New -- Help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jwlmarie, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. jwlmarie

    jwlmarie New Member

    Very confused. I am in a committed relationship with a gentleman that has custody of two boys (6 &8). I am divorced with custody of my son 4 1/2.

    We have recently taken his younger son the 6 year old to a new pychiastrist due to his ADHD that had been diagnosed by another doctor. I have had a gut feeling that his child has bipolar disorder also. He mother is a drug addict and has been diagnosed with bipolar, depression and so on.

    The new doctor put him on Risperdal at night 1mg and he is on Focalin XR 10 mg once a day. He is still very unmanagable and quit disruptive to the other children. Mood swing, irritability, defiant.

    Its been two weeks since he has been on the Risperdal and we will see the doctor this week. I just want to make this process as painless for the other children.

    Any words of advice for discpline? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Something you may have to consider is trying to step parent a child with a conduct's difficult at best for a bio parent and many marriages/relationships are tested to the point of breaking......

    Making this decision for yourself is fine in my book as long as you are going in with your eyes open.....making the decision for your son to live with this chaos is not good in my mind. If the 6 yr.old is unmanageable now, it will be twice as bad when he hits his teens....just a warning. Is your signicant other actively seeking help for his son or is he leaving that with you? If his son's behavior gets worse would he be willing to send son to a place for residential treatment?

    Growing up with a bipolar step sibling will have a great impact on your son's childhood.....its up to you to decide if you want to go further down the road with this, but I would tread carefully and put my son before the relationship with this man...

    This is only my opinion and if you have the fortitude to deal with this child good luck. Perhaps your involvement will help him....just my 2 cents....
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm bipolar and had it as a kid, although it wasn't diagnosed back then. I can tell you, I was no picnic and I had MILD bipolar (maybe a rage a month). When I got out of control, I couldn't pull myself back in no matter what my parents did. In fact it incited me more. With the family history, and a child on a mood stabilizer, I'm thinking that the doctor is thinking "bipolar" too, and ADHD medications added to the mix sometimes make bipolar kids even worse, evenw ith co-morbid ADHD. If you make this decision, make it understanding that rather than improving, he could get worse, and your boyfriend will choose his child over you. Your son may also pick up some of his behaviors, especially in the teen years. BiPolar (BP) kids are very likely to substance abuse (I believe it's 80%). If your boyfriend is extremely diligent about getting him stable, acknowledges that he likely has bipolar, and doesn't expect you to be able to discipline this child into compliance (my guess is you won't have an easy time of it, no matter which method you try), then go into it, but realize you've just carved a major problem into your life--and it may never go away. Not to sound negative, but these types of kids often don't get better, although sometimes they can be stabilized, but you have to be prepared. This will be a big adjustment for your boy too. I would buy "The Bipolar Child" by Dimitri and Janice papalous and read it cover-to-cover. Kids aren't put on Depakote for ADHD. Good luck !
  4. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    You are in the situation I was in 4 years ago. I'm married now, with 3 difficult children, their bio mom was bipolar who "self medicates" with meth. Her rights have been terminated and now I am going to adopt them.

    Foclin didn't work on my difficult children, they actually seemed worse. We have just recently wheaned them off and are seeing an entire new set of doctors.

    I wish you the best of luck with yours and I hope you get the diagnosis and the medications you need to help him.
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi and welcome, jwlmarie

    just wanted to offer my support, and echo what has been said already. blending families is hard enough with perfect kids, it is very tough with difficult children. Take a lot of time to figure this out.

    You found a safe place to vent, welcome.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Frankly, I would run - not walk - out of this situation knowing what I know today. However, I am sure you are in love with the man and the children already - so that is probably not something you consider.

    The only thing I can offer at this time is to set up at least biweekly appts with the doctor for now. Tell him while you are doing the medication changes you want him to be seen more often. That will help you when he is out of control to know that within days you will be seeing the doctor again.
  7. jwlmarie

    jwlmarie New Member

    Obviously, my main concern is my son. I have my own issues on the other side of the fence. His father (my ex) is an alcoholic and is active in his disease. I have spent 2 1/2 years in Al Anon and counseling. I have dug myself out of a whole that I was buried in for 13 years of marriage. I have operated in a chaotic lifestyle for a very long time. I have the 12 step program to help me with life in every aspect.

    My boyfriend is very committed in seeking help for his son in everyway. Both of us work with demanding jobs and we both have live in Nannies. We currently live seperately until my house is sold. I am committed to this relationship but his youngest son does effect the quality of life for all of us.

    The ex wife self medicates with prescription pills but still sees the children every other weekend. She does not support his diagnoses becasue that puts her in the lime light as has having bipolar which she refuses to accept.

    I can tell you the last 5 months have been very stressful to say the least. If its not the son acting out its the ex wife creating her own chaos.

    My programs tells me to let people find their own way and not to control anyone. The only choices I have are my own.

    All three of these children are at risk for drug and alcohol abuse due to their bio parents.

    Not really feeling I should bail at this point. My boyfriend has give so much positive emotional support to my son.

    Still open ears.
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I was going to second Wendy's suggest to run, rather than walk, away while you can.

    If you perceive your son to be at-rsik, the double, triples,quadruples??? his risk.

    How is SO's other child? You mention demanding jobs and live in nannies, so if money is not a problem, the ONLY way I would consider sticking around is if older child is OK (for now, as someone pointed out, adolescence is worse) and SO is willing to place the younger one residentially (for a long term treatment, not a short psychiatric hospital stay), I would be very scared if I were you.

    You've gotten out of a very difficult marriage intact, but you are asking for more no matter how much you love this guy, and I'm sure you do.

    Please don't think I am being harsh or judgmental; it is just that parenting one's own difficult child is so hard on marriages and relationships, that taking on this situation seems unrealistic.

    As a practical matter, have you considered renting rather than selling, your house?

  9. jwlmarie

    jwlmarie New Member

    You have to know I find this heartbreaking. It took me one year to make the painful choice of leaving my marriage. I left a man that I very much loved but could not leave like I was anymore. The drink became more important. Now I have a man in my life for almost one year that has a difficult child.

    Very confussed with all of this
  10. blb

    blb New Member

    Another response to run fast, run hard.

    Your history may mean that you have dealt with codependancy. Growing up with alcoholism can make some of us fixers (myself guilty as charged :hammer:)

    Coming from an alcoholic background and then moving on to a blended family where there are clearly some of those same issues with biomom and difficult child, you may feel the need to try to fix/help this issue. I lived and did just this.

    Knowing what I know now and knowing the impact that my difficult child had on my two children, I would advise anyone that was in your shoes to remain in separate houses for the safety of your child until your boyfriend's difficult child issues were well addressed and taken care of. Otherwise your son may suffer dramatically, and could very well be a target for your boyfriend's difficult child's rage.
  11. jwlmarie

    jwlmarie New Member

    Is there anyone that pulls through with BiPolar. So far I am just hearing these disasterous stories. There must be some wins. Some glimps of hope.

    The difficult child is not violent, he is very oppositional at times especially when he is being discplined. No fighting at school or with friends. Sometimes he tends to be a bully.

    Is this just a sign that his issues will get worst or better or stay the same.

    Teachers as school say he is good kid at school.
  12. blb

    blb New Member

    Wish I could offer you one, but we never had the opportunity to get our difficult child on medications, biomom fought us all the way just because she could.

    difficult child was extremely good at triangulating the situation to play one group off of another (biomom, school, us) and as she got older she became more violent. Eventually though school began to suffer due to her LDs; then she blamed it on us :hammer:

    I never could turn my back; she injured my two on purpose and had no remorse about doing so. In her head, she was always justified.

    For my difficult child, without treatment, she has become what we feared for her; drinker, drugger, pathological liar, just like her biomom. I wish I could say her future will be better, but I doubt it.
  13. jwlmarie

    jwlmarie New Member

    The difficult child has been on Focalin XR for about a 1 1/2. This child still wets the bed and occasionally will just pee his pants while playing. He was also on Imipramine at night but this new doctors has changed him to the Risperdal at night instead.

    He has been on the Risperdal for 2 weeks now so we are still early in the process. I guess my question is if a child can find right dosage and medications, can they live a normal life?
  14. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Another vote to cut your losses. You have not moved in yet. Better to do it now than after you move in.

    Sorry. I would not recommend a man with a easy child to move in with me and my difficult child either.

    This is the better choice for your son.
  15. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I think that with the right medications, they can live a better life than without, but what a easy child person or child might not determine is "normal". I hope that makes sense.

    I am committed as well to my 3 difficult children. They are not biologically mine, but soon we will proceed with the adoption.

    If you feel committed to this man and to his children, then keep fighting for them and what they need. As I'm sure you've already realized, it is never easy. You'll be committing yourself to a life of struggle.

    I hope you get the right help for the kids. My biokids struggle having difficult child step brothers. They also have to lose out on many things because of it. I think in the long run it will help develop their character and tolerance for people with mental disabilties. But there are days I feel sorry for them and what they have to endure as a sibling to a difficult child.
  16. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    To answer your question, with the right medications and therapeutic interventions you can see great improvement. Another thing to keep in mind is that children of mother's with a mood disorder are statistically at an increased risk of having a developmental disorder - on the autism spectrum. I would recommend encouraging your boyfriend to have his son tested by a neuropsychologist as there is a lot of family history that needs to be taken into consideration. Also, was bio-mom abusing drugs or alcohol while she was pregnant? That could be a whole other can of worms there.

    While I'm not going to presume to tell you how to handle your relationship, I will caution against living with this family until you have more answers. You do have a young son to consider. Theses illnesses don't affect just the person experiencing it; they affect the entire family.
  17. oceans

    oceans New Member

    There can be great improvement wtih the right medications. The problem is that it might take a long time for the right medications to be found, and if he is bipolar and the psychiatrist is treating him for add instead, he might get worse and not better.

    They can and do live a normal life, but they must first be stable on the right medication. It is also possible that medication adjustments will be needed in the future.

    It probably will not be easy, but there is hope.
  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Another thing to keep in mind: statistically it takes 10 years for a child with bipolar disorder to be properly diagnosed. In my personal experience, that doesn't hold true for just bipolar disorder, but for most childhood psychological and/or neurological disorders.

    I'm not saying that it will take you that long. However, even though I have some knowledge of mental health conditions, it took almost 5 years to get a proper diagnosis - and we went through a lot of professionals in that time. I'm sure that holds true for a lot of members on this board.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have bipolar. It took me 35 years to find the right I wasn't stable until 35. I got worse as I hit my teens and it was war at home even when I wasn't raging because I wouldn't do even simple things that were asked of me. I can't tell you why I wouldn't, but when somebody would tell me to clean my room, it was like a bomb exploded inside of me and I'd say, "Make me." I'm not like that on medications, but I used to be, and I can't begin to explain why I did it. It's not really rational. I think it has a lot to do with a turmoil of pent up emotions that refuse to settle down and my own unhappiness and anger. I know I was a handful. My sibs still remember when I'd say, "If you don't let me (fill in the blank), I'll keep everyone up all night and you can't stop me." And, trust me, NOBODY could stop me.
    If you love this man to the point that you'll sacrifice your well being and that of your son then stay. Can it get better? Anything can get better, but I'm guessing that it is more likely to get worse before it gets better, especially during the teen years. If it were me, having myself lived through it (my own self being the example) I wouldn't do it.
    A combo of Risperdal, which is an antipsychotic) and a stimulant are unlikely to stabilize a child who likely has a serious mood disorder. He would probably do better on Lithium, Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretal or Lamictal (those are the major mood stabilizers that are usually used, and they take eight weeks at a therapeutic level to kick in). A stimulant or antidepressant can and often does de-stabilize a child with bipolar, even if the child also has co-morbid ADHD. ADHD/ODD is often the first diagnosis given to kids who are eventually diagnosed with either/or early onset bipolar or high functioning autism, something else you may need to think about. Educate yourself the best you can before you bring your son into the situation. Your boyfriend will chose his child over you, and, in my opinion, you should pick your child over him and his. But it's really your decision, and you know what's best for you. Anyhow, I do wish you good luck.
    Note: We adopted my son at two and he was misdiagnosed until he was eleven. I do believe that it usually takes at least five years to get the right diagnosis and I believe many kids are misdiagnosed throughout childhood and then go into adulthood unprepared to deal with life, considering that they have an untreated mental health or neurological problem. Often a teen with a misdiagnosed problem starts to use drugs to feel better, but that only makes things worse.
  20. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nobody is telling you to do anything. I hope you do not think we are coming down hard on you for staying. Not the case. I would think you were a saint to stay - AND I would understand you wanting to stay. I think we just wanted to give you the been there done that experience. Don't forget we are warrior moms, but we are beaten down, too. Some days we wish to be able to run ourselves.

    So, assuming you are committed to the man and his children. What to expect? Lots of doctor appointments. Lots of calls and meetings from/at school. My difficult child did not show her true self at school until the 2nd half of 6th grade. Before that she was loved by all teachers - just very active and disruptive, but never insubordinate until 6th grade.
    Reading up on mental health. Trying all different kinds of parenting - once you find something helpful it only lasts for so long (less than 2 months usually). Feeling stressed to even take a vacation. Maybe not taking them due to the stress level it creates - for everyone. Perhaps having strangers in your home - counselors, CPS, in home aids.
    Lots of prescriptions trials and errors - the errors can be scary.

    Can your future stepson live a normal life? Normal is hard to define. Can he be a law-abiding, tax paying citizen? Yes. Will his life always be hard and perhaps always cause drama in your life - yes. Even his kids - your grands could end up difficult to deal with and enjoy.

    I do not mean to sound dark and twisty (Grey's Anatomy fan?) but this is reality. Having money could be helpful - that is something else that adds to my daily stress. So, at least you will not have that problem.