Can BiPolar (BP) kids stop & start rages at will?

Please forgive my ignorance on this topic but a comment on another post made me wonder. Someone had mentioned that the word "no" can be a trigger for some BiPolar (BP) kids. It is a sometimes trigger for my son to rage, he has other triggers but my son has never been diagnosis'd with BiPolar (BP).

I guess what throws me is that I have seen my difficult child go into a rage and then suddenly stop when he thought he would get his way. The situation was a misunderstanding and I was trying to talk him down during a rage. Since he was raging he wasn't listening but he caught the end of my sentence and it was like night and day. You'd have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. He totally calmed down, his tone changed, his face softened. I told our therapist about it and she said this was an example of him NOT being BiPolar (BP). He was simply trying to manipulate and as soon as the manipulation worked there was no need to rage. I agreed with her at the time and I still agree but I am open to the idea that I could be completely misreading the situation.

It's so hard to find clarity in the midst of difficult child's behavior.

Hmmm, that really makes me think. Aly, when younger, had huge meltdowns that I felt were more manipulation to get her own way. Which worked alot of the time, as who wants to deal with a screaming kid is WalMart!

But as she got older and we realized she had manipulated us all over the place, we stopped giving in. Was a nightmare, but given an alternative activity or whatever, she would calm down.

Those are what I call Aly's manipulation "meltdowns".

Then, there were Aly's rages. These, she would go from 1-60 in a nano-second. The trigger was sometimes the same, not getting what she wanted. The word NO. Or it was raining outside, or she wanted to wear some shirt that was in the laundry, or...

These rages were different, there was NO stopping them. Her eyes changed, like she wasn't there anymore. These rages would go on and on. I had to make sure she and everyone else was safe. Sometimes, it actually got so bad we had to call in the Crisis team, and sometimes she got so out there, she was hospitalized.

So, I guess what I am saying is, there are times when Aly was "rage-like" but able to be "talked down". And others "rages" that were out of our hands, nothing we could do about it, had to either try to get her to take her PRN medication or call for help.

Does Aly have Bipolar? That is the "working" diagnosis right now. But there are times I have my doubts and also my prayers that she doesn't and that this all is something "she will grow out of".

So, this post isn't much help, just more thinking!



Mom? What's a difficult child?
For us difficult child 1 is the same... pre-medications. She would get a look in her eye and have an explosion. Just like Vickie said we had to keep everyone safe... most times her triggers were "No" but other things set her off as well. A feeling, something she thought, her sister etc.

It took a lot to get her back down... she had to come down when her little body/mind would her. sometimes it was and hour or longer. Very violent... But, you really could see a look in her eyes as she changed and lost it.

Now on medications she still has these episodes but it easier to work with her. So maybe to an outsider who didn't know the whole picture, they might think she was being manipulative, but she is still having small breakdowns, she is learning to calm herself. but sometimes it happens so fast, and then it will just end.

I told her she couldn't do something yesterday and she was unable to deal with my answer she was yelling, said "fine then I will never be able to paint ever again for the rest of my life!" Screamed started crying and ran out of the room. ( I was trying to explain to her that we could not paint at that moment)
About 4 minutes later she comes walking back in whistleing and happy as can be???
But, when she was getting upset I really think for her it felt like I was saying, "never"

The medications do help her to stop a little quicker...
Just more out loud thinking...


all I know is b4 we had our 1st DYFS experience 2 weeks ago difficult child II never cursed at me before, now he has the mouth of a sailor, calling me every name in the book, and he's become more physically agressive as well. I can't help but feel like he feels unstoppable, but I am trying not to let it taint my attitude too much, but even difficult child I has noticed.


New Member
When my difficult child rages there is NO stopping him. Cursing, destruction the whole 9 yards. When he does come out of the rage he doesn't remember what has happened and will often look at the mess he has made and ask my if he did it. You can see in his eyes when the rage is coming he also snorts like a bull - kinda funny but if you laugh that only makes it worse - learned that the hard way. difficult child has been raging since age 2 the worse one then was having my 2 yr old bulldoze me over and start ripping out my hair. He did that again another time. Anyway, sorry I am babbling and probably not much help.



New Member
see i think there are 2 things actually going on here. 1st there are the meltdowns and rages that i feel come from over stimulation and lack of control. then there are the times when i think difficult child wants to control his enviroment thus he tries to manipulate the adults to get what he wants. now pcs do this to but after reading the bipolar child i can say that i see the distinction of control to feel safe and not out of control(manipulation) and a rage.

hopefully that makes sense. these kids 'choose' to test the limits and try to get their way but it is still a manifestation of the BiPolar (BP) and driven by a sense of anxiety that we can't see.


I specifically asked the psychiatrist and therapist that question. I was told no, he does not have control at that moment. Once triggered, he loses control and it is not intentional. He doesn't want to feel that way.
medications have helped to a degree, but still up and down so often lately. I believe it is my change in employment, schedule. He doesn't handle change well, and I expected a little something, but not three months worth.
We now have him working on social skills and trying to realize what triggers are, how to calmly get through it. Trying to recognize the signals of an anxiety attack, trying to work through that. He doesn't like working on these things and seems as if he will not even try. Easier just to blow up. But, everyday I remind him when he goes to school. Hasn't worked yet.
He and I argue I just haven't found myself walking away..just getting sucked into his meltdown. I KNOW what I need to do, but it is so hard.
I am beginning to think the school as a whole is the trigger!!

house of cards

New Member
My son has stopped rages and appeared calm only to return to the rage. In his case I don't feel it is manipulative. He just can not handle the depth of feelings he has with frustration, sadness, anger and competetion mostly. If an unusual thing occurs it can distract him from his intense feelings but when that novel thing is gone the strong feelings are still there. With my son "no" is only a trigger because it causes frustration or anger. I have a hard time believing it is intentional because it doesn't make sense to carry on that way in front of your peers, causing angry reactions from the adults around you that cause you great discomfort and fear. I don't see the pay-off.
Wow, this has got me thinking too.

My psychiatrist told me that Pixie shows signs of BiPolar (BP), but he did not diagnosis her.

When she has a meltdown, there is no turning back. I have tried soothing, talking over her, hand signals, road flares, nothing works. Once it starts, it's gonna happen. And it usually happens before I finish my sentence.

So I walk away, and tell her we can talk when she is done. I walk quick because, as Luminosity pointed out, sometimes I have to laugh, and I don't want her to see it.

Then, as Totoro mentioned, she will come strolling in a couple minutes later, oblivious to what she had just done. And we can discuss it.

I really don't think she has any control at that point.


Well-Known Member
I have bipolar and had it as a kid and once a rage came on, it took over. I couldn't stop it and couldn't stop myself from it happening again. This continued on into adulthood. I still raged until the medications were right. I haven't had a rage in about fifteen years now, but I remember (will never forget) the shame I felt and the out-of-control/I-am-crazy feeling I felt after a rage. It probably seemed like I was being a manipulative brat, and my mother thought I was one until she passed on--she never forgave me for my rages. But I know I couldn't stop them. I would have done anything if I could have. medication control is soooooooooo important in bipolar, in both kids AND adults. I believe many BiPolar (BP) adults commit crimes that aren't really in their control because of BiPolar (BP) too. You start sliding up and you feel you can get away with anything and you're above the law. You slide down and you're so depressed, you take something from a store to hope you feel better and because you don't care what happens to you anymore (these are just two examples). It's a confusing illness for the parent, but it's worse for the person suffering. JMO


Well-Known Member
I have also calmed, and then started raging again. Once I calmed, my calmness was very precarious and I could be set off again really easily. If my mom spoke of punishment at that time or tried to get me to do something, I wasn't as calm as I looked and it would flame out all over again. in my opinion the best thing you can do with a raging child is to quietly restrain, if necessary, but don't say anything until much later.
Wow, Thank you all for the responses. I'm so sorry this took longer than expected to get back with you. The input is amazing. I'm leaning towards him NOT being BiPolar (BP), of course my opinion doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the eyes of the doctor.
So many people commented on a complete inability to stop the rages. Someone asked what the payoff for the rage was because they felt so bad when raging. I'm not sure my difficult child feels bad. He's very direct in his threats and rages. Give me this or I'll kick in your windows, then when he's not given into, he breaks the windows. Some of the rages are anger over being punished but I remain convinced that if I shouted over him during one of these fits and told him he was no longer in trouble he would immediately calm down.
Some of the other things that stick out to me was the comment on control over ones life. I think my difficult child feels totally and completely helpless in his situation. Even though he's the one and only person who can change it. I really like the idea of making the school work his responsibility. I won't hound him about it and if he does the work, great. If not, they offer the 8th grade every year at his school.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something while I type this but I've been run ragged lately.


Sylvia, any mood issue (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder) can cause raging. What is being done at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to treat (both with medications and therapy) your difficult child's PTSD? The treatment in and of itself could improve the raging.