Comforting and Supporting a Parent of a Child with Cognitive and Emotional Disorders

What do you say to a parent who is told that their child may be suicidal? How do you make sure as a parent thing will get better after their child told them to be better off dead cause he unlovable? Who can ensure that child’s safety who asking everyone to kill them? When can a parent stop worrying that constant repetition of stating “I want to die” one day won’t be attempted!

How do you comfort new parents that went for their 3 months well-check with their newborn that are told that your child needs further testing, that they aren’t meeting their projected milestones? Or explain to a parent at nine months or one, two or three years of age who watched their bubbly little one revert into a shell of what they use to be, your child as moderate to severe autism?

A child with an emotional disorder accompanied by other issues can lead other family members into depression by their daily words and/or behaviors.  A sibling can feel neglected because the child with special needs receives a large part of attention from the adults in the home. A father feels cheated and ashamed for their child to be diagnosed with an illness. A mother who has no one to turn to for help who has no support is alone having to protect the child and her safety and sanity.

In 2010, it was reported that there was over 20+ mother/child murder/suicide cases in the US. These were mothers of special need children that were overwhelmed with the constant care for their child. The lack of support driving them into depression and death. In recent years, we have heard of suicide death by celebrities, the most recent surprise being Robin Williams 2014. A great comedian and actor who took his own life to not deal with the pain of his diagnoses.

So I asked again how do we comfort a parent of a child with special needs? How do we make sure a parent with a child diagnosed with emotional disorders won’t succumb to suicide? What support system should be in place to support that parent?

As a parent with two precious young boys both diagnose with cognitive and/or emotional disorder, I can state I understand the emotions, the disconnect from society, the loneliness, the frustration and depression that many parents face. Not including the lack of relationships, financial stability, and security. As an advocate, I understand the services available in my local state, the varies resource to parents for assistance. I have witnessed the denial, shame, and reluctance from parents to seek support. The society’s perception of a parent of a child with special needs. Many are quick to say they need an old fashion whipping to correct them. Others speak out of turn to your child with correction thinking they are assisting you by doing what they think you should be doing. Both ill attentions stemming from ignorance or any true factual basis of understanding of a child behavior.

There are two paths I will tell. Each very different but the same, they share the same parents and until recently same home. One son, due to the severity of medical issues besides the diagnoses of Autism lives in a residential educational facility. This wasn’t an easy road to travel, but a necessary one for the welfare of all in the home. The second son, in the past misunderstood and under diagnosed share similar diagnoses but at the other end of the spectrum. Recently received a diagnosis of ADHD combined type with a Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Dyslexia high functioning Autism.

I will chronicle both roads of discovery, help, resistance and acceptance,  the challenges and champions that were faced along the way. I hope to aid, encourage, and support another parent with the tools to not only advocate for their child. But to create and advocate for a village of support for themselves.