What I see most often in the groups that I am a part of is: “part of this is my fault. If I had done this, or that, he/she wouldn’t have had the meltdown.” When you are dealing with a child that has a mental illness, things happen that are beyond our control. Even if said child is biological rather than adopted.
I tell my readers here the same thing as what I tell those in my various groups.
“It is not our fault.”
Simply words really. Unless you directly caused the trauma that made your child the way he or she is, it really is not your fault. As a parent, we all establish rules and guidelines that we expect the people in our homes to follow. This especially applies to our children. Sure some of the rules are more fluid than others, but most are there for a reason. To teach accountability, to accept accountability, and to ensure both safety and good health.
At it’s most basic any rule or guideline created would fall into those four areas. Right?
Sleep. – Be asleep by 8:30. It may not ensure the good health of anyone but the parent, but all kids need sleep. (even our son David who can stay awake for days on end.)
Food – Food is a necessary part of health.
Safety – Don’t run with scissors, knives or other sharps.
Homework – accountability – don’t do it? fail a course. fail enough courses, you don’t advance a grade with your peers.
You get the idea. At a basic level most rules fall into those four areas.
Some rules also exist for the parents. What do you suppose that those rules might be? I am not talking about government regulations, as we all know that they exist and apply in all cases. But there are other rules.
Can you care for your children if you are in poor health?
Can you care for your children if you are sick or in the hospital?
Can you provide for your children if the same applies?
Can you run your home in a structure environment that your child will thrive in? Like a prison?
Who would ultimately be responsible if your child hurt someone? Sure the child would be punished, but how would you feel if your child hurt someone else?
David’s mom and I hold David accountable. He is accountable for his behaviors. In some ways that may not apply if he is in a manic state, but even then, he is still accountable. For reasons of safety, both mine and the rest of the family, he is in residential placement.
It is a fact of reality in our world. Do I wish that I could change it? Hell yes, what parent wouldn’t want to take mental illness away from their child? Hell, any illness.
By placing David in care, we aren’t giving up on him. Far from it. We are actively seeking any help that we can get for him. Are there parents who place their children and then walk away?
Are they bad people? No. At least I don’t think so. I am not in their situation.
As I close this piece, remember one key thing. Repeat it to yourself many times.