Many BPD sufferers work very hard at being good parents. However, BPD thinking and behavior patterns can lead to problematic parenting in several ways. For instance, a BPD sufferer is prone to black and white thinking, which can lead a parent to "split" one child--or the same child at different times--as “all bad” and thus deserving of punishment and another as "all good." In "all bad" child suffers never learns human bonding. An "all good" child is not given a chance to develop a normal sense of independence and identity as the parent idealizes, rescues, or turns to the child for support.
BPDFamily.com can provide education, support, and tools as to work toward improving the lives of the children with a parent with BPD. Members find shared ideas and resources on Parenting and Co-Parenting, along with numerous articles and workshops discussing ways of supporting kids with a BPD caregiver and effectively meeting their needs. The Parenting board is also a place to get much needed emotional support from others who really do understand the challenges of trying to offer kids the best environment possible. Depending on the relationship to the child and the severity of the problem, there is as lot a concerned adult can do, including:
- Ensure the child’s physical needs are being met.
- Take the child out regularly for some “down” time.
- Reassure the child that the mistreatment is not his/her fault.
- Teach the child healthy coping mechanisms, like thinking of a happy place or time when things are difficult or to focusing on breathing and counting to 10 when angry.
- Provide counseling for the parent and the child.
- Talk—and listen—to the child.
- Validate the child’s feelings and sense of reality. If a BPD parent says the child is “not cold” when the child has said he is freezing, say, “I think he is feeling cold. I’ll get a sweater for him.”
- Find ways to check regularly on the child’s well being.
- Reduce the amount of time the child spends alone with the stressed parent. Offer alternatives, such as to babysit or pay for activities.
- Create small rituals of security and happiness. Go to a park every Saturday. Take the child grocery shopping and let her choose one small treat.
- Remove the child to safety.
- Call a child abuse or domestic violence hotline or 911.
- If you are not the child’s parent, consistent with your own safety and need for boundaries, stay in the child’s life to the greatest extent possible.
- If you are the child’s parent and you feel that you must look at all options to protect your child, consult with an experienced family law attorney and a counselor to map out a plan.