Bi Polar in an 8 year old?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by HMBgal, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    I mean, is this a thing? I've read up on it some and it's apparently a very controversial topic. My Difficult Child grandchild is still having a hard time (a recent suspension from school for physically attacking another child), refusal to do school work in school, and I don't even want to get into the homework negotiations that have to happen for one little page. His teacher is the ninja of patience, but even she's getting worn down. I get it, I'm a teacher too and some of these kids can just wear you out after awhile. Academically he's fine, but behaviorally, especially at his father and stepmother's house (with three kids that she brought into the marriage and a one year old of their own, plus my two grandkids). The custody is shared 50/50 during the week and has been very stable for two years, as far as the back and forth, etc. Everyone lives very close together, so it's been easy (with a lot of support from my husband and myself around babysitting, which we don't mind at all).

    Our Difficult Child has always cycled between more and less regulated--one bad week with two okay weeks. Not that regular, but definite cycling. But when I look at the description of bi polar, he doesn't fit the bill in many ways. ADHD, yes, and there's always been that "something else" that has been called ODD, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, etc. He's on Adderall now and we thought he was doing better: more communication, better sleeping, better eating.

    Then my daughter gets an email from Difficult Child's doctor that her ex had sent her demanding that the Doctor diagnose him with Bi polar because he's saying such terrible things, etc. Yes, he is difficult, but things are not so great between my ex sister in law and his wife, apparently. My grandkids report that they fight all the time, she won't stay alone with my grandson anymore because he's so disrespectful to her and it's my daughter's fault and on and on. So tacky and trashy. We have all bent over backwards to keep things calm and mature for the kids, but the ex sister in law refused to co-parent (his new wife is an extremely jealous, controlling type--she has been quite successful at cutting all of her children's fathers (3 with three different men, never married) out of their lives. That being said, we tried to give her the benefit of the doubt because she seemed to be taking good care of the kids on the time they were with her. She doesn't work, so the bulk of the care of the 6 kids falls to her. But we've been hearing things recently that are disquieting about her and my ex sister in law and the things they say to the kids, etc.

    So, we are left wondering if the escalation in bad behavior, cursing, etc., is a result of a stressed situation over at the other house and we can't really ask the kids. If I even ask about their new baby brother anyhow he's doing, new teeth, walking etc, the kids both tell me I talk about him too much, etc., so the kids are getting coached not to talk about anything that happens over there. Which is fine, we certainly don't need to know everything, or much of anything, but the big stuff would be good.

    So, now ex sister in law is demanding this diagnoses from the doctor in this long, rambling email he sent to Difficult Child's doctor. Please tell me that an 8 year old with bi polar isn't commonly diagnosis'ed. The side effects of the stimulants have been hard to deal with, although he has done fairly well with the Adderall, but the bi polar medications in young kids scares me to death, quite frankly. Thank you if you've reached all the way down to the end of this.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just my two cents...

    1) They are NOT going to diagnose this kid with anything based on a letter from parents. Not even if both parents agreed. The medical system does NOT consider parent input very much when it comes to mental health issues. If the parents get anything out of that letter, it will be a referral for evaluation - which isn't a bad thing, but not what they want.

    2) Doctors are very reluctant to diagnosis bi-polar in young kids. From when I hear and see, it's unusual to get it even in the middle teens - when there is more of a chance of a correct diagnosis.
  3. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with @InsaneCdn about the letter to the doctor. No ethical doctor would make a bipolar diagnosis based upon a demand letter sent by a parent. A referral for an evaluation would be a good thing, but not what they want.

    I searched around and found a couple of NAMI documents about bipolar in children attached to this post.

    And this:
    The Assessment of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I know for a fact children can have moody ups and downs because Idid, but I would not call it bipolar.I am not sure I buy bipolar in a is controversial. However, there will be NOdiagnosis at all until this child is taken to a high level professional for a total, complete diagnosis. I recommend neuropsychs, but psychiatrists (with the MDs) can be good too (and can be back...we've had both). The problem is, psychiatry is an inexact science and you could see ten professionals and get ten differing diagnoses and the reasons are not even clear yet.

    Even with the downfalls, I would take him to a neuropsychologist and it's kind of embarassing that Difficult Child wrote a letter to a doctor that he will toss in the garbage. Kids are diagnosed by testing, not by angry Mother letters. Nobody is going to give high end, high symptomatic medication to a child due to a letter.

    I think it is best to make the appointment and go in and, again, I prefer the way neuropsychs diagnose. There is a ton of very intensive testing that even psychiatrists do not do. With psychiatrists it seems to be more what the parent reports.

    I did not have a full blown depressive episode until I was thirteen, then I had a mild manic episode that I actually felt (hard to explain) at fifteen. After that it was just mostly depression...I have not read evidence that a child diagnosed with bipolar necessary develops it as a teen or adult and I'm against overmedicating. Just my .02. Take what you like; leave the rest.

    Insane Canhead :p (just kidding), in the U.S., they were at one time diagnosing bipolar in kids like they used to diagnose ADHD. If your kid had one tantrum it was bipolar. The Papalous book fueled that frenzy. I am hoping that is happening less now.
  5. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Thanks for all of your replies. As for "sister-in-law", that's not remotely what I typed. I meant to say ex son-in-law, as in my grandchildren's father. I guess you have to be careful with acronyms. That being said, my grandson has been an angel today. He's sitting and sewing while watching the movie Brave with his sister (6) and his girl cousin (10). Of course, we all know his triggers pretty well, so we don't go poking the bear. Sigh. I don't think we are in for a good time, especially if things fall apart with the kids' father and his wife. Yikes. That's all this poor kid needs.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My son was diagnosed with bipolar at age 7. I've never doubted the diagnosis. He fit almost all of the early markers and stimulants really made him aggressive which is also common with people with bipolar. It took a long time (Years) to find a medication that worked for him but now that we have we have very little to no violence and he is doing so much better.

    All of that being said, I am sure, like the others said, no one would diagnose him based on the letters. Even though my son was diagnosed at an early age, he had already been seeing a psychiatrist for three years and been receiving counseling.
  7. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    I do agree that there are many similar types of mental health issues( even health) that can mimic Bipolar or other issues, I do think my son has this and am getting him tested again, it may change in the future, I don't know. As long as he gets started with his therapy and any medications he needs etc. Its hard to even admit anything is wrong, and it does seem that more kids/adults then ever have ADHD, BiPOlar, ODD, etc, but, it happens! I wish you and your family luck and great health! Hugs!
  8. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Well, it's kind of hit the fan around here. My daughter got an email that my grandson was cursing at his father, screaming and insulting his step-mother, made his year-old half-brother cry (who he loves dearly), had another bad day at school, etc. Difficult Child's father threatened my grandson with the police, going to the hospital, etc. Difficult Child screamed "I hate you!" freaked out, lost all composure, and was thrown in a bedroom in time out until my husband and I could come get him. And now he and his sister are with their mom full-time (which is what we've wanted all along). Difficult Child's father and step mother feel that they can never give or do enough, and given that there are four other children (for a total of 6--two of his, three of hers, and one of theirs), my grandson just isn't doing well there.

    My grandson took the opportunity to talk alone with his psychiatrist the next day and he just dowloaded all his feelings. You could see that this poor kid was terrified of his father and terrified of talking to anyone about it. The result is that CPS has been called for emotional abuse and some physical abuse. No bruises, but he does throw him onto his bed, squeezes his fingers so hard that he hurts him, we have seen marks on face where he was probably refusing to get undressed and his father pulled the shirt off of his face and it left some pretty good scrapes. He also grabs one of the step mother's little boys (my ex son in law is a big, strong, 300 pound man with a temper) and when I ask what the step mother does, she says "Really, (his name). Really?" That being said, this kid can be so defiant, disrespectful, full of rage, throwing stuff, saying the most horrible things, that we've all tried to grab him to keep him from denting up our cars, throwing things, calling his sister or me a "f-word female dog", etc. But the difference is that my daughter goes to the doctor's appointments, takes the parenting classes, reads the books, and tries to keep in mind that if Difficult Child could do good, he would. And he has made progress on his own timetable. And we don't escalate, or at least not very often; but we are human. In between these rages, he's truly a sweetheart, remorseful, will try to talk about it, what might work better next time, etc. His anxiety is off the charts, too.

    We're getting him into the anxiety group that the doctor has recommended but it always fell on his "father's time" and even though he was at work, he wouldn't let us take him. It's only for 6 weeks, two hour sessions, but he wouldn't do it. And he was supposed to a court-orded parenting class, and he didn't do that, either. He only wants to parallel parent rather than cooperatively and not deal with my daughter at all. His new wife is an extremely jealous person and it's quite clear that she doesn't have what it takes to love another woman's children. And the kids know it and are reacting. Now he's saying that my granddaughter, who is the sweetest, most reasonable, peace-maker, cute little thing ever, is that she's "going bi-polar" too. And he wants to separate the kids and have my daughter keep my grandson, and leave the little girl with him. The psychiatrist says they have to stay together. Even when I was turned over to the state as a foster child, when I got placed, they told my foster family that I had a little brother and they take us both rather than separate us.

    So, my daughter is filing for emergency custody, although Difficult Child's father said that don't bother to try to get any money from him because there isn't any. His son is in a crisis, he's turning him over to her, and he's telling her he still wants physical custody. That's what he felt like he needed to put in an email? He won't go to school meetings with her, talk with her in person, and won't share anything about what goes on in their house. The step mother has refused to watch my grandson anymore, so Difficult Child's father has had to go into work at 3 in the morning so he can pick up my grandson at school on Mondays and Tuesdays. The rest of the time, my husband and I do it and watch the kids until my daughter gets home from work. So, he's exhausted, has rage issues of his own, never wanted a big family, and now he's got six. I cannot imagine the stress, but he's never had good parenting skills and he doesn't seem to want to learn. They both believe that kids should do what they're told and that's that. Yeah, well. Wouldn't that be nice?

    If you got this far, thank you. I needed to get this out. I feel like these two other people are so toxic and I'm helpless to stop their bullying of my daughter, and the increasing evidence that the kids are not being treated especially well by their step mother. I've been so kind, helpful, reasonable, trying to stay out of things and just care for the kids when needed. I used to have a very close relationship with my ex son-in-law, even after their divorce. The minute this woman came along, it all changed. I feel like they are under tremendous pressure and stress of their own, and heaven knows my grandson isn't helping. She doesn't work. At least they will still talk to us on a business-like level because we stay very neutral with them. They say horrible things to my daughter, though. This woman cares for my grandchildren, yes, but no hugs, smiles, and the kids really are feeling the lack. I was a momma-bear with my children, and now I'm an older, smarter, grandma bear and when people mess with the grand babies...
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, yes I read it. And I "heard"...
    a) good news #1: grandson actually talked to psychiatrist about the stuff that is going on
    b) good news #2: psychiatrist reported
    c) good news #3: this kid has YOU in his life

    It will take some time with stability and proper interventions to get this kid stable. So much of his behavior "might" be bipolar... or it could just be anger as a manifestation of depression due to the abuse (and instability). Sounds to me like this biodad needs to be on supervised visitation only. JMO of course.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Legally your daughter has to take him to court so a formal change of custody and mandated child support happens. Informal arrangements won't protect this child. My son went through a custody battle last year and it's costly and time consuming if u know ex is abusing grandson maybe u can offer to help pay. There will need to be a paper trail of abuse by ex and how he treats your daughter doesn't factor in. It's about the child and his best interests. I hope your daughter took pictures and brought him to doctors. Her word won't matter as in custody matters it is common for abuse to be alleged. Without proof it doesn't matter. My son's ex tried it all. It was untrue. She obviously had no proof. After a GAL and therapist, both chosen and court ordered but paid for by the parties, everyone agreed that my son retain his 50/50 custody. She was trying to get full custody and lost. Son and grandson adore each other. This was a horrible year. But we found out that you need a court ordered investigation and that this is how u go about securing custody. It is very difficult for grandparents to get custody unless the court finds both parents unfit. Sounds discouraging I know but without court ex can change his mind and take son back at any time. Informal agreements don't hold up. Please...get a lawyer and take ex back to court and hope for the best.
  11. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    We only want Difficult Child to get better, get his anxiety lowered, and be a well-rounded and functioning human being. We don't want the kids not to see their father. He's their father and even though things aren't right with him or the step mother, kids always love and feel loyalty to their parents. None of us wants ugliness and squaring off in court because no one really "wins." And we don't ask the kids "who do you want to live with?" My parents did that to me and it's awful. But the kids have become increasingly vocal about things that are happening. We try to maintain neutral and cheerful comments. "Oh, you say she was mean to you? Did you break a rule? Did you not do what you were asked?", etc. So we aren't trying to polarize. That doesn't help anyone. And when it's time for them to go back to that house for their father's custody time, they get so quiet and tense. Even little granddaughter says "We only have four days with Mom. I want a hundred days with Mom. Why can't I stay with Mom?" And Difficult Child gets so sad and anxious looking. It's heartbreaking. But we try to cheer them up with "You'll get to see the dog, the baby," etc.

    The doctor is adamant about the kids getting out of the household. We haven't seen the CPS report and since it's not like the kids are in real imminent danger of being taken out of state, or really seriously hurt, I'm sure it's not going to be a quick thing. And I'm just a lowly special education teacher, and my husband is retired, so lawyering up will be very hard. We're already paying for so much for the kids--all the extra things like vacations, lessons, and on and on.

    Having them with us has been such a relief, though, I must say. We've all been so worried for so long about what we've seen developing, or suspected of developing, and now evidence that what we suspected has happened, that even though there's lots ahead of us in parenting this little boy (talk about needing a village!), we know we're up for it if we work together and learn. When the other parent's rage issues (and he has that in spades--always has, even as a kid), and the stress of 3 other children not his own that includes and a 17 year old teenage girl with lots of problems, a controlling and demanding new wife, then their new baby, a stressful job--gah. I can't even imagine. I feel for everybody.

    Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts, observations, experiences, and thoughts. It helps.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I'm going to take issue with nobody ever wins. My son's ex is a horrible woman who ran off with another man while married. If she did not have the court orders that make her behave halfway human, her and my son would be fighting all the time as she would try to make him HER child only. She can't do that now nor can he. They both have to respect each other's time and there are behavioral rules. Nobody asked my grandson who he wanted to live with and a court doesn't do that either. It's not up to a minor child.

    Without a court order, with one of the parents in charge of medical issues or joint medical custody and legal custody, the parents will be fighting much more than if they got it written up in court.

    The psychiatrist would have to go to court to force the kids to get out of t heir household and his word may not prevail.

    Doing anything without a court order can't be enforced and your grandson may end up in worse chaos, being tugged in both directions, than if the adults were forced to legally behave. My grandson has a lot of stability. He knows where he will be on which days and that his parents will not contact one another and fight. The two still don't like each other, but they have to abide by the court orders so that the little guy doesn't see or hear fighting. My son doesn't even speak to his wife. The court has them communicating on a site called The Wizard that the court can see if it has to. It's like e-mailing.

    Trying to do it yourself in a divorce is hard. It's hard enough for the kids. in my opinion it's better for rules to be set up and decisions to be made that give each side a voice. Your grandson may be yanked right back to dad and since there is no court order giving your daughter custody, he can legally do it. You can't kidnap your own child if there is no court order. Your daughter would then have to start the custody procedure or she could not force ex to bring the boy back.

    My grand is doing really well, considering what he has been through (although he doesn't know his mother ran off with his new stepfather when he was only four). My son does plan on telling him, but not until he is at least in his teens. My grandson screams bloody murder during exchanges with Mom saying, "I want to stay with Daddy!!!" So it's good that she can't run off with him.

    My son and his child won in court. She wanted to run off to Texas with her new honey and make a new family that did not include my son as grandson's father and she could have done it without a court order. My son has his son 50% of the time, which she can't stop and the boy is not going to be jerked around from home to home or state to state. It really is better to do it legally.

    Hopefully ex will continue not to want the boy in his house, but if he does go to court, your daughter will have to get a lawyer because going without one is a loss. I hope things work out.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  13. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    How cow, SOT! I remember hearing somewhere that when we get older and our children are grown, we will have money, time to travel, time to pursue hobbies...pfffft. You've been through the ringer, it sounds like. I'm glad the right thing was done by your son and grandson.

    By "nobody wins," I guess I'm going off what happened last time when it became clear that the mediation agreement that my son-in-law and daughter had very harmoniously drafted and was working well wasn't going to fly with the new wife. Although my daughter did win quite a lot with her petition for custody a year and half ago, it was all based on a mediator bringing one person at a time into a meeting and made her recommendations from a 20 minute meeting. I'm sure the courts have seen and heard it all, but I have to trust that they can spot BS when they see it. Even though my daughter prepared statements, printed out emails that the step mother had sent other people threatening them with court action because she felt the my daughter was smearing her name all over town. Jeez. Like we don't have better things to do. She would tell my granddaughter's preschool teacher that my daughter isn't really much of a mother, more of a sleep-over pal, and the like. When the preschool teacher advised my daughter about the woman was saying and how manipulative she was and to be careful, it was a surprise to us, but her methods are becoming quite evident as more and more people are stepping forward with stories. Some people are so convincing, but a person's true colors usually show through eventually.

    My daughter has has 50% custody, but he gets all the tax benefits, doesn't pay child support, even though he makes a good salary, plus all the child support the step mother gets every month for her three children. My daughter pays for all the co-pays for the doctors, pays for all the medications, etc. (or I do, if she can't. Hard working dental assistants don't make much money). So yeah. Court is happening. We already know that. I sure wish courts would take a minor's wishes into account.These kids have been saying stuff about their Dad and step mother for a year now to teachers, or just about anybody who will listen. Now with a CPS report, and his refusal to complete the court-ordered parenting class, it might be easier for my daughter to get full custody, then she can decide when and if the kids spend the night there again, and things like that. We're hoping against hope that this man will love his children enough to do what he needs to do and get himself the mental health care he needs, has always needed, but refuses to get because his misery is everyone else's fault. And everybody pays the price.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    HMB, yeah, the laws sucker ;) At the same time, they assure the child is not kidnapped across the country, etc. Are they fair? H ahaha. You would not want to ask my son that. He makes a good salary, but he still has his own expenses, a house payment, car payment, his son...his ex is remarried and have two incomes and he has to give up a ton of his salary to them plus pay child care costs for his son and half of all medical. Together, ex and her new hub probably make 2/3rds of what he does. They don't need as much as he is giving them, but he is pragmatic and does what he has to do.Stepparent's income is not figured in. It doesn't matter when figuring out child support.

    Mediation didn't work for ex. She wanted nothing less than full custody after a full trial. She did not cooperate with the mediator and he got irritated with her a few times and she ended up bawling and nothing was signed. Mediation isn't binding. There is really no way to have a rational discussion with ex. She wanted 100% custody and she really thought spending all the money they did would get that for her, although she had no grounds for taking any custody at all away from my son.

    Getting full custody is very rare and very hard. The courts in many states (they are all different) believe in 50/50. To try to bump Dad out of child's life, you have to prove (and I do mean prove) t hat he is abusing his kid (as in bruises that are documented by a doctor who has seen them). Emotional abuse is a loser in court. What Dad thinks is ok, Mom may think is emotional abuse and Judges don't have the interest in those "he said/she said" fights.

    At any rate, I do still recommend court custody so that this man can't run off with son on a whim. Without it, the boy is not protected. Legally a parent can not kidnap her own child and without custody orders in place there is no crime.

    My son was lucky that his father, my ex, had the money to fund his custody battle. He could not have done it alone and me and my husband simply don't have extra money.

    Divorce is so bad for the kids. Really. And no fault divorce as in women who go on Match while married then run off with another man can not have that bad behavior that DOES hurt the child taken into consideration in a custody battle. My son didn't even know she was thinking of leaving until the day sh e did. If he had known more, he could have filed that the mother had abaondoned the son and probably have gotten primary custody...that is frowned upon, leaving th house and your child. But he learned on the fly, like most people so by the time divorce was in full swing, that particular incident was not allowed to be a part of the custody decision. Getting 50% if you are a male though is very much a win. by the way, ex's stepfather has slapped grandson across the face and he talked about it when I was visiting them, but son can't do anything about it because son is afraid of his mother and won't tell it to anyone else adn begged my son not to tell anyone and because there was no mark on his face. Crazy, but this comes abou because there are so many false allegations.
  15. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Well, a week has passed with only one horrible meltdown. The language!! The rage, the tears, the irritability. Lord have mercy. I'm re-reaading The Explosive Child. It's so Difficult Child. He's a little older than the first time I read it, so maybe some of the techniques will work better for us.

    In any case, CPS. I am a mandated reporter because I'm a teacher, but I've never had to call them. I'm in California, so maybe how things like this are handled differently elsewhere, but the CPS person came out to the school and interviewed both my grandkids at their school. I can only imagine that when news of this gets to Difficult Child's father and and wife, it's going to get crazy. Has anyone had experience with this? How much do they listen to what the kids say? They are 6 and 8. It apparently isn't a horribly urgent situation in their minds because it's put on the 10-day track instead of the 2-day track, whatever than means. The kids are in a safe place, there's no bruises or anything, so I don't know what happens next. The kids are both adamant about wanting to stay with their mother, but I'll bet they hear stuff like this all day long. I'm guessing that they'll interview Difficult Child's father and wife, and some of the allegations made are against Difficult Child's father being rough with one of her little boys. Yikes. All I know is that when Difficult Child is in his rages and saying such terrible things, out of control, screaming, etc., it's really hard not to put your hands on him.

    So, a woman in Baltimore is made out to be Mother of the Year when she smacks her son around, drags him off the street, and uses really foul language. Can you imagine if we did that? Here in California? That mother would probably be locked up. For the record, I hope that kid stays off the street and protests in the proper way or he'll end up dead, too. Which is what that mom was thinking, I'm sure.