Does my parenting style affect my child’s mental health?

I recently read a short article online about how a parent’s style of¬†child rearing could affect the mental health of their child. Just the title of the article itself caught my immediate attention and I quickly skimmed over it. The point of the article was that researchers say by matching your parenting style to your child’s personality, you can greatly reduce the child’s risk of anxiety and depression. I got something else out of it all together.

The first thing I thought of was how I tend to erupt sometimes when I get upset about something and the kids witness my anger. I always wish I could erase those moments. Always. I never want them to have to see me mad. I just have a terrible method of coping with my emotions. I have an especially difficult time managing my aggression if I am running on less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep. Something I need to work on. I am working on it.

I never ever take my anger or frustrations out on the kids in any physical way. It’s just the tone of voice I use that I am sure is scary to them. For example, a few days ago my son and I were in the bathroom like we are every morning right after he wakes up. I leaned over to help him take his diaper off to use the potty (we’re taking baby steps towards potty-training), and my cell phone slipped out of my sweatshirt pocket onto the floor into what appeared to be a puddle of water. I immediately blurted out some choice words in an angry tone, was about to grab a towel to wipe up what I thought was a pool of leftover bath water from last night’s bath, when I come to find out that my phone had landed not in water, but a big puddle of liquid baby soap. Keyboard side down. UGH. More angry outbursts. Then I stopped myself.

I recognized that my tone was not appropriate for my son’s ears. I realized that I didn’t want him to see me mad like that. I explained to him what happened and why I had become upset. Then I tried to salvage my phone before we picked up his sister from her crib and went downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast.

So while I’m glad the title of this article made me think about how I need to control any angry outburst that might come over me in daily life, I think the information the study was able to reveal was even more enlightening. My 3-year old is so happy, inquisitive, energetic, and smart that I’m going to work on allowing those qualities to show through my parenting in order to hopefully give him a stable mental health starting point. There are so many smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses, songs and dances that I love to share with my kids. I’m going to continue to focus on staying positive, supportive, and loving in order to nurture my growing kiddos.

Our liquid baby soap has since been transferred into a pump dispenser so as to avoid another near cell phone drowning.

Getting back on track

I’m feeling extremely guilty for not having blogged in three weeks. When I initially started this blog, it was my goal to write a post a day and that has definitely not happened. Life happens, and unfortunately for me, sometimes gets in the way of my goals and ambitions.

After I started the blog, I had a long weekend with my high school girlfriends, a trip with my kids to visit my parents while the hubby was on a business trip, then came home and got packed up for my trip to California with my husband for a cousin’s wedding. Then our little man turned 3 and we threw him a birthday party with friends and family. So yeah, we had a lot of stuff going on that made it difficult to keep up with my lofty goal for this blog. But hey, I’m back at it now, so I have to at least give myself credit for getting back on track.

I’ve noticed recently that I am the type of person who gets started on an involved, long-term project, gets really excited about it and dives in with¬†exuberance, only to find that my dedication dies down slowly over time until I’m no longer working on the project at all and have instead moved on to the next big idea. Kind of frustrating to say the least. I feel like I have lots of big ideas in my head which I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of their potential. Part of the problem stems from my bipolar disorder, and the fact that when I become hypomanic I tend to feel like I can conquer the world so that is usually when I start something new and as the hypomania dies down, my interest in the project tends to decline as my mood winds down. But another big piece of it is the kids and the time and energy that they both require on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love spending time with them and doing things like reading to them or taking them on walks to the playground. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes wish for just four straight hours to dedicate to a project or a hobby like writing or sewing. Luckily for me, my wonderful husband sometimes will take the kids on a Saturday morning to give me some “Mommy free time” which is awesome. We’ll tend to do that for each other – since it’s football season he enjoys having time on Sundays to watch the games, so when he takes the kiddos on Saturday, I’ll get them out of his hair on Sundays. It’s our way of pampering each other I guess.

I definitely want to get back on track – with my writing and with my exercise regimen too. My 5k is coming up in less than two weeks (13 days to be exact!) so I’m aiming to get as many workouts under my belt as I can before the race. And if I’m not able to keep up with a post a day, I’ll at least try for 3-4 a week. So my attempt to solve my “dwindling dedication to long-term project” syndrome is to modify my goals. Good place to start I guess.

Do you ever feel like your bipolar disorder causes you to lose focus? If so, how to you cope?