How To Tell If Your 3 Year Old Has Ocd Setting Boundaries With Your Difficult Adult Child Who Has A Mental Illness

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Setting Boundaries With Your Difficult Adult Child Who Has A Mental Illness

Wondering how to set boundaries with your difficult adult child who has a mental illness? It is difficult to have adult children who make poor choices that cause problems in their lives and in the lives of their parents; it is even more difficult to have adult children who have mental illnesses contributing to these choices. When our children have eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD or any other mental illness, it poses additional complications and we may be inclined to “help” too much. Here are four questions to answer that will let you know if you are helping yourself too much. Answering them will give you guidance in setting boundaries.

Is your help needed? There are times when “helping” prevents your child from taking responsibility and growing into what they “should” do. There are also times when “help” is really needed. You have to weigh the positive against the negative benefits of stepping in. You also have to take into consideration what your child really can’t do for himself because of the mental illness. This is an important determination and must take all aspects into consideration and it may be necessary to accept less perfect behavior and / or do more than you would have done if your child was mentally healthy.

Is your help encouraging? All your “help” should encourage your adult child to do better and become more independent. It should not be so controlled that it removes the incentive for your adult child to try or that sends the message that he/she is unable to manage his own life. Helping someone to help themselves is the goal. We all learn best when we have control over our choices and directly experience the consequences of them.

Is your help healthy? You take care of your child and feel responsible for him/her especially because he/she is “sick”; but, do you also care about yourself? It is critical that you do. What do you need? What do you want? What do you feel? What is good for you? Is it good for you to talk or see your child? Is it good to help? Is it good for you to have your child live in your home? Is it good to leave? Because of your legitimate concerns, you are hyper-focused on your child and what your child needs. This is natural, but we need to change. You may have brought it to save your child. You have given emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, physical and relational. Now is the time to consider yourself too, because you can’t lose to save your child and end up losing both.

Is your help working? The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Think about all the things you’ve done over and over that didn’t work. It is good to have hope, but it must be grounded in reality. If certain things never work, try something different. You have to analyze the effects of the things you do by looking at how they affect your child. Do a cost versus benefit analysis and decide if each thing works and if something else might work better. Your expectations may also be more reasonable to be in line with what is possible.

Mental illness makes your situation more complicated and obviously needs to be taken into consideration. When setting boundaries with your difficult adult child with a mental illness, answer these four questions so that your boundaries will be good for both of you.

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