Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Personal Accounts: Becoming the Mother of a Child With Schizophrenia

I never expected to be the mother of someone with a severe mental illness. My undergraduate education (at Swarthmore College) and graduate education (at the University of California, Los Angeles) in the 1970s left me with a comforting notion about child rearing; as long as children had parents who were loving, sensitive, responsible, and supportive, they would not be in danger of developing mental illnesses.

My personal ignorance was compounded by the common lack of mental illness literacy in the United States and in Canada, where I lived when I had children. When our younger daughter began to flounder as a teen, we didn’t understand what was happening. Only much later did we learn that our daughter’s puzzling cognitive losses, her strange physical gait, and her growing lack of connection to the world around her were well-known prodromal signs of schizophrenia.


This is the first piece on schizo-affective disorder that explains in clear language what it is.

Recently I had to hide my stove top oven while I was gone because my daughter has left it one for an hour when all that was needed is 10 minutes. Who would have thought we would have to monitor appliance safety concerns.

Thank you for posting this. I haven’t finished reading it but plan to read every word.

Excellent article - I need to read it again & look at some of the resources.

However, this jumped out at me
"difficulties with working memory and short-term memory, focusing, sequencing, problem solving, judgment, and social skills"

My son was diagnosed at about 7 with a non-specified learning disability that includes long-term, short-term and working memory deficits - that also includes problems following long sets of directions.

And, when he was about 8, I started seeing unusual shyness that gradually increased until it was actual social anxiety by his tween years - with a short but full-blown psychotic break at 15.

No one can do anything but guess, but I wonder now if it’s all related.

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That pretty much follows my son to a tee except his first psychotic break was at 16.

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