Liza Long

Recent Posts

More than Their Labels: How to talk to your child about their diagnosis

Posted by Liza Long on Sep 20, 2018 11:53:00 AM

Let’s face it: Labels are useful. For consumers, labels can point us to a trusted brand, or give us important information about how to care for a new article of clothing, or tell us what kinds of nutrients are in the food we eat.

But children are not new shoes or breakfast cereals. Every child is unique, with special needs, abilities, and strengths. Learning how to focus on those strengths can be critical when parents talk to their children about mental health conditions. 

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Mental Health Days -- What to do when your child just won't go to school

Posted by Liza Long on Aug 16, 2018 11:00:00 AM

For many parents, the middle of August is the most wonderful time of the year. After hearing a thousand iterations of “I’m bored!” and waging a positional (often losing) arms race against excessive screen time, we are thrilled to cram our children’s backpacks full of shiny new school supplies and post those “milestone” first-day-of-school pics to Instagram.

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Topics: Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, School Issues, Getting Support, Mental Health Conditions

You’re Not Alone: Finding a Support System when Your Child Struggles with Mental Illness

Posted by Liza Long on Jun 7, 2018 3:45:48 PM

When children are sick with physical illnesses like cancer, the entire community rallies around the family. Friends bring casseroles, offer to watch the child’s siblings while the parents spend time with their sick child, and flood the family with tangible signs of love and support like flowers, cards, and balloons.

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Topics: Self-Care, Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, Getting Support, Stigma, Mental Health Wellness

Navigating Summer Plans for a Child with Mental Illness: Pools, Popsicles, and Paying for Special Needs Care

Posted by Liza Long on May 25, 2018 11:30:03 AM

My youngest daughter turns 13 in a few weeks. For the first summer in ten years of balancing work and motherhood, I don’t have to worry about the one expense that rivaled my mortgage: summer daycare. Many parents look forward to the day when their children will be old enough to supervise themselves—or even babysit other children—during summer days. But for parents of children who have mental illness, it’s a different situation. While I no longer plan summer daycare for my soon-to-be 13-year-old daughter, there’s no way I would have left my son Eric, who lives with bipolar disorder, home alone at the age of 13. He would not have been safe.

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Topics: Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, Inspiration, Getting Support, Insurance Funding Issues

Nobody’s Perfect: Trusting yourself—and forgiving yourself—can be critical when parenting a child with mental illness

Posted by Liza Long on May 1, 2018 1:53:38 PM

I’m a recovering perfectionist. In my writing, I’m always looking for a better way to phrase things (I’ve revised this sentence four times). As a teacher, I’m always tweaking my lesson plans and assignments to try to make them more effective and inclusive. And as a mother of four children, I sometimes agonize over being the best parent I can be, knowing firsthand that a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.  Some days, that means I’ve been pretty anxious, stressed, and sad. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in parenting a child with mental illness is that it’s okay to doubt myself—and even more importantly, it’s also okay to trust myself too.

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Topics: Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, Getting Support, Inspiration, Stigma

You Are What You Eat: Nutrition Plays an Important Role in Children’s Brain Health

Posted by Liza Long on Mar 23, 2018 2:31:41 PM

After my 2012 blog about parenting a child with mental illness, “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” went viral, I received numerous suggestions about ways to help my child. A surprising number of these comments focused on my son’s diet. “I guess I shouldn’t have let you eat Red Vines or drink root beer,” I joked to Eric, who has always had a fondness for those sugar-laden treats.

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Topics: Parenting Kids With Mental Illness, Causes and Risks

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