I know from personal experience that being a good parent during a manic episode is one of the
most humiliating experiences a parent can have.
I can recall numerous times in my children’s life where I was made a fool of when I stormed
onto a softball field or during cheerleading practice screaming about someone not treating my
child right. I am glad those days are over and I’m happy to say my children have forgiven me for
many of those episodes, but the embarrassment I caused them cannot be forgotten.
During the years of working through my symptoms as a parent, I knew there was a better way
to behave. I knew I was not lost in a funnel of crazy behavior and I could choose to do things
differently. The goal was to find out how and what to do to keep my children from being raised
in an unstable environment. The challenge was getting my friends to understand I was really
trying hard to understand life at 35 years old.
What most people don’t get: we are lost inside our minds and what we see as reality is usually
skewed by unmanageable fluctuations in thought and mood followed by lapses in time . I can
pick up on a conversation weeks later with someone who has forgotten all about it.
What I want to introduce to you today is a list of your responsibilities as a parent. I believe this
list will help you stay focused on what you can do to help your children from being neglected or
abused as they grow up under your roof. I hope this list saves you from what has caused me
the most regret. It is something I wished someone would have given me years ago.
Parents responsibilities to their children:
1. Keep your child free from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
2. Keep unsafe objects locked up or out of reach of your child.
3. Get to know your child’s caregivers (get references or background checks).
4. Correct any potential dangers around the house.
5. Take Safety Precautions: Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, lock doors at
night, always wear seatbelts, etc.
● Plenty of nutritious foods
● A warm bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow
● Medical care as needed/Medicine when ill
● Clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions
● Space (a place where he or she can go to be alone)
○ Accept your child’s uniqueness and respect his or her individuality.
○ Encourage (don’t push) your child to participate in a club, activity, or sport.
○ Notice and acknowledge your child’s achievements and pro-social behavior.
○ Encourage proper hygiene (to look good is to feel good, or so they say!).
○ Set expectations for your child that are realistic and age-appropriate.
○ Use your child’s misbehavior as a time to teach, not to criticize or ridicule.
○ Use respectful language
○ Respect his or her feelings
○ Respect his or her opinions
○ Respect his or her privacy
○ Respect his or her individuality
○ Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher(s)
○ Make sure that your child is completing his or her homework each night.
○ Assist your child with his or her homework, but don’t DO the homework.
○ Talk to your child each day about school (what is being studied, any interesting
○ Recognize and acknowledge your child’s academic achievements.
○ Spend quality time together.
○ Be approachable to your child.
○ Ask questions.
○ Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Now that we’ve looked at the responsibilities parents HAVE, let’s look at what responsibilities
parents do NOT have. The following is a list of responsibilities that no parent should be
expected to meet.
● Supplying your child with the most expensive designer clothes or shoes available.
● Picking up after your child/Cleaning your child’s room.
● Dropping everything you’re doing to give your child a ride somewhere.
● Providing your child with a telephone, television, computer, or game system.
● Bailing your child out of trouble every time he or she does something wrong.
● Maintaining an unlimited supply of treats, chips, sodas, or junk foods for your child’s
● Replacing toys or other items that your child has lost or misplaced.
● Welcoming any or all of your child’s friends into your home for social or other activities.
I hope this information helps parents understand their limits and the abilities when it comes to
parenting. It’s okay that you are still working on the bullet points, just don’t give up or give in!