Rick and Kay Warren Offer Advice for Parents Raising Children With Mental Illness

In observance of World Mental Health Day, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, shared practical advice for parents raising a child with mental illness.

In a Facebook live video, the Warrens, who in 2013 lost their 27-year-old son, Matthew, to suicide, addressed the question: “How do you as parents balance supporting a child with mental illness and at the same support your other children?”

While admitting they often handled the situation “poorly,” the Warrens explained the importance of employing “situational leadership” when it comes to parenting.

“Certain people, you draw the best out of them one way, and certain others you draw the best out of them in another way, and every one of your children of course are totally different,” Rick Warren said.

“It is a myth that you will give equal amounts of time to each of your children and to your spouse,” he continued. “You don’t want to treat your kids equally; you want to treat each kid uniquely because what works with one child doesn’t work with another. If you treat them all the same way, you’re really not a good parent.”

Oftentimes, children who suffer from a mental illness are the “squeaky wheel” and require more time and attention, The Purpose Driven Life author said. Because of this, it’s important to do “life in seasons.”

“That means, in this particular time, [one child] is in a crisis, [they’re] getting all of my attention,” he explained. “Another time, another child’s going to be in a crisis, and they’re going to get all of my attention.”

“It’s a matter of, sometimes they get more, sometimes they get less. But you do have to try to help understand, we all need each other, and we’re all important. It’s OK for someone to get more attention than me in different times of life.”

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Source: Christian Post