the stereotypical effect on a girl whose mother is unavailable to her either by being absent or because of mental illness? Same for boys, too.

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    « Reply #36 on: February 12, 2012, 09:16:40 PM »

    On core beliefs: does this example from my dinner table tonight fit this discussion?

    Gd6 is taking big serving of salad and notices yellow bell peppers. She does not like peppers usually. So she says rather loudly, I am taking a yellow pepper and trying. Look mommy, I am trying it. Wow, it is good. I will eat some more of these. Look mommy, I am eating yellow peppers so you will not yell.

    I usually look down during meal times, or at dh or gd. Definitely not at DD25. I looked up at after this last comment and noticed DD staring at me. Like "did you put her up to this? what are you saying about me to my daughter?" Only the look, no words spoken by DD. Not to me or to gd.

    This to me is totally in response to a HUGE blow up at dinner exactly a week ago that led to the police being called to get DD to take a break in her raging. She was unable to take a time out or calm herself until I called police to come. She walked away from the house before they came. I called them again the next afternoon when she started picking at me in front of gd again.

    I have seen other changes in gd's behavior this past week, just from this one episode. Now, DD has had rage episodes before, but this is the first where the trigger was so focused on gd. And Dd's friend G actually said to gd that her mommy's anger was gd's fault. Now that makes me so mad  :'(   How do I compensate for that comment. Especially with all this effort on gd's part to be what her mom was demanding from her.

    She is super cooperative, doing her homework, going to the bathroom without company (though she asked tonight after DD had left the house to hang out with friends - she likes company doing #2. She takes care of herself. But she nodded yes when I asked if it was only OK to her to aske me when mommy was gone.) She is also doing chores - picking up her toys, putting her clothes in the hamper, ---all these are wonderful things that she is totally able to do on her own. She just has resisted doing them when I have asked her. The troubling part for me is this sudden shift to having to do it all 'right'. Espcially when mom is around. And her calling her mom's attention to the fact that she is compliant.

    Her teacher also noticed a huge shift in her independent work this past week, and commented to me about it on Friday. Is this all oK? I like that she is doing what needs to be done. Is she really feeling better about herself here, and I am worrying over nothing? Very confusing. And seems to fit this topic. Also fits the impact of being adaptable for survival. I have done this to survive being the parent of DD these 25 years.

    Is this a negative core belief in action? How can I help her test this belief? What kind of questions can I ask?

    qcr ?
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    « Reply #37 on: February 12, 2012, 11:45:46 PM »

    Excerpt
    Gd6 is taking big serving of salad and notices yellow bell peppers. She does not like peppers usually. So she says rather loudly, I am taking a yellow pepper and trying. Look mommy, I am trying it. Wow, it is good. I will eat some more of these. Look mommy, I am eating yellow peppers so you will not yell.

     To all of you, qcr. I don't know, of course, but it does sound like she's trying to be perfect because if she's perfect (core belief here) Mommy won't get mad, and it's her fault Mommy gets mad... .if I'm perfect, I can make Mommy better. It's something she can control.

    I would try to edge around the subject with her. "I've noticed you're working really hard at school and at home. It's great to try your best. It's also fine to make a mistake. How do you feel about making mistakes sometimes?" Maybe find a parallel in your own life when you've tried to be perfect and then realized that though it's good to do your best, being perfect isn't necessary? And that people are responsible for their own actions and feelings? Is there a quiet time you can have a lazy talk about her feelings and validate that you know she's trying so hard... .what is she afraid of might be the key question.

    Questions are, does a father suffering from mental illness engender a similar reaction? And, what's the stereotypical effect on a girl whose mother is unavailable to her either by being absent or because of mental illness? Same for boys, too.

    Almost all the research so far is on mothers. There is some on attachment and fathers (and other topics as well I'm sure, but predominantly mothers), which I'd have to spend some time on to answer your question. Clinically, there's lots to show that a father having a mental illness has a profound effect on a child as well. It's just not well explored in studies.

    Absent mother... .great question. I'll try to find some info and others may have some to offer as well.

    B&W
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    « Reply #38 on: February 14, 2012, 01:05:30 PM »

     Excellent workshop Black and White! Thank you all for sharing...

    QCR: Your gd age 6 is developmentally not able to fully understand why her mother is not emotionally available or able to love her like most parents would. Her behaviour is an attempt to "please" her mother and get that love... At this age and stage kid's thinking is its their fault ie: parents divorce, parent having a mental disorder, etc.

    Your gd. may have a core belief  ie: rescue fantasy, etc. that she believes if she is good enough, pleases her mum enough that things will be different... What does your gd say, feel about her r/s with her Mum?
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    « Reply #39 on: February 14, 2012, 11:59:25 PM »

    Excellent workshop Black and White! Thank you all for sharing...

    QCR: Your gd age 6 is developmentally not able to fully understand why her mother is not emotionally available or able to love her like most parents would. Her behaviour is an attempt to "please" her mother and get that love... At this age and stage kid's thinking is its their fault ie: parents divorce, parent having a mental disorder, etc.

    Your gd. may have a core belief  ie: rescue fantasy, etc. that she believes if she is good enough, pleases her mum enough that things will be different... What does your gd say, feel about her r/s with her Mum?

    Mostly she just says she does not want anyone to yell. Esp. her mom, but this applies to everyone. And she is being more engaged everywhere in her life, not just at home or when DD is around. At school, daisy scouts, with friends and their parents, with dh and I. It is almost like - no one is going to bully me anymore. I am going to take care of myself. Am I putting too much of an "adult" spin on this? I see her get really frustrated, like writing her valentines for school yesterday. She threw her pencil across the room. I had her get another pencil, and mostly have been just sitting quietly nearby. Then she pulls it together and gets back to work. SHe had to finish before she could go out and play. The valentine writing was a homework assignment.

    Today she had a friend (lets call her M) over that is also in her 1st grade class. They are very different girls - and are very aware of this, or figuring it out. M is wanting to come over a lot since her dad has moved out to an apt and they have  live in babysitter now and her mom is at work - previously a stay at home mom. M is into gymnastics, princess stuff, wearing dresses and fancy shoes and prefers indoor play. Gd prefers soccer, basketball, bikes & scooters, animals, bugs frogs running snowballs & sleds. They really have little in common. And M is always getting the 'cooperation' awards in class - Gd gets few of those though she knows she is doing her best every day.

    So at bedtime we were talking about M and how confusing her life must be now with her dad living seperate and her mom going "on a date with a new boy tonight". Seems really fast to me - they were together in December! Maybe I am just too old! So we talked a bit about how Gd's mom and dad are apart and have other bf's and gf's and yet they still love her. So I think I keep trying to tell her with words what my fantasy is - that her mom and dad love her like other kids parents love them. And as I write this I am not so sure. DD believes she loves her 2 kids as any mom does - and that I have created this division between them somehow by not rescuing her and the kids. GEEZ - she was the one doing alcohol and drugs all along with both kids and both daddy's. Why have I been so blind    :'(

    It must be very confusing for gd as most of her friends, except for M, have very traditional families with at home mom's, working dad's, siblings that live with them ---

    Think I need to find some sleep now. I am getting confused too.

    qcr

    Oh, we go a video valentine from gd's brother, my gs4, that was placed in foster care at 5 mos and adopted by the foster parents at age2. Long period of visits and crap before the court finally said enough is enough -- and the daddy got deported and the incompentent case worker was replaced. Gd asked - who is he? My brother? She has his pictures all over her room - she collected them and put them there. I was confused by her question. Have not had direct contact from adoptive family for several months, and this was first time they showed any reference with him knowing where he is from.

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    « Reply #40 on: February 19, 2012, 10:11:23 AM »

    As part of this workshop, please share ways and sources you use to learn about child development in general. Having that background helps to deal with normal developmental issues and also gives a sense of "what's normal."

    For example, a number of reputable websites like WebMD and Baby Center have a feature that allow you to register your child's age and then they will send you e-mails with newsletters tailored to child development matters you and your child are likely experiencing. Or you can go to them and read articles about certain ages/specific topics.

    And of course there are many books on the topic and other resources--share your favorites!

    B&W
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    « Reply #41 on: September 04, 2013, 12:35:02 AM »

    Reading through this thread - forgot about it since 18 months ago. Much has changed and much is the same in my family. We are all growing in many ways, even BPDDD27. Can really see the developmental shift for gd8 this past summer into 'middle childhood'. Willing and able to verbalize her fears, needs, ask for help when needed.

    Took lots of notes while I read this thread tonight, need to ponder questions, relate to lots of new reading about parenting with a new basis in neuroscience of development. How we can help our troubled kids, and ourselves, correct many patterns and connect our mind - emotions - body in better balance.

    I will be back. Lots to think about.

    qcr
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    « Reply #42 on: March 23, 2014, 08:13:15 AM »

    Interesting topic. We have 4 children who seem to be reasonably well adjusted.  Whatever that means.  Not sure there really is a normal.  At any rate, my wife berates them for their chores or whatever expectation she has that they are not meeting.  I feel completely powerless and have to watch this happen.  I don't understand or know what the long term consequences are, but I know that I have a reaction to it.  What have you done in these situations?  I have left the room.  I have mentioned it to her.  Nothing seems to make me feel any better and I am concerned about my kids.  She always circles back and works through the issues, but it sure is painful to watch. 
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    « Reply #43 on: February 15, 2016, 01:08:00 AM »

    I'm starting to read through this workshop and after reading the first page, I want to cry. Has anyone else had this reaction?
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    « Reply #44 on: December 13, 2017, 11:36:47 PM »

    This sounds so interesting.
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