As parents, you raise your children with the hopes that they’ll grow up to be happy, healthy, and amazing adults. Of course, you know that life won’t always be rainbows and sunshine, but the hope is that you’ve provided them with a solid foundation that will help them to navigate and triumph in times of trouble. So, when you find out that your adult child is struggling mentally, the news can be devastating.
Why is your child struggling emotionally? Was it something you did or didn’t do that caused this? More importantly, what can you do now to help your adult child get through this troubling time in their lives? Seeing your child experience any kind of pain is a hard pill to swallow. While it will be up to your child to acknowledge they have a problem and take the necessary steps towards recovery, there are things you can do to help them every step of the way.
Take Yourself Out of the Equation
When something is wrong with your child (no matter how old they are), you can’t help but feel to blame. After all, it was your responsibility to love, nurture, and support them. Be that as it may, you must take yourself out of the equation. Do not, under any circumstances make your child’s mental illness about you (even if their childhood did contribute to their current problems).
When you make it all about you, it drudges up negative feelings like frustration or guilt which can transfer to your child making it even more difficult for them to open up or get the help they need. If you want to help your adult child overcome their mental illness, you have to focus solely on them and their needs.
How much do you know about your adult child’s mental illness? As more attention has been paid to mental health over the years, there has been an increased amount of studies, research, and data that’s easily accessible. Review information from reputable sources to learn as much as you can about their mental illness so you can be a better source of support.
How does educating yourself make you a better support system for your child? Let’s say your child is suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you’re aware of the common causes, the physical and psychological effects, and the best options for OCD treatment, you’re in a better position to provide empathy when your child is having hard days while also being able to provide them with fact-based advice on the next steps to take.
Be There When They Need You
Remember, recovering from mental illness is often easiest when the sufferer is willing to admit there is a problem and actually take the steps towards treatment. Therefore, you cannot force your newfound knowledge on your child or try to pressure them into getting help. If you want to be there for your child during this trying time, the best thing you can do is be a source of support.
This could mean being a listening ear when they want to talk, spending quality time with them, sharing your own personal struggles with mental illness, transporting them to and from the therapist, attending support groups or meetings with your child, or assisting them in getting into a treatment program.
Take Care of Yourself
Having an adult child struggling with mental illness can have an adverse effect on your own health. You’re devoting so much of your time and energy to making sure that they’re okay, that you begin to neglect your own needs. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot be an effective source of support to your child if you’re not at your best physically and mentally. So, continue to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well-balanced meals, exercising, and taking time to do things that bring you inner joy.
Your child will be your baby, no matter how old they get. Naturally, when your baby is in trouble, the first thing you want to do is take away their pain and resolve the matter. Overcoming mental illnesses like depression, stress, anxiety, and more can be a long and hard road for you and your child. Therefore, the best way you can support them through this is to keep yourself out of the equation, get educated, be there when they need you, and take care of yourself.