Parents and families of children (young or older) with a mental health or behavioral problem often struggle through multiple stages in their life. It can be difficult for the sufferer and the caregiver to remain emotionally connected overtime. A client of mine has struggled for years with pediatric bipolar disorder and his mother confided that she has felt detached from him because of his behaviors. Not only does mom feel “unloved” by her son (mainly due to his impulsive and explosive symptoms), but the son feels alone and disowned by a mother who is exhausted and discouraged. A challenge for this family was to find ways to re-connect in a loving fashion. We discussed the book The 5 Love Languages of Children and concluded that her son benefited most from physical touch (hugs, pats on the back) and that his mother benefited from acts of service from him. By learning how to cater to each other in their mother-son relationship, they were able to re-connect and appreciate each other.
Find out what the 5 love languages are at my sister-site: PsychCentral/Caregivers