Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Surviving the System

Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Surviving the System

Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Surviving the System

Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Surviving the System

Synopsis

The Surgeon General has identified children's mental illness as a national problem that creates a burden of suffering so serious as to be considered a health crisis. Yet, what it means to be the parent of a mentally ill child has not been adequately considered- until now. Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Survival captures the essence of caring for these youngsters, providing resources and understanding for parents and an instructive lesson for society.

Author Craig Winston LeCroy uses in-depth interviews to chronicle the experiences of parents of mentally ill children as they attempt to survive each day, obtain needed help, and reach out for support, and he lets them share their misunderstood emotions of shame, anger, fear, guilt, and powerlessness in the face of stigma from professionals, family, and friends. The book concludes with a critical appraisal of the social policies that must be implemented to help- and the reasons we should feel obligated to initiate them.

Excerpt

Cole is no good, and for a mama to say that, for a mama, I wish I could
be dead. Used to be all I ever wanted was a child of my own…. But now
I think about doom, what it is to be doomed. Cole is living proof ill
winds blow in out of nowhere and stomp out love and mercy. But why
is that? I gave years trying to figure it out and I guess there are years
ahead of me to come. I won’t ever let up wondering what went wrong.

—E. Clark, Biting the Stars

“My daughter has punched me, kicked me, and slapped me. She threw a lamp at me and cut my index finger deep to the bone.” Julie, a 45-year-old, composed mother of four, continued her story, recounting many events that have thrown a dark shadow over her life as a parent. Initially there were problems with compliance, as daughter Tammy refused to shower and resisted the bedtime Julie set. Tammy would begin screaming in an effort to avoid being controlled by her parents. Her screaming was so loud that the family was eventually evicted from their apartment.

At a very young age, Tammy showed signs of being a violent child. One time she locked herself in the bathroom for four hours, explains Julie. “After the first hour, I’m thinking, what’s going on? After the second hour, I really started to get agitated. After the third hour, I was saying, ‘Tammy, get out.’ I finally forced my way through the door. The bathroom floor was wet and as I turned to leave, she shoved me, knowing that if I fell on my hand, I’d need more surgery, because it was recently broken.” Julie looks up at me, adding, “We didn’t even have medical insurance at the time.”

She sums up her feelings about Tammy with a sense of conviction: “When you stand before a judge, and you hear things like, ‘She’s a danger to herself. She’s a danger to the general public,’ you’re thinking, ‘That’s my child.’”

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.