Parenting with Mental Illness

Anyone schizoaffective and parenting? Any tips?


work out, get a Nordic Track or treadmill.

Do it religiously around your kids. Let them see it.


I have 6 kids. 5 at home still.

My kids know I have mental illness and that it isn’t their fault if I act weird or act angry. I try to make sure to let everyone know when I am on edge…“mom is having a hard time right now” or “I can’t deal with too much right now”

You have to remember that kids are kids. Even when you don’t feel well they have normal kid needs and it is ok and good to expect their other parent to step in and help.


Show lots of love. Let them see your mistakes. Be honest about your diagnosis depending on their age. Remember it’s better to have a place that has lots of freedom and a bit.of a mess than have a perfect house and kids who are afraid of doing anything. Don’t let anyone doubt your ability to be a great mom. Encourage them to do their best at school. Please please don’t yell at them.


I have five young ones. Sometimes I need to take a break from them and will go into the other room for a little bit to have a break and do something that I enjoy, like reading. It’s really hard to do, but important to take some time for yourself. I am a stay at home mom and school them, so I am with them 24/7. I don’t have a perfectly clean house and sometimes they watch tv so I can have some time to myself. When my husband comes home from work he will help me out. It’s always good to have a supportive partner. I think that is key. My children know when I am not feeling well. I have supportive family who will take the kids when I am really in trouble mentally and my doctor says I need to be alone. I have alot of help and I am blessed.


Mr. Star and I are getting ready to become foster parents. I’m following this to read all the advice. Thanks to all the parents on this forum for sharing your stories!


That’s awesome! I was adopted and so were my siblings, so I am a huge supporter of fostering and adoption.


Who’s to say a lot of parents weren’t MI,
but just not Dx’d?

The kids always knew.


These are all really helpful. Thank you!

My children are very young, too young to understand. I try to act as normal as possible around them and find an outlet for any negative feelings through exercise/activities with the eldest. I also make sure I have a proper adult conversation every day (I find that goes a long way!)
When they’re older I will be honest but will likely still try to not show my reactions to symptoms in front of them.

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I do. I try not to tell the kids about anything that freaks me out. I’m paranoid but I don’t tell the kids what about. When my 18 year old was growing up and I’d go to the hospital I’d tell her not to visit because I was sick and contagious. Now she knows. But I didn’t tell her until she graduated high school. My 13 year old stepdaughter only knows about my ptsd. And I plan on keeping it that way. My older stepdaughter who is 24 knows I have ptsd, but I didn’t tell her about sz. My goal is to not tell the kids when I’m freaking out so they don’t become fearful of life. I want them to grow up as normally as possible.


My kids are very young. I try and keep it from them, too. I’ve been hospitalized three times since they were born, and I take medication. They also come with me to counseling from to time. But they do not know what I struggle with.

It’s beautiful to me to read that so many of you parent in the midst of struggling. I want to do it well.

  1. Have you had someone else pick up your kids from you to help out?

  2. Have you hallucinated in front of your kids?

  3. In mania, the kids and I are out all day. We visit many people, and we do many activities. What do you do?

  4. In depression, we still go out. But at home I am less engaging. This makes my heart so sad. What do you do?

I once sent my daughter to my moms house in another state because I was suicidal. I don’t know if I’ve hallucinated in front of her or my step kids. I don’t get mania.


Okay. I’m glad you have support.

I can relate. The hard part for me is when I am hospitalized for MI. More than anything, I miss my kids. Even though I have tried to explain my condition to them, I don’t think they fully understand.

I miss them, too, during those times.

I think one day they will understand.

I have psychosis and mood issues but no clear diagnosis.

I became ill after having my son (now 7) and had loads of unstable times during his toddler years. I decided for him to live with my parents. I do see him often, several times a week. His dad is not involved. I do (always?) feel scared of relapsing around him. I did the first 2 times, because it was unexpected, which was scary. Now I monitor my symptoms and when I’m a little unstable, I visit him at my parents house, am not alone with him. When I’m depressed, my parents do more with him and I less. I don’t have real mania, just a bit of hypomania perhaps, which isn’t bad.

My son is happy overall, but does have his moments where he finds it hard. He for example notices I sleep more when I’m depressed, I am more grumpy and I don’t play with him a lot at such times. Also, he wants me to live with them.

I have a child psychologist involved for ages. We ask her for advice. My son also just spoke to her and me. We explained in children’s language our situation, that I love him despite my own issues and that it’s not his fault. Also he could express there how he felt, in drawings and talking.

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It sounds like you work very hard and do so much for your son to know you love and care about him and his well-being! Thank you for sharing!

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My great grandmother was institutionalized around 1910 after my grandmother was born.

They called it ‘Melancholy’ on her death certificate.

Knowing this- no one ever tride to hide this info from me-

I think it’s important that kids know their familys medical history-

I think it helped me understand myself more after being Dx’d.

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