National Network of Adult and Adolescent Children who have a Mentally Ill Parent/s. Vic. inc. Australia
Golden Rules For Professionals.
Donít expect the child to parent the parent even though they may take this role on themselves.
Be honest. Donít say you understand if you donít really.
Donít underestimate the childís / young personís knowledge.
Donít tell the child the parent can be cured.
Kids know whatís happening to them.
Remember a child lives with this 24 Hours a day - they are more familiar with their parentís symptoms than you are.
Some people donít like it assumed that they are ďcarersĒ.
Do take an Empowerment approach, young people appreciate meeting others who will let them speak their mind.
Be NON JUDGMENTAL always.
Accept that sometimes nothing they do may make a difference.
Donít pathologise the childís feelings or prescribe psycho-education as a remedy.
Remember if you are responsible for the parent YOU MAY HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST in advocating for the child.
Explain what you can and can't do.
Assist the young person to contact NNAAMI.
Facilitate private contact with NNAAMI via school or library internet etc. or provide private phone time available for them to contact NNAAMI.
Confidentiality with a parent is an issue. Most young people donít want to be seen as a client but they need to be able to explain their immediate concerns re: the parentís mental state.
If the child is worried about safety around the parent take these concerns seriously.
Provide at least basic information re: parents condition or discharge / treatment plan.
Remember that children can be easily intimidated by having to deal with
numerous professionals in a mental health setting.
The child is more likely to open up outside of this context.
Donít involve young people in case conferences against their wishes. Try to provide an alternate meeting for a young person to discuss their concerns, without parents attending, and offer for them to be accompanied by an advocate or friend or trusted family member.
Donít try to problem solve. Many of the issues children face daily are beyond the remedy of a strategy or a simple solution.
For some there are no immediate remedies.
Be careful not to suggest to the child that they are responsible for the problem.
Young people some times need to be able to say they hate their parents.
Donít qualify their statements for them, let them do this in their own
time ! Coping with a parents illness is a life long experience.
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