Thursday, March 8, 2012

Being Honest With Our Kids

As you can read here, last week was pretty bad and it was just my son Jeffrey and I home alone. Jeffrey saw me struggle though my days and sleep a lot. Then when my husband Jeff got home I was angry and a mess. Jeffrey said nothing about this bothering him, but I could tell he was a little upset. He just seemed a bit concerned and was really working hard to think of things we could do together that I could handle, like going to a movie. Since he was concerned, yesterday I felt it was important to update him on how I am doing and what our plan was going forward.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have discovered that my bipolar gets much worse around my period. When I told Jeffrey that I saw my therapist today and we realized why I was doing so bad last week, he let out a huge sigh of relief, smiled, and said "Thank goodness."  I asked him how he felt about the week and he said he had been kind of scared because of the few times Jeff and I were arguing. Of course I validated his feelings and apologized to him. Then told him how we were going to track the days to anticipate when this will happen again. I said that the next time Daddy goes out of town we will make all our food in advance so cooking doesn't stress me out and we don't end up eating McDonald's. I also said we had a plan for making sure I can get to sleep each night. I let him know this plan means things will be a lot better, maybe not perfect, but better.

Mommy & Jeffrey

I think it is VERY important that our kids know what is going on. Some may think that my son is too young to know much about my illness. However, our kids know something is wrong even when we don't tell them. We all remember it from when we were little. Those times when our parents thought we could not hear them fighting. Or when we knew tragedy had struck our family but no one would tell us what it was and we sat in our room scared and wondering. Our children are far more intelligent and intuitive than we give them credit for and if we are not honest with them, their imaginations will run wild. They will think of the worse case scenarios and be scared to death. And they won't tell us they are scared because they don't want to stress us out any more than we already are.

If we are honest with our kids they will feel more secure in life. They will know they can trust us and eventually they will learn that things like illness happen and you work through it together as a family. And when we mess up, we must apologize to them. No one is perfect and all of us parents will make mistakes. It is important that our kids know we value and respect them enough to apologize to them and this also helps them learn how to do the same in their own life.

Talking to Jeffrey made him feel much better and let him know things were not falling apart. It helped him make a bit of order out of an illness and life that sometimes seems chaotic and unpredictable.


Rev. Katie

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