(NEWS CENTER Maine) — Watching your child struggle with a serious mental illness can be excruciating for parents. And it rarely gets easier as that child grows into an adult.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jack Burke says he has seen parents spend their retirement savings or raise their grandchildren in an effort to help. He says there are no magic bullets to fix this kind of situation. "Many years ago a wise old colleague told me that there are no pretty solutions to these problems. Just good business or bad business."
Burke suggests parents focus on these four concepts when dealing with an adult child's mental illness and/or addiction issues:
1. Dealing with the system. Keep in mind that once your child becomes an adult, the system will treat him or her -- and you -- differently. For example, patient confidentiality may limit how involved you can be in your adult child's treatment.
2. Love. It's the motivation behind what you do, but it does little on its own. If appealing to someone's "higher angels" worked, it would have long ago.
3. Nobody changes till they hit bottom. So don't "rescue." As long as their suffering hurts you more than it hurts them, nothing will change.
4. Policy and Plan. How much money will we devote? Will we keep Naloxone on hand? Will we raise the grandchildren? Always work with your partner from an agreed upon policy, not an emotional reaction. Policy is a safe word. It keeps our thoughts business-like
You may find this article from Psychology Today, here, helpful. It is written from the perspective of the adult child.