12 Steps for difficult child's

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I was having some wandering thoughts last night before going to sleep and realized that one of my problems with tdocs' approach is that I don't understand how they can help difficult child if they treat this like he should just have more will power, instead of helping him understand that he has an illness that he needs to learn the symptoms of, how to manage it, and develop better coping skills.

    Similar to the concept of 12 step programs- you can't "conquer" the effects of mental illness if you don't first accept the fact that you have one and that it's not going to go away as long as you're in denial about it. I feel like tdocs and others are trying to teach difficult child that he wouldn't have the illness if he'd just do what he's told and this is a constant source of frustration that leaves him feeling like a failure- the same as an addict feels if he believes that the answer to the problem lies in being able to stop after 1 or 2 drinks or highs and continuously tries to do so.

    That lead me to think that maybe there should be a 12 Step program for those with mental illness - in jest- they could go something like this:

    1. Admit he/she is powerless over the fact that they have a mental illness
    2. Came to believe that it can be managed and they can have a normal life
    3. Made a decision to accept help.
    4. Made a searching & fearless inventory of all known symptoms and triggers
    5. Admitted to Higher Power and discussed with treatment team what those symptoms and triggers were and how they were effecting them
    6. Stopped giving into the illness and using it to manipulate people, and developed a treatment plan, with help
    7. With the help of Higher Power and treatment team, worked on prevention, management, and better coping skills
    8. Made a list of how lack of management and bad coping skills had effected others
    9. Made direct amends to those who'd they had hurt, abused, or manipulated
    10. Continued to keep check on any signs of instability and promptly sought help when they reoccur
    11. Sought to improve relationship with Higher Power and pursue a healthy social life
    12. Having found stability as a result of these steps, tried to carry this message to others with mental illness and advocate for them.

    Well, that's my first shot at this. LOL!! There isn't already a 12 Step program for mental illness, is there?
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm not sure a 12 step program "exactly" would be appropriate, however...I think many of the tennants would apply and be helpful. (I don't have true exp. with the 12 step prgrams, but I read their literature and find it to be excellent!)

    I think NAMI likely has good programs/support. A good therapist should be helpful. And of course, the bottom line is that the individual has to be consistently motivated. I agree, a centralized formula might be helpful.
    There is a woman by the name of Julie Fast, who suffers from Bipolar Illness. She has written books (I think) and has developed a health card system that lists symptoms and that the patient looks up to see if they are experiencing and then follows to see "What I can do." Likewise, according to each symptom, there is an area called "How you can help."
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hey, that's not half bad!
    I think the main thing is acknowledging that it exists, then doing something about it.
    Easier said than done ...
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I think that is a good idea. I printed it and will be showing it to my daughter. I am not sure she will ever get passed #1 though. She is still in such denial. I think her life could be so much better if she would only admit to her problems. I'm sure that is the case with most of our children. How can they ever change anything unless they acknowledge their issues??? It is so frustrating!!!

    Thanks for the idea!!! :)
  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Terry, you and I must have been typing at the same time!!! :)
  6. compassion

    compassion Member

    That is great. I do similar stuff with my daughter. Compassion
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    The sticking point for Miss KT would be #1. She just wants to be "normal", whatever that is.

    I like your list, klmno, and I think it makes sense, whether it's in jest or not.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL!! That's exactly why I think a therapist should be discussing these things with difficult child-he just wants to be normal, too, and fit in, of course. But, when discussing these things with his psychiatrist, he's fine. When discussing them like it's all "bad kid" stuff, forget it. If nothing else, it appears to be a way in to let the kids know that we don't "blame" them for everything- I'm more interested in where he goes from here with it, not who's fault it was that we ended up here.

    by the way- I think step #1 is hardest fro everyone!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
  9. ML

    ML Guest

    As you know I work (or try to work) a 12 step program and I happen to think you're on to something here! Love you, ML
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A good list, Klmno! Yep number 1 is the hardest!