The Impact of Neurodiversity on Family Dynamics, Mental Health
Having a neurodiverse teen can be a unique and rewarding experience — certainly one to be celebrated, not simply endured — but it can also bring some challenges to family dynamics and relationships. A few of them include:
- Parental burnout. Parents who feel pressured to juggle a career, domestic duties, typical child caregiving tasks, and the additional responsibilities related to their teen’s special needs can often find themselves exhausted. Without adequate resources, their own mental health needs may go unmet.
- Families on the receiving end of daily frustrations. Most Americans are familiar with the trope of a struggling neurotypical teen arriving home from school in a foul mood, impacting the entire home atmosphere. In differently abled teens, this can be heightened due to their differing tolerance and coping methods, not only for being adolescent, but for living in a world centered around neurotypical people. Family members may then have to cope with the more extreme “fallout” of these stressors.
- Sibling conflicts. Because neurodiverse teens have more complex needs that their parents must make additional efforts to meet, neurotypical siblings can feel neglected and resentful. They may also have difficulty interacting with their differently abled family member. Conversely, neurodiverse teens may perceive their siblings as having easier lives and greater successes, which can lead to reciprocal resentment as well as jealousy and low self-esteem.
The Path to Good Mental Health for the Whole Family
All of these challenges can lead to mental health conflicts for neurodiverse teens and other family members alike. Naturally, engaging families in child mental health services is essential for equipping neurodiverse pre-teens and teens to thrive. So is seeking out mental health resources for the whole family and finding solutions that work for everyone.
If you or a family member has gained valuable insights from your own related journey, you can help countless others like you by sharing your stories online. Consider posting reviews of mental health facilities and providers as well as the strategies you or your family has successfully used in approaching neurodiverse wellness challenges.
Share Your Neurodiverse Story With ReGroup Foundation
ReGroup Foundation is a non-profit that helps neurodiverse and neurotypical pre-teens, teens, and their families anonymously share and benefit from mental health success stories. Too often, the best resources and practices in teen mental health care remain under the radar. We want all families to benefit from the triumphs of those who have been there, done that. We make this possible by collecting family reviews of local mental health caregivers and facilities as well as personal strategies for helping teens recover from wellness challenges.
In only 15 minutes, you can begin making a world of difference in the lives of other teens and their families — just by anonymously sharing your successes. Register today and start sharing your reviews and mental health insights!