By Chase Trybulski

No parent wants to see their child in pain. If a guardian sees signs that their child is struggling with mental illness, they can be helpful in a number of ways. Parents and guardians can listen, link and learn.

Please ask your child questions about what their experiences are. You can communicate with them about what you see and listen to their perspective about what is happening for them. Sometimes behavioral challenges are a result of a symptom, not a child being naughty.

Connect your child with a helping professional who can teach them to manage and cope with mental illness. Remember that communicating directly with those professionals and getting your child to appointments consistently is paramount to the success of the process. The parent/guardian is the expert on their child and that information is valuable.

Learning about your child’s diagnosis means that you can tailor your parenting approaches to better meet your child’s specific needs. Behavioral strategies, safety plans and coping regimens are all more likely to be successful if the whole family is on board and promoting these tools. Doing your homework will help the treatment be as useful and effective as possible.

Families can support their children with patience, calm communication, and compassion. Listening to your child, linking them to supports and educating yourself encourages the child to make the best use of resources and participate in their treatment.

Chase Trybulski is the assistant director of Child Services at West Central Behavioral Health in Newport, N.H.

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