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This illustrated book for school-aged children provides, through its touching story, clinically sound and age-appropriate information for children, giving them clear answers to frequently asked questions about the borderline personality disorder of a parent, and suggesting ways to cope with the situation. Through weather pattern analogies, the book describes 2 days in the chaotic life of David and Mary. Psychoeducational comments are provided throughout the book by a “weather wiz” who explains, in a simple manner, to both the characters and readers, the mother’s sometimes strange behaviors that can be challenging to comprehend. The wonderful illustrations help with the understanding, and lighten the story with humor. This book will help teach children take a certain distance, to better understand what is happening at home and how not to feel responsible for their parents’ stormy moments.

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Éditions Midi trente www.miditrente.ca



éditions midi trente

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in

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ISBN 978-2-923827-46-9

D esigne

Ronald Fraser, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., graduated as valedictorian from the medical school at Dalhousie University and completed his residency in psychiatry at McGill University. He is the director of a tertiary care program for treatment resistant bordeline personality disorder at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Presently, he has joint appointments of assistant professor at both McGill and Dalhousie Universities, and is as consultant psychiatrist in rural Nova Scotia, where he makes his home.

Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder

L i s e L a p o r t e a n d R o n a ld F r a s e r

Lise Laporte, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is the director of research at the McGill University Health Center’s Personality Disorders Program and works as a researcher at the Centre jeunesse de MontréalInstitut universitaire. She has conducted research in psychosocial factors related to the development of borderline personality disorder, particularly in the areas of family relationships, dysfunctional parenting and childhood trauma.

Illustrated by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal

The weather house

t h e w e a t h er h o u s e

The weather house

Lise Laporte, Ph.D., and Ronald Fraser, M.D.

Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder


Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication Laporte, Lise, 1954The weather house : living with a parent with borderline personality disorder Issued also in French under title : La maison des intempéries. For children aged 6 to 12. ISBN 978-2-923827-46-9 1. Borderline personality disorder - Juvenile literature. 2. Borderline personality disorder - Patients - Family relationships - Juvenile literature. I. Fraser, Ronald, 1963- . II. EudesPascal, Élisabeth, 1952- . III. Title. RC569.5.B67L36213 2013

j616.85’852

C2013-942041-X

Authors: Lise Laporte, Ph. D., and Ronald Fraser, M.D. Illustrator: Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal Publishing and design: Éditions Midi trente

All rights reserved © Éditions Midi trente www.miditrente.ca ISBN : 978-2-923827-46-9 Printed in Canada Legal deposit: 4th quarter 2013 Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec Librairy and Archives Canada

All rights of translation, edition, printing, or presentation in part or as a whole are reserved for all countries. Reproduction of any extract of this work, by any mean whether it be electronic or mechanic, including photocopy or microfilm, is strictly prohibited without the publisher’s written authorization.

Éditions Midi trente would like to thank SODEC for its support.

The authors recognize the financial support of the Centre jeunesse de Montréal-Institut universitaire for the French translation of the book The Weather House: Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder.


Forewords This was long overdue. Finally, a resource is available that addresses the needs of children who have a parent with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The Weather House, by Drs. Laporte and Fraser, is the first book to support what is perhaps the most underserved population impacted by the disorder: the children of parents who suffer from the illness. The BPD symptoms, including the mood instability that pervades the home atmosphere, accurately depicted as “storms”, are all well portrayed. Children are encouraged to seek out a trustworthy adult to find a safe place where to share their worries and concerns. The story walks the reader through common real life experiences with a captivating style and offers compassionate guidance in order for children to cope with the effects of witnessing BPD firsthand. Congratulations to the authors and many thanks to them for this wonderful book. Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D., president of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, New York

This is a wonderful and indispensable resource for families with a parent who suffers from borderline personality disorder. While the costs of borderline personality disorder are becoming clearer for those affected, the hidden costs for their children and for the community are still poorly recognized and understood. Drs. Laporte and Fraser fill this gap with understanding and compassion for both the parents with borderline personality disorder and their children, and manage to do so without blaming or shaming either. They are helped in their task by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal’s charming illustrations, which bring to life the complex, unstable and confusing emotional world portrayed in the lives of the protagonists, David and Mary. This book is both realistic and optimistic. It does not shirk the realities of family life with borderline personality disorder and the often lengthy and troublesome dealings with the mental health system. However, it still provides hope that young people can navigate a path through these difficulties. It deserves to be read and will no doubt provide support to many young people and to those who care for them.

Andrew Chanen, MBBS; B.Med.Sci.; MPM; Ph.D.; FRANZCP President International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders Associate Professor, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre & Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia

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Guide for parents, clinicians and educators

Millions of young North Americans live with a parent that suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a serious mental illness that can have devastating effects on individuals and on their families. BPD is often not well understood by individuals who suffer from it, or by their friends and family members.

A parent’s mental illness should be explained to their children because when children do not have an answer to their questions, they will make sometimes-false assumptions that will fill the gaps in their knowledge, and they will naturally blame themselves for what is happening to their parent. Also, children cope best when they understand as much as possible what is happening in their lives and there are no surprises. It is not always easy for a therapist, mental health clinician or youth protection worker to discuss a parent’s mental illness with a child. This obviously is a very sensitive topic that makes many people uncomfortable in our society. Frequently, they are unsure of how a child should be told. Similarly, it could also be very difficult for a parent to talk to their children about the mental illness of a spouse, loved one or their own. They may not always completely understand it themselves. We sincerely hope that this book will offer guidance for the parents, caregivers, clinicians and counselors who work with these children. It should help provide a moment to talk, share worries and respond to the questions that children often have about their parents and themselves, and are afraid to ask. This book has been written for children aged 6 to 12. It provides clinically sound, age-appropriate information giving clear answers to frequently asked questions about the illness of a parent and suggesting ways to cope with the situation. It will help children to take a certain distance, to better understand what is happening at home, and mostly, not to feel responsible for their mothers’ or fathers’ stormy moments. It will show to kids that they are not alone and that it is OK to share their feelings with someone they trust. Children of parents with BPD often forget about their own needs, and try to save (fix) their parents. As the Weatherman in the book says, their job as a kid is to be a kid. This book will help children to develop coping strategies: activities that make them feel good.

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We chose to present the information through a story that should captivate the younger audience and illustrations that help lighten the mood with humor. The simple psycho-educational comments provided throughout the book by a “weather wiz” should be explained to the children according to their developmental levels. The book has been written to be read in the company of a therapist, a parent or a trusted caregiver. Older children, however, could read the book on their own with an adult nearby ready to answer their questions. This book is meant to help start a conversation that should, as discussions about the weather do, take place regularly ! We hope that you find this book helpful. We certainly enjoyed writing it and felt that it was an important project for families affected by BPD.

Lise Laporte and Ronald Fraser

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Here are Mary and David.

They are twins, classmates and best friends. Sometimes, when David and Mary come home from school, they get very anxious. This is because they are never sure what they can expect to happen at home. They have learned that their home is different from their friends’ homes. In fact, they came up with a special name for their house. They call their home...

The Weather House 6


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Hello. I am the Weatherman and I am here to be your guide throughout this book. David and Mary’s mom suffers from something called Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. BPD is a mental illness and that means that it is a disease that affects the brain, and therefore affects the way people behave. People with BPD often have moods that are all over the map, just like when there are big changes in the weather.

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“Uh – oh ! It looks like there is very stormy weather in the kitchen,” says Mary. “It looks like mom is having a bad day,” says David. Mary suggests: “Maybe it would be a good idea if we played in the backyard for a while.” David says: “That is always a good idea when mom is in a bad mood. If we play for an hour, I am sure ‘the weather’ will improve.”

People with BPD can be warm and sunny or they can be as stormy as a tornado. Sometimes they are this way only for a few minutes and sometimes it lasts for days. Often, they feel that they can’t control themselves anymore than they can control the weather because their feelings are so strong.

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“Mary, do you think that mom is so upset because I did not make my bed this morning before going to school like she asked me to?” asks David. “Or maybe she somehow knows that I got a C on my spelling test this morning. It could even be because my socks don’t match.”

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Mary sighs and rolls her eyes. “David, come on ! You know that mom gets like this sometimes and if it’s not because of one thing, it’s another. It has nothing to do with anything that you or I could have done ! I know you feel bad, but you should not keep trying to blame yourself !”

hildren who have C t. h g ri is y ar M D are no more parents with BP nts’ moods re pa ir e th r fo responsible responsible e ar y e th an th or actions for the weather. 13


This illustrated book for school-aged children provides, through its touching story, clinically sound and age-appropriate information for children, giving them clear answers to frequently asked questions about the borderline personality disorder of a parent, and suggesting ways to cope with the situation. Through weather pattern analogies, the book describes 2 days in the chaotic life of David and Mary. Psychoeducational comments are provided throughout the book by a “weather wiz” who explains, in a simple manner, to both the characters and readers, the mother’s sometimes strange behaviors that can be challenging to comprehend. The wonderful illustrations help with the understanding, and lighten the story with humor. This book will help teach children take a certain distance, to better understand what is happening at home and how not to feel responsible for their parents’ stormy moments.

d printed

Éditions Midi trente www.miditrente.ca



éditions midi trente

d

an

in

Qu

eb e c

ISBN 978-2-923827-46-9

D esigne

Ronald Fraser, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., graduated as valedictorian from the medical school at Dalhousie University and completed his residency in psychiatry at McGill University. He is the director of a tertiary care program for treatment resistant bordeline personality disorder at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Presently, he has joint appointments of assistant professor at both McGill and Dalhousie Universities, and is as consultant psychiatrist in rural Nova Scotia, where he makes his home.

Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder

L i s e L a p o r t e a n d R o n a ld F r a s e r

Lise Laporte, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is the director of research at the McGill University Health Center’s Personality Disorders Program and works as a researcher at the Centre jeunesse de MontréalInstitut universitaire. She has conducted research in psychosocial factors related to the development of borderline personality disorder, particularly in the areas of family relationships, dysfunctional parenting and childhood trauma.

Illustrated by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal

The weather house

t h e w e a t h er h o u s e

The weather house

Lise Laporte, Ph.D., and Ronald Fraser, M.D.

Living with a Parent with Borderline Personality Disorder

The Weather House  

This illustrated book for school-aged children provides, through its touching story, clinically sound and age-appropriate information for ch...