The Things You Celebrate When Your Child Has Mental Health Issues

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There are a lot of things that make parenting a child with invisible special needs difficult.  Besides all the mental and physical exhaustion, extra doctors appointments and therapy sessions, we are just parents that want the best for our kids. We want to celebrate their successes with our friends and families.  We see our friends celebrating the awesome success of their kids; Student of the Month for Character Traits or Awesome Behavior, setting up fundraisers for the needy, getting awards for various academic achievements.  Some of us feel like we can’t advertise our children’s successes because it also highlights their struggles.  Some of us join support groups on Facebook to have a community that understands us and gives us an outlet to boast of our children’s successes (along with venting our frustrations).  Here are some things that parents of children with mental health issues want to celebrate:

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  1.  My child woke up and got ready for school on time without a meltdown.
  2. My child turned off electronics when asked without punching holes in the walls.
  3. My child went to his/her therapy session without me dragging them into/out of the car.
  4. We went an entire week without getting a phone call from the school!!!!!
  5. My child got invited to a classmate’s birthday party! (and they did not necessarily have to invite the entire class, but honestly, either way, we’ll take it!!)
  6. People CAME to my child’s birthday party!!!
  7. My child’s teacher had something positive to say about him/her.
  8. My child was not excluded from a school “Fun Day”.
  9. My child has not refused to go to school this week!
  10. My child took their medication without a fight!
  11. My child has gone a month without an In School Suspension!
  12. My child has not threatened to self-harm(or actually harmed themselves) in months!
  13. We no longer have to lock up sharp objects in our house.
  14. We can go out to a restaurant as a family without a meltdown!
  15. My child made a friend at school!
  16. My child has not gotten kicked out of this daycare and we’ve been there for 6m!
  17. My child did a nice thing for a sibling without being asked!
  18. The IEP meeting went well and the school is working with my child so that he/she will succeed! (I actually rarely hear this one, but I got to say it!)
  19. The medication we tried is working and my child is happy and successful!
  20. My child wants to do a family activity instead of playing on electronics!!

These are in no particular order and do not apply to all children with mental health issues. You may wonder why we would want to celebrate some of these things. You may not have ever even considered that these things could be issues for families.  Mental health problems are prevalent in our society.  If you have a child in school, there is probably at least 1 child in that class that struggles with mental health issues of some degree. If you volunteer in that class or eat lunch with your child at school, you may even be able to guess who that is.  Please remember to be kind and gracious, model being kind and empathetic for your child.  If you see someone on FB bragging about their child, cheer them on. Celebrate in their successes.  You never know exactly how big of a deal it is for them to have achieved that success.  We may never know that some people are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety because they seem to cope so well in public.  Be supportive, be gracious, be kind.

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