When children and young people are experiencing mental health needs it can be distressing for parents and carers. There can be a number of responses including:
- Feeling blamed by others: ‘Is it me, is it my parenting?’ ‘Should I have noticed and done or said something sooner?’
- Internalising blame: ‘He gets that from me.’
- Struggling with unexpected trauma as a family: ‘As a whole family we are struggling.’
- Thinking there is something ‘wrong’ with the child: ‘They’ve always been different.’
Parents and carers can feel in a cycle of negative feedback about behaviours. Try to empathise with the child or young person and parents and carers and focus on the emotions and needs behind the behaviours and any small successes.
Sometimes discussions with parents and carers can reveal difficult circumstances at home such as domestic violence, bereavement, etc. Be prepared to signpost parents and carers to appropriate support agencies and accept that it’s okay to ‘not know at the time’ but then find and pass information on later.
Genuine Partnerships is a friendly team made up of skilled practitioners, parents and carers, and young people, with a diverse range of experiences. They work to further develop involvement of parents and carers, children and young people, adults and families at a range of levels, offering training, action research and bespoke packages of support.