Man kom så knäckt, trasig till kropp och själ Föräldraperspektiv på barnets deltagande i stödgruppsverksamhet
Support group activities for children with mentally ill parent´s, without a parallel parent group, is by far the most common form in Sweden. The activities have primarily focused on increasing the frequency of the protective factors around children. Of course, parents and the families are also influenced of children´s participating in these activities. Most studies examining support group activities for children from the child's perspective. The experiences of parent’s perspective have not been well studied. This qualitative study used interviews to explore these parents perspective on what the child's participation in the support group activities meant for the child, the parents and the relations and communication in the family. The study also examined the parent process until the decision to register their children to support group activities. As an analytical framework has the following theories been used: symbolic interactionism, stigma and the importance of language. One central theme that emerged was the parent´s dual feelings about seeking help. Fear of social punishment and shame on the one hand and anxiety and stress for the child on the other side. Crucial step in this process was respectful, empathetic meetings with professional helpers, where parents could feel relief of shame. The parents felt relief of anxiety for the children when they perceived that the children's self-esteem grew through support group activities. How parent could receive and contribute to the development of the child's newfound experience shows in the study the importance of parallel support contact for the parent for the best impact for both the child and the family. The theme that illustrate this result was parental and child responsibility, open communication and in those case parents were separated, the child's contact with both parents. Implications to stop the spiral of shame are discussed along with recommendations for future work involving an external perspective of dissemination of information and education on mental illness in a future vision.