Never Give Up! Set A Boundary. Have Some Fun
Parents of children (of any age) with a mental health, alcohol or other drug problem can hang onto hope for a very long time. Some never give up. And good on them! Hope is well worth hanging onto because change is possible. But the tricky thing about this scenario is that change is possible if and when someone wants to change. And this is where things can come unstuck. Because the person with the mental health, alcohol or other drug problem may not be ready to change. And even if they are ready to change well, change takes time, lots of time, with stops and starts along the way. So the best thing parents can do in this situation is to put the focus on themselves. If we put the focus on us then change is possible because when we change the people around us can change. When we put the focus on us then we take the pressure off the person living with a mental health, alcohol or other drug problem. And this is a good thing because they may become more willing to make changes themselves (rather than feeling like they have to please us or get us off their backs). Putting the focus on us does not mean that we walk away - we can hang onto hope. What it means is that we need to set some boundaries about what is OK and what is not OK for us around behaviours that negatively affect us or others in the family (due to non compliance with medication, drinking excessively or taking drugs). And we have to work out what boundaries we will set which depends on our values, beliefs and what we can live with. Setting boundaries is totally appropriate and helpful. But finding a balance between boundary setting and keeping the focus on us is important too. So having fun, catching up with a friend, going for a walk, having a rest from thinking and talking about mental health, alcohol and other drug problems is really important. It's a complex thing, this mental health, alcohol and other drug problem. So one step at a time. Put the focus on You, hang onto hope, set a boundary and have some fun.