Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

How and how much to talk to kids about MH issues

(12 Posts)

Thoughts?

Someone must have some thoughts on the matter.

At times I am v low and at others I am v anxious (and at others I'm absolute
Y fine)

As my kids get older I wonder more about talking to them abut it.
So far I haven't much really. I've said "I'm feeling really anxious/sad/whatever atm" but not more than that.

One of them has really strong mood swings and feels emotions v strongly at times. I try to talk to him about that in general and help him to realise that the world won't end when he feels it might. That feeling s are ok and normal and its our reactions we can have any control over. And talk about ways he might want to do that.

I'm just wondering how much other people talk to their children about MH issues, be it their own or their child's. and I'm interested in evidence based research on the matter too, if there's any 'experts' on the matter out there and reading this.

ETsmum Tue 19-Mar-13 23:20:47

Hi ruffle.

Sorry, not much help, just wanted to say that I came on her wondering a similar thingsmile

My ds will be 10 this year and I had post-natal depression after he was born. He doesn't know about how ill I was after he was born etc, but I still have bad patches (been back on ads the last 18 months for example).

At the moment I feel like I would like to try to say something to him about it, as I still feel it is a big part of who I am. He is very sensitive to how I fee now though, and I worry about upsetting him, or making him feel that it is his fault.

Hope someone has advice for us both smile

Unfortunatelyanxious Mon 25-Mar-13 09:38:32

My thoughts are from being the child of the parent with MH issues and as the parent.

My mum told me everything all her woes concerns and problems, it was totally not okay doing this. I have had problems for years, you cannot hide everything from dc, I explain that I get stressed and tired. I think if you totally try and hide it then they feel excluded. There is a middle ground.

apatchylass Mon 25-Mar-13 12:55:43

Hi Ruffle,

it's a really tough one because children often feel responsible for their parents' welfare and I'd avoid anything that encouraged them to take on that responsibility. I've told my two that I have to take medicine each day because most brains make a chemical that keep them working happily and properly but mine doesn't and without the medication it stops knowing how to behave. Which is pretty much true, but avoids explaining mood swings and anger and paranoia and all those other horrific manifestations of depression.

I'm considering coming off ADs as I'm so sick of the weight gain and exhaustion but have promised my DH I'll go back on if I ever get irrational. He said he'd rather have me fat and happy than thin and down! Having chatted to him, I've decided not to mention it to the DCs yet and will ask DH to keep an eye on my moods, rather than offload on them. But it's a personal thing, and if you have a lot of obvious manifestations of illness, it may be better for them to know, and to know it's the illness that causes you to be over emotional or anxious, or whatever, and not them who are causing it, as DC often think everything is their fault!

KatyPeril Mon 25-Mar-13 20:05:49

I've told my daughter I get a poorly head sometimes.

That's what I've said to my DCs too Katy. That and "mummy needs some more rest to help my head feel better". As a daughter of a mother with depression I echo unfortunatelyanxious' view too. Middle ground is best, and as apatchylass says try and avoid anything that encouraged them to take on that responsibility. My DCs are 4 and 8, but I think if they were 10/11 I might use something more like apatchylass' explanation.

Good luck ruffle and hope you're getting the support you need too x

larahusky Tue 26-Mar-13 19:20:30

I think you can give a few carefully worded facts without seeking support and advice from your children - which is very irresponsible.

I try to let my children know that I love them and that it is nothing to do with them that I am unstable/depressed/whatever.

When I am feeling good, I try to do as much as I can with them and for them.

I am surprised more people have posted because to me this is an absolutely crucial issue that I really struggle with.

I know what you mean lara I think there are a lot of parents on the MH forums...

Any more wise words out there?

Hi, and thanks for answers.

I agree about not offloading on them.

AvrilPoisson Sat 06-Apr-13 23:25:06

I am the parent of a 7yo with severe anxiety, and what helped her was talking about it, and explaining what CAMHS was, and letting her know that there are actually other children who feel the way she does, and that there are people out there that can help her. That alone made an huge difference while we were waiting for the CAMHS appointment.

Crawling Sun 07-Apr-13 07:37:23

Ds aged 7 is the only one of my three who I consider old enough to know something. The others are nearly 4 and 18 months.

He just knows I take medicine because mummies head tricks her into thinking she is sad when she isnt.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now