Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mommy's Different Faces by Barbara Patterson

"Children of parents with serious mental illness are often not noticed by the mental health system.  They are seen as bystanders, but they are directly affected by illness, never spared.  We need to provide outreach to these children so they know they are not at fault, so their burdens are shared, so they receive the growing up they deserve.  This book does it."

Mary Seeman  OC MDCM FRCPC DSc
Professor Emerita
Department of Psychiatry
University of Toronto

Written for children who have a parent with a mental health issue, this book explores some of the ways it can look to a child and some of the ways children cope.   Told from a little girl's view, the story does not preach or attempt to diagnose the parent's condition. Instead, the focus is on how the little girl feels when she sees her mommy's different faces: happy, sad, angry, empty.  The language is just right for young children and approaches the subjects of the parents emotions and changing moods and behaviours with a frank gentleness and focus on the child. The book recognizes that the children are directly affected by a parent's mental health.  Reading this book opens the door for honest discussions about a parent's issues and what that looks and feels like to a child everyday.  Guilt, fear and blame that the child may feel are discussed as well as how to talk about the illness and who the child can to go to for help and support.

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