Have you had “the talk” with your kids?
I don’t mean “the birds and the bees.” I’m talking about mental health.
According to web md, if you are bipolar your child has a naturally increased rate of 10-25% of also being bipolar. If both parents are bipolar the chances increase from 10-50% chance.
Although onset of bipolar disorder usually manifests around age 25, it can appear at any age. This is why it is so important to take away the stigma that is attached to mental health. Make it normal from an early age to discuss emotions. As a parent, your child should always know that you are in their corner, that you have their back and will support them through anything.S
Start Early Starting early can take away the fear and unnatural feeling that most encounter when discussing mental health. If you wait until a problem is suspected it can be too late. Many often blame it on puberty or hope that if they ignore it, it will resolve its self. This is why you should make the conversation intentional.
Find a safe space At the dinner table in front of dad and siblings probably isn’t the best place. Set down with your child somewhere they feel most comfortable. This could be their bedroom, playhouse in the back yard, or even at the park side by side on the swing set.
Time it out. If your child has anxiety about going to school, right before they hop on the bus isn’t ideal. If bed time is a struggle, plan the discussion for earlier in the day so that anything that’s divulged has time to be addressed. Make sure whenever you start the conversation, that you have time to complete it. Remove any potential distractions. Turn off the iPad, the tv, silence your own phone. Give your child your undivided attention.
Think about it and them The way I address mental health with Kenzie is completely different then how I address it with Carley. They are different children, nearly 4 years apart, with opposite personalities and interests. Kenzie may be feeling anxiety about learning to ride her bike while Carley may be anxious about a big test. Regardless, I want to open the gates now so that when they are teenagers and older they know they can always come to me.