Sunday, May 6, 2012

What's Your Message?

I'm honoured to have been asked to address a group of women this week who many or may not know anything about children's mental illness. In case you weren't aware, May 6-12, 2012 is Children's Mental Health Week, so the timing couldn't be more perfect.

My goal is to share a bit of what it's like to be the parent of a child with a mental health challenge, but I'd love to have the chance to share a bit about what you think, too. With that said, here are a few questions for you. I know my answers to these questions, but I'd love to hear what you think as well.

So, here goes.

1) What message do you feel needs to get out there? What do you want people to know?

 2) When your child is acting up in public, what is the most helpful thing someone can do? (ignore? smile reassuringly? offer help?)

 3) What can friends/family do to help?

I've asked these questions over on TheODDMom Facebook page as well, so feel free to go check out what's going on over there as well. If you haven't joined us yet, you'll find the link to the right of this blog.

Thanks, everyone. I look forward to hearing from all of you.


  1. 1) ODD is not made up. People hear "autism" and are compassionate. They hear "ADHD" and at least they understand. They hear "Oppositional Defiant" and they say, "Oh, he's a brat." It's not a description; it's a diagnosis.

    2) DISTRACT! Sometimes someone else doing something funny or just speaking directly to my child during meltdown is enough of an unexpected thing to snap my kid out of it, at least enough to get him in a more private place / home.

    3)Believe me. (See #1)

    1. "It's not a description; it's a diagnosis." I love that. Thanks for your input.

  2. First, congratulations on being asked to speak. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to personally hear you (YET!) but from following your blog/facebook and through conversations I have learned a lot about different challenges that children and familys can face.

    1)I think an important messege would be to be kind and teach other children to be kind to one another. It's important to take the stigma out of any mental health disorder and try to educate ourselves on the issues.

    2)Anytime my children act up in public, which is often as they are three, two and now four weeks, I always appreciate a smile. I wouldn't expect someone to jump in, unless it's to hold a door because everyone's parenting decisions are different. A friendly smile can go a long way.

    3)Support, ask questions and love unconditionally. When met with disbelief or close mindedness, it becomes an added stress when trying to focus on your children and the obsticles you face as a family. Stay focused on helping the child and supporting one another.

    Thanks Laura for another wonderful read and the opportunity to discuss with other parents and people interested in such an important topic.

    1. I agree with you on all your points, Lindsay. Thanks for being part of my support network. :-)

  3. I am so proud of you for being chosen. Your voice is so powerful.
    I can't give you any answers but I wanted to give you luck.
    Youre doing great things.

    1. Thanks, Kimberley. You may not be able to understand exactly what it's like to have a child with a mental illness, but you do all the right things to offer support. You should give lessons. ;-)