Dear Parents, SIX Things You DON'T Say To Your Son/Daughter Who Is Struggling With A Mental Illness
To any parent who reads this.. I am not a parent. I am a 22 year old who just finished college and has so many thoughts that I feel I need to write out. I have been on this earth only 22 years and yet I some how believe I have enough life experience to share some advice to the world ( so I say.. lol)
Please do not take this as me trying to tell you how to parent your child, but just what not to say to a human being that is going through emotional and mental pain. If you know someone who needs these reminders please feel free to share this post! (:
1). Bringing up emotional or mental breakdowns from the past
I do not know if you are bringing these things up to make an example and teach your child or instill guilt, I have no idea.. but stop. It does not and will not help. Actually it is quite triggering.
2.) Telling them to "grow out of it"
- Mental illness of any kind whether that be depression, anxiety, OCD etc, it is not something you just grow out of. I am not a parent by any means, but I know that as parents you all go through a lot of stress, parenting is no joke and some times things can slip out of our mouths. Please be careful about this idea of someone growing out of a mental illness.
3). "You should be over this already"
This is pretty much similar to my last point. A lot of people carry this idea in them, but especially parents, that you should get over this phase already.. Dear Parents, it is not a phase. This is not an issue that one just gets over. They need you, but if you approach them and try to help with this kind of mindset they will push you away.
4). "Maybe it is the friends you are hanging out with"
I definitely agree that friends do play a huge role in how we feel and our outlook on the rest of the day. But this can not be your go to answer all the time. When it comes to one's mental illness sometimes and maybe a majority of the time an outsource has absolutely nothing to do with it. Especially if your son or daughter has been locked up in their room all day, getting rid of their friends when they probably need them more then ever is not the best idea.
5). Saying they don't have enough "faith" or "God" in their life
I truly believe God healed and can still heal. Although I also believe there is a way to carry this out and speak life into your child without being condescending or attacking. Relating to your child and letting them know that you are here to listen and stand with them through all this is crucial before you start throwing bible verses at them. Please be careful with this especially Christian parents, be careful that what you are saying is encouraging them and bringing them closer to Christ instead of putting a dent in their faith more and making them feel guilty.
6). " You should smile more"
I was and still am told this by my mom all the time. Of course smiling is healthy and can make anyone's day brighter. Although when you are going through a mental illness anything as small as smiling can be far from impossible. Plus even when they do crack out a smile it can be more or so to make you happy. From someone who has struggled with depression on and off, guilt overrides a lot of the time so being told " hey, it is ok to not be ok today" or " Your feelings and emotions today are valid" goes along way.
***Share this post with someone you feel needs this reminder. Did I miss anything? Comment below and let me know what other things parents should not be saying to their child who mentally and emotionally in pain***