Friday, 10 February 2012

To tell or not to tell, what age do you tell your kids about your depression?

I can't tell you how bad I feel at the moment,  I feel I am a bad Mother.  It has come to our attention that my Son is behind with Maths and it's my fault.  It seems that as I have been battling with pain and depression that my Son has become another victim of this cruel disorder.  I knew this would happen I could see it coming, I did try to avoid it but I failed.

I have been getting my Son tutored for years now as I have not had the strength or brains ( My brain simply refuses to work now ) to do it myself,  in saying that I do help to a certain degree.

I thought I was doing the right thing, not wanting him to slip through the cracks.  We stopped getting him tutored last year as we thought all was well, but that's far from the fact.  I now have to pick up the pieces and get him up to speed.

I feel I owe him an explanation, otherwise he might think I just don't care.

What is a good age to tell your children that you have depression???   I was always going to tell him at some stage, because that's how you stop the stigma that has attach itself to the label we are given.

But I'm scared it will affect him in some way, maybe with self blame or I don't know what else but something.   I'm not embarrassed ( maybe a little ) but it's the fear of how he will take it.

I only have one Son, how did I screw things up?, I thought I had it covered.

What will I do????

4 comments:

Raven/Missy said...

First off, if your son didn't show you his papers or tell you he was struggling with math again, then it isn't your fault. My son would hide his bad papers, to hide how he was really doing. It wasn't until I started homeschooling him that I saw how behind he was. His report cards showed decent grades (b and A's).

He was 13 when I told him I was suffering from depression and how it correlated to my chronic pain. He occasionally asks questions, but he understands. My daughter knew at a younger age, but then I told her because she was dealing with her own mental health issues which included depression and felt like she was the only one in the world. So for my telling was based on necessity for each child.

Don't be too hard on yourself, no parent is perfect and we all makes our mistakes.

Jeanne said...

You're not a mind-reader. If your son's teacher didn't inform you that he was struggling and/or your son didn't tell you, that doesn't make it your fault that he is having difficulty.

I understand that you may be blaming yourself for not spotting it sooner or whatever but you are only human. While your situation may possibly have been one of many factors that led to a delay in the struggle being identified and brought out in the open, it is not your fault that your son is struggling with a subject in school.

If he had Bs and As on his report card, it makes sense that you thought things were OK! The teacher could have told you if his grades plummeted. Your son may have too many reasons to count for why he didn't tell you where things were at (may not have realized the severity himself, may have been scared to bring it up, may not have wanted to worry you, may have been worried about the cost of a tutor... the list goes on). Those are all total guesses on my part. The point is that it may have been one of those situations where things just happened and now you know. You know?

As far as when a child should be told about a parent having depression, I think it depends upon the child, the child's age and maturity, the child's need to know, and so much more. If I were in your shoes, I'm not sure I'd even bring it up in response to this situation (no matter what the answers to the above are) because ultimately your depression is NOT the cause of his math struggles. If you bring the topic up in that context, he may blame the illness for what happened when really your depression didn't cause him to have trouble in math.

I'm all for fighting against stigma. At the same time, many people in our society are not well-educated about mental health stigma. So, sharing mental health diagnoses with children is worth some careful planning and mindful wording.

Please don't beat yourself up about the math. The same thing could happen to a child with parents who are 100% healthy. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about this automatically being tied to your depression. One way or another, though, you are not solely responsible for your son's grades in school. Try to cut yourself some slack and remember that you care deeply about his grades or you wouldn't have written this post! So, there's no lack of caring or concern on your part.

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

I see that you haven't blogged recently. I have barely been online myself this year.

I just came across your link and was wondering how you're doing.

Thinking of you...

Jeanne

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