Is your child suffering from a mental illness preventing them from succeeding in everyday tasks? This can be extremely hard for you to navigate as a parent, as mental health is a difficult topic of conversation to have with a child. You likely feel helpless, confused, and even frustrated at times, but it’s important to avoid taking that out on the child whenever possible. In this article, we will share 7 things not to say to a child struggling with mental illness.

#1: There Are Kids Who Have It So Much Worse!

Comparison can be an extremely toxic topic for children struggling with self-image issues often associated with mental illness. They are likely feeling frustrated and inadequate as it is, so adding extra pressure as a parent and comparing them, is not the best idea. 

Telling your child that there are kids who have it worse is not the best course of action. It can be hard for your child to see how their current situation compares to that of another child, so try and encourage them to dig into what is making them feel this way in their own life instead. 

#2: You Are Too Lucky To Be Acting Like This 

This second phrase is very similar to the first one mentioned in this article. Yes, your child may be lucky to have access to medical resources and other support systems, but this doesn’t mean they have started using these tools yet. Mental illness can affect anyone and everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or even “luck”.

#3: Stop Complaining 

It may sound like your child is complaining, but oftentimes, they are unsure of how to communicate these new feelings with you. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can be extremely difficult to articulate, especially as a child. Be patient with your little one and try and listen, no matter the tone of their speech. 

#4: You Are Being Dramatic 

It is likely that your child is in fact not being dramatic, but experiencing very intense and heavy feelings causing them to act this way. Try and find ways for them to let go of this frustration in healthy ways, such as taking a walk together or doing a calming puzzle. 

#5: Back When I Was a Kid…

Your child already feels bad for the burden their mental state has had on you. So, don’t try to compare your childhood to their current situation. As we mentioned before, mental illness can impact people from all walks of life. 

#6: My Mother Would Never Allow This Behavior 

Mental health has recently become a more openly discussed topic, so it is likely that your childhood did not have as much mental illness discussion or resources. Take this as a blessing that your child has more support, and make it known that you support them as well. Encourage your child to share their feelings. 

#7: I Hope You Don’t Act Like This Forever 

In order for your child to find the strength to live with their mental illness, they are going to need support. Therapy is a great way to give your child the support they need. Helping to find them coping strategies will allow them to regain confidence and stability in their life! 

We hope this article gives you something to think about when it comes to supporting your struggling child through mental illness. It won’t be easy, but having patience and kindness can make all the difference! If you need support when it comes to your family’s healing journey, contact NeuroBehavioral Associates today.