Are you up front with your kids about your own mental status?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    easy child accused me of "not caring" about Christmas yesterday. She was frustrated about the slow pace of our holiday decorating (our tree is still not finished and she's been doing most of the work on it).

    Normally I don't discuss things about my emotional/mental state unless it applies to her directly. But yesterday I decided rather than explain away why I hadn't made decorating the house a priority, I told her point blank that while I was sorry, my depression had been the reason lately for my lukewarm Christmas spirit. I told her that it had only been in the last few weeks that I was feeling better because I'd adjusted my medicine.

    She seemed to be a little surprised by my statement, but not upset. I went on to explain how depression makes me feel, why it happens, and the consequences of it. I think that helped make sense for her.

    The difficult children were in the room when I had this little conversation with her, but I don't think they were listening (video games).

    How open are the rest of you with your kids about your mental health? Do you think it helps for them to know when/if you are struggling? After the fact? Not at all?
  2. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    This is a little different but I recently told difficult child 2 that I was very, very angry about her condition. I have never told her how much I struggle with feelings of despair over it. I have always tried to be positive and tell her she is going to get better. I did tell her I still had hope but that inside I was extremely angry about it. I also told her something probably kind of shocking that I can't say publicly earlier in the day about my feelings. Both times, it seemed to help her.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have always been upfront ever since I got the diagnosis. Of course, my kids are older. It was kind of hard not to tell them too.
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I've always just given them as much information as their tiny brains could understand. Hahaha....some things are unavoidable. I wouldn't sweat it. You may want to ask her in a few days if she is okay with what you discussed and if she has any questions as I think it freaks our kids out a little bit when they have reason to worry about their parents.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I tend not to, unless it's directly affecting them.

    Example: Months ago, when Step-D promised something and then let me down again (in this case, she was 3 hours late to drive me and Little easy child to the hospital to visit the twins when they were still in the NICU, no phone call or anything...), I said some less than charitable things about Step-D, not realizing that Little easy child could hear me. When he asked me about them, I explained that I was very angry at Step-D for being late, and very emotional about not seeing the babies, and so I was saying mean things that I really shouldn't have said.

    With difficult child, I never to, as it just gives him yet another excuse for why he can't behave properly.

    With Step-D, I don't explain, well, just because I don't.

    When Little easy child and the babies are older, I might explain more. It depends on the situation, and maturity of the children I guess.
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Yeah, I do. How it was explained depended on their ages at the time.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My older kids know. I'm vague with the younger ones. They aren't ready.
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    At this point the tweedles have been made aware of my physical/emotional situation. All the SWs approved of me talking with them ~ that it's time for them to step if they choose to do so.

    SWs were the ones who told both kt & wm the consequences of the high levels of stress & how that would affect them over the next few years.

    Up until a couple of months ago kt & wm were kept out of the loop as to the extent of the damage from the head trauma; the effects this has on my emotional situation along with the add'l stress of having such "needy children".

    We'll see how it goes - will they be able to comprehend?

    I wouldn't share if my kids were much younger; I didn't share during the midst of the chaos.

    I think it's all very individual depending on the child & their maturity level.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I told difficult child I had been thru therapy before when I was explaining to him that it doesn't mean "something is wrong with him" or that he can't live a normal, happy life, etc. I said we all need someone to talk to and a little advice sometimes. He knows I get depressed at times and stressed out/have anxiety issues. He knows I see a therapist on occasion because of this. He does NOT know all the family history that contributed to these things or how badly it effected me when I was younger- many years before I had him. My family wants difficult child to think there is just something major wrong with me and that has been the cause of his problems because that is the way they think (they have never seen reason for them to go to therapy). Obviously, I don't view it that way.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have been in the past, but not lately. L is bitter about it, because honestly she is at the center of a lot of it. I'm not comfortable talking with M about it, although I did in the past. I think it's a burden he can't handle.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    You know I have always been as honest as the situation warrants. In other words, if I was acting out of character, then I would explain why. It is not fair, in my opinion, to make our kids think something is wrong, without explaining why.

    In other words, our kids are going to know if something is amiss, and they are going to know if we are not being honest with our answers as to why - so therefore - I think it is always a good idea to be up front with our issues, with age appropriate modifications and lots of grace.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I dunno -

    When you throw .42 cents in change at your son's face, chase him out of your house, lob softball size rocks across the front yard to keep from hitting him; then scream obscenities at a 19 year old, tell your fiance not to touch you for fear you'll black out and go berzerk, and then growl at your son "YOU MAKE ME SO FREAKIN' CRAZY." --

    I'm certain there's not much more to say about your own mental state. :whiteflag:- I'm pretty sure next week they'll be doubling my Welbutrin. :faint:
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Children have a tendency to believe their parents are like super heros. I've always found it is good to remind them occasionally that we are just as human as anyone else and that we also have feelings.

    Yes. While I don't dwell on it, I've always been upfront and honest about both my physical and mental health with my kids, most especially when I felt they were at an age where they could understand.

    My kids all know this xmas hasn't been very xmasy for me. I've had a severe case of the blahs. 1. cuz I've got an instructor from hades who ruined my break and holiday by telling us we'd have an 11 chpter test the 1st day of class. 2. because there was no really money to do a darn thing. And while I don't ever really do the materialistic thing at xmas I do enjoy searching and finding a gift for those I love that I really know they'll enjoy. That's nearly impossible with a budget of 60 bucks. so my cheer went phhhttt right at the get go.

    The kids get it, understand it, and are not hassling me about it. Which is nice, cuz I think if they did I'd feel worse.