So, it's the Christmas season. Does your life look like the Hallmark Christmas Card commercial? Oh, I didn't think so. We have so many expectations of what this season should be. Families that have bipolar, ADHD, or other "difficult" children often notice that the busyness of the season can exacerbate symptoms, reduce patience of all members, cause strain between parents, and bring up the expecations of what we thought our family would be like.
Extended family usually doesn't get it. "Can't you control him?" "Man, a good spanking would get that kid into shape", etc. How disheartening. " Doesn't anyone get it?", you ask yourself. Well, yes. Other families that are going through the same thing as you do get it. I get it.
I have a daughter and a husband with bipolar disorder. We have been through a lot of tough times and a lot of great times. I wished that I had support along the way from other families that got it too. I want that for you. My hope this Christmas season is that you find support for your family. That you take great care of yourself because you are going to need to be operating at peak performance to be able to be there for yourself and your family in the best way that you know you want to be.
I encourage you to throw traditional expectations out and create new ones for the family that you have. Know that many people don't get it and that they aren't trying to be mean or indicate that you are not a good parent, they just don't understand. Try to let the safe family members in on what is happening for your child and let the other ones have their opinions. You can't change them anyway. Keep the stress down, try to get enough sleep and love each other the best you can. If you need support along the journey, I understand and would be happy to help.
Nancy Ryan, LMFT specializes in working with individuals and couples who want deep, satisfying relationships with themselves and their partners. She works with couples who are ready to stop the destructive patterns and want to build the love, friendship and romance back into their partnership.