I'm beginning to wonder if my 9 year old son has Bipolar. Any advice please?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Paulie W, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Paulie W

    Paulie W New Member

    My son who is 9,has been losing his temper and self control probably since he was about 4, only over the past 3 or 4 they've became so violent i've become afraid of him. I've always noticed his temper but, call it denial, just passed it off as a "phase". He just loses it for the tiniest reason E.G. queueing up for a theme park ride, not getting what he wants (toys,games etc as we cant afford it). Sometimes there wont be any reason, he'll just flip out and start kicking walls, pick on his younger brothers, use threatening behavior sometimes resulting in actual physical violence towards me and his mum,swearing and stealing money. I could go on.
    I just want to know if he is just a bad kid because i went wrong somewhere or is there any illness behind this all?
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I can guarantee that you seeking out help here is proof that you didn't do anything wrong. He sounds just like many of our kids here. There IS a reason for the behavior. A couple of the difficulties you mentioned are transitions and not getting his way. The building excitement in preparing for a special or fun outing can cause problems. I can also guarantee that when you say "some for no reason at all", there IS a reason, you and maybe even he just don't know what it is yet.

    How does he do in school? Any problems there? How does he get along with friends? Are there any issues on either side of his family tree?

    You have found a wonderful wealth of helpful information. There will be a lot of questions at first so we can get to know your situation better. That way, the advice we give will be more helpful than not. Welcome to our little corner of the world. So glad you found us.
  3. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I moved this to General forum for more replies.

    First of all, don't blame yourself. Have you discussed the problems with his pediatrician? Ask for a recommendation to see a specialist to have him evaluated. It is very possible you are dealing with an illness.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :)

    Hopefully a mod will move this over to the general forum.

    All of us can only do what we know to do at the time. That you're here tells me you're a loving caring parent who is doing the best they can with what they know to do. "Blame" I don't think does anyone much good, nor does "guilt" (especially since guilt can so be readily used against a person). None of us are perfect. We're all human and prone to making mistakes. It's how we learn to do better in the future.

    There is always a reason behind behavior, both good and bad. I'd say you searching says the time has come when you need outside help. Nothing wrong with that. That is what brought the rest of us here too. Is it parenting or illness? Or is it a combination? Only way to know is to have your son evaluated by a professional, either a pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist. (personally I'd do both)

    A little more background, such as how he does in school, relates to his peers/authority, overall physical health, how he relates to those at home ect can help us offer better suited advice.

    Glad you found us. Sorry that you needed to.

  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. I'm from the UK too, although I have never been to Derby :)
    You ask if you went wrong somewhere. Children, it seems, are not so fragile that their whole character and behaviour are dictated solely by their surroundings and upbringing. It's very unlikely that you "did this", particularly if his younger brothers do not have the same behaviours.
    Has your son ever been seen by psychological/psychiatric services or evaluated in any way? Is he hyperactive? Is he generally anxious, would you say?
    Hope you stick around!
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What kinds of testing have you had done, if any? We can't say for sure that he is or isn't bipolar or anything else, but the fact that you are here means that there is something going on, in my opinion. There is always a reason for a rage or meltdown even if we AND the child can't say what that is at t he time Is there a reason you suspect bipolar specifically?

    Given the physical violence, I would go to the pediatrician or whomever his regular doctor is and push for an evaluation by a neuropsychologist, an occupational therapist and a speech language therapist. What do those docs/therapists do? The neuropsychologist is a psychologist with very specialized training in how the brain and behavior are connected and in how to do many types of testing properly. Many of us have found that they do very thorough testing, between 6 and 12 HOURS of testing to get a full evaluation. This is broken up into several appointments over several days or a couple of weeks. If school does some of the testing then you spend fewer hours with the neuropsychologist, but the school's testing will evaluate how the problems impact your child while at school only, NOT how they impact his entire life.

    The speech therapist evaluation is to see f there are speech or hearing (auditory) problems. There are a lot of different types of speech and auditory problems that can appear to bre the result of manipulation or stubbornness or other things. The Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation is for sensory problems. Does he have trouble with tags in his clothes, certain tastes, textures, sounds, smells, etc? sensory issues often don't sound like they should be a big deal, but they truly CAN make life miserable for him and be the trigger for MANY meltdowns. Some people avoid certain things and others seek those things. I have very significant sensory issues of my own and so do all my kids. (NOT saying it is hereditary - no one knows) There are a LOT of different ways to handle the various problems but you MUST know what you are dealing with before you start trying to help.

    There are some great books that can be a big help to you. First is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. This is a very different type of parenting and it seems counter intuitive but if is what WORKS with difficult children and that is the name of the game, in my opinion. It is a fairly easy read and when the things described in the book are done, the results can be great

    Just as helpful, What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Dr. Doug Riley is crucial because it truly helps you figure out what triggered the rage and when yo u know that you can work out ways to keep problems from happening. It is a great book and many of us have found that learning what the triggers are is a HUGE step toward preventing the rages.

    As you are concerned about bipolar, The Bipolar Child is one of the BEST books that you can have. It has a LOT of information about the disorder and the different types of treatments and how childhood (aka early onset bipolaror Early Onset Bi-Polar (EOBP)) bipolar is very different than adult bipolar.

    There are two books on sensory integration disorder that are wonderful. Both are by Kranowitz. The first one, The Out Of Sync Child, describes sensory integration disorder and the many different ways to help the person who struggles wth this. the 2nd book, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, is packed with ideas to provide the sensory diet that Q needs and that they will actually TEACH him rather than isolating him and leaving him to his own devices. The activities truly ARE fun, and the book includes ways to make almost any equipment when you don't have much $.

    Last I recommend Parenting your Child with Love and Logic by Fay and Cline. It stresses using natural and logical consequences while strengthening the loving bond between parent and child. they have quite a few books and you can learn more at their website: www.loveandlogiccom .

    Most important of all, trust your instincts. Parents have these instincts for a reason - to help us care for our children and to help them. I have found that the biggest mistakes I have made with any of my children all happened wehn I didn't heed that little voice in my head that said NO! this is WRONG!!

    This is a great online family because we have been there done that and don't pass judgement on you, but rather share our experiences and what helped us so that they can help you with the rest of your lane. Welcome to our family!
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi and welcome! I agree with what the others have said too. I have an aggressive son and it is on an increase for the time being (we go long periods with very little but now is not one of those times).... It is draining and of course it is natural to wonder if we did something wrong.... but I propose a better question... Is there anything differently we can do? We didn't cause this but they need different parenting than typically developing children. So, we have to arm ourselves with all the information we can about how our kids take in and use the information they get from the world around them. We then need to learn techniques to help them deal with how they process information and to help them learn skills which can help them cope with things in the way their brains work. How they transition, how they stand in lines for things, how to handle frustration better, etc.

    Hope you check in again.... Lots of us here who understand how this feels. You are not alone.
  8. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I agree with everything the others have already said. Although I don't have anything to add, just want to welcome you, to let you know that I once felt much the same way you feel now. Just the fact you found us, are concerned enough to ask for advice, makes me believe that even though the path may be rocky for awhile, you will do whatever you need to do to help your son, and in the process, make your house feel more like a home again.

    Thinking of you as you begin this journey... SFR
  9. Paulie W

    Paulie W New Member

    Thank you all for taking the time out to give us some much needed advice. No, we havent had him evaluated or had him see a psychiatric doctor yet but we will as we cant take these outbursts, they are deeply upsetting and cant help but blame myself. In regards to Gabes schooling he's doing well academically and when he is calm hes fantastic. He'll do anything for you, help with anything and comes up with some genuinly good ideas when we're working together E.G. tidying the house, working in the garden etc.
    I'm really glad i found this fantastic site and all you helpful parents because just by typing how i feel and whats going on helped immensly. I've always been somewhat shy about talking about Gabe as very few people actually know about his temper. Most of our friends and family just see "nice" Gabe so to a certain extent we've been bottling things up and it has taken its toll on us. But now we have a outlet through this forum to talk to caring people who understand and i just hope i can help others who are in a simular situation in the future. Ill keep you all posted of our progress if you'd like. Id like to give you all electronic hugs and says "Thanks".
  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Glad you feel like we've helped. That is what we do here and I agree, it is WONDERFUL to have access to such knowledge and support. Please do keep us posted about your progress AND any further struggles or questions. Also, feel free to offer your input on situations others post about. You don't have to give advice but sometimes even someone's perspective can be food for thought. Stick around. We're so glad to have you!
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    FOR SURE keep us posted.... let us know how things are going. I have found (note the number of posts in the short time I have been here, sigh...it is almost embarrassing).....that when I can just keep venting to real people and getting feedback and support that really does help, I can get through those intense days so much better. I am in this for the long haul. There HAS to be support. I have not told my family much about how truly difficult things are right now.... every hint I give is peppered with but this and this are going well and we are working on X Y z (all of which are true but....) the point is, I dont have anyone in real life but here to really hear it and not panic or think I should give up, etc. I feel like I need to protect his relationships with his family for the future. So, I think I understand how alone it can feel.

    Let us know how you progress and even if you can't move ahead on those things quickly, just let us know how you guys are, OK??