It's become apparent lately that a lot (not all!) parents use mental health as an excuse for bad & lapse parenting, and I'm wondering what other peoples views are on this.

 

 

I don't want to offend anyone- that's not the reason for this post- and I think that those who use these excuses are actually taking away the much needed care & support of those parents & children that GENUINELY have to live with mental health problems.

 

 

My interest/opinion on this has been building up for a long time.

In the past I've known people whose children had been diagnosed with behavioural problems, yet when factors of their lifestyles were looked at- it was obvious to me why their children had been diagnosed with issues. Two of my past friends' lifestyles were focused around alcohol and both were self-focused individuals with little maternal common sense. Thus, their children's behaviour was mirroring their own lack of self-control & without any firm, consistant boundries, these children continued that way.

Both of these friends were adamant that their children had 'Behavioural disorders' and went down the route of getting them diagnosed with ADHD. 

 

 

However, lately, another friend's 'issues' have given me food for thought. Her child has had behavioural problems for around 8 years. She comes from a middle-class, 2.4 idealistic family (no drug, poverty or mental health issues; dad works, mum is a housewife); however, soon after her 2nd child was born, she experienced a miscarriage & her & her husband decided not to have any more children. As a reaction to this, she kept her youngest child very close to her. She didn't socialise him with other kids his age until he was ready for school & has barely spent any time without him in the past 12 years.

 

 

As a child, he is intolerable. His behaviour is annoying & controlling; if he doesn't get attention from the adults around him, he repeats noises or talks loudly over everyone until they take notice of him. He's atagonistic & consistantly says other people are annoying him or he get's paranoid & defensive, then violent.

It is like walking on broken glass around him- if someone says the wrong thing, he snaps.

With my friend- he is very much in control. What he says, goes.

And he gets the blame for NOTHING. She is continuously pacifying him or excusing his behaviour. She is also frequently blaming everyone else for 'setting him off' or upsetting him. His behaviour is never his fault. He doesn't get punished or reprimanded for anything, and I think he uses his mother's weakness to his advantage.

 

 

A few years ago, he was diagnosed with epilepsy & his mother continuously blames his 'complex partial seizures' for his behaviour, but I am in doubt. I know 3 other people who have these & they are completely different (yet similar to each other) than what I have seen with this child. He is completely lucid when he is violent and they only seem to be set off when he doesn't get his own way or is proved wrong in an event. Additionally, his speech is very clear & I've noticed that he knows what he is saying. While he swears profusely in his supposed 'fits', he can also answer questions and make decissions. Even his violence appears quite orchastrated. In a recent outburst, his violence was far from random & very specific to the adult he didn't like/had a problem with.

He is also quite calculated with his cruelty to other children and has been diagnosed with a lack of empathy & a persecution complex.

 

His mother's favourite statements seem to be "It's his illness" and "He can't help it" and I think this is nothing more than an excuse for lazy parenting. If she can blame the illness, she doesn't have to discipline him & she can grab the pity card, when he acts up. I also think she subconciously likes that her son is very dependent on her & is overly attached.

 

 

So....to conclude.....

Do you think that 'behavioural problems' are just a symptom of lazy, feckless parents who don't like their children being blamed for anything? Are the labels, such as ADHD, ADD, epilespy, too easy used as an excuse for parents not wanting to blame themselves for their children's behaviour?

Or are you one of 'those' parents?