There are joys and triumphs in raising children. But whether you’re a new parent or have had kids for years, you know that parenting also comes with challenges. Every parent does his or her best to provide and care for their children, but fathers or mothers who are diagnosed with depression, however, deal with even greater obstacles. Their condition can get in the way of fulfilling their parental duties.
Learning the following ways in which depression affects your parenting can help you meet the challenges that come your way.
Inability to cope with daily challenges
If you’re suffering from depression, managing the symptoms of your condition can complicate otherwise regular tasks, like driving the children to school, attending parent-teacher conferences, and providing for them. You may find it difficult to be an effective parent while simultaneously managing your depression symptoms.
In such cases, the children may be forced to fend for themselves. A depressive parent may also find it challenging to discipline and care for them, as well as balance work and parenting duties.
Difficulties connecting with your children
Parents who are suffering from depression may show symptoms such as continuous low mood, poor self-esteem, feeling hopeless and helpless, and irritability with and intolerance of others. These symptoms certainly will make it difficult for people to function as parents and providers. Sufferers will also find it challenging to connect emotionally with their children as a result of their lack of energy and joy. This may result in the children growing emotionally detached from their parents.
Crippling parental guilt
Despite their depression, some parents are fully capable of caring for their children. However, there are those who may constantly entertain negative thoughts about their skills and feel guilty about their perceived inadequacies. They may get in the habit of criticizing themselves and doubting their skills to act as guardians to their little ones.
But does parenting self-efficacy (“the conviction that one can successfully execute the behavior required to produce the outcomes”) affect the well-being of children? Based on a recent study, it does. In fact, it’s crucial to carrying out parental roles like keeping children healthy despite perceived barriers caused by a mental condition.
Children may be unable to cope
It’s not impossible for children whose parents are diagnosed with depression to grow up healthy and functional. However, there are children who may not be able to cope in a household with depressed parents. After all, parents are expected to provide children with care, affection, and even discipline when necessary.
If left unexamined and untreated, parental depression can leave a lasting negative impact on the children — and their children.
How mental health professionals can help
The struggles of being a parent while fighting depression may seem insurmountable, but there are plenty of available help both for you and your children.
Mental health professionals offer expert, specific advice on being an effective parent while managing your condition. They can also provide valuable counsel regarding the factors that influence children’s behavior and overall well-being, when under the care of parents diagnosed with depression.
Parents who are suffering from depression owe it to themselves and their children to get the right treatment that will ensure that they and their family thrive in a secure and loving home.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Meridian Psychiatric Partners’ offices in Chicago, Evanston, and Lake Forest if you want to benefit from our psychotherapists’ expert counsel — call us today.