parenting a bipolar child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DLeecious, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. DLeecious

    DLeecious New Member

    I am so relieved to find this. I have a 12 yr girl who is consistantly on the honnor roll but constantly degrades me corrects me , lies and steals constantly and no matter what I try will not do chores. truely makes my house a pig sty when she gets up in the middle of the night. she is also hypersexual and wants to dress inapropriatly and wear makeup I am not physically able too keep up with her destruction and mentaly worn to a frazzle. She has been in therapy and on medications for over 4 yrs. Treatment options are a joke where I live. The therapist tells me that her behaviors are due to the inconsistancy of my parenting. I myself feel at the end of my rope I am hurt by the things she says and does even though I know she cant help it. I am a single mom and this is my 5th child and the only one left at home I have no support system (her father has been declared an unfit parent and has minimal contact with her) or family and dont see this changing. Until finding info on my childs diagnosis I just felt like I was a horrible parent for not being able to get my girl to cooperate.I have every kind of sticker chart reward system etc. Do any of you have suggestions for say communicating with the therapist? I feel she doesnt have a clue about my childs needs or diagnosis. Or how about dealing with her hostility towards me(she is a wonderful ,funny ,bright child at heart)developing a thick skin etc. Thank you for letting me vent incoherantly
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't have an ideas on what to do, but I think it would help you to join NAMI and go to the meetings. You can find a support system there and get real life suggestions from those who have been there/done that.

    Big hugs. I know how hard it is to have no support...basically, hub and I never did either. He has no family and my family is small, scattered and not supportive. We have joined parent groups for children who have autism. They have the same groups for parents who have mentally ill children. We all can use a good support system!!
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, DLeesious.
    I'd get another therapist. NOW. Don't waste your tiime with-this one. And find a support group.
    Sounds like your daughter's diagnosis is on target. Stereotyped, almost.
    Can you get your daughter on medications?
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    by the way, have you read The Bipolar Child?

    Also, Google "famous people who were bipolar" and it will give you a lift. Really.
  5. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    She is not being effectively treated for her bipolar. Her sx (as Terry said) are stereotypical and are likely to only get worse the longer she goes untreated.

    If her psychiatrist does not recognize that she is still highly symptomatic then you need to get her to a different psychiatrist as soon as possible. If at all possible it needs to be a child psychiatrist.

    Has she ever been hospitalized? Because many of those behaviors sound like they are severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Hypersexual behavior in a 12 yo for example.

    Another alternative is the juvenile justice system. You can report the thefts and request that she be charged. Here in our area, the only real way to access comprehensive services for kids like these are through juvenile justice.

    Getting up in the middle of the night eating, creating a huge mess suggests to me (based on personal experience) that she may be ultrapid or ultradian (daily) cycling which is now recognized as typical of early onset bipolar. So she may seem pretty OK during parts of the day - like when she's at school in a highly structured environment with clear expectations while she is in the "normal" or hypomanic part of a cycle.

    You truly need the help of a good child psychiatrist, an effective and educated therapist. A lot of therapists don't have a lot of experience with early onset bipolar so you might want to ask her current therapist about his/her experience working with families whose child has this diagnosis.

    If you can't get these where you live and have no support system there then my suggestion - move to where you can get the supports you need to manage this child and help her learn to manage her own behavior.

    Yes, you may be parenting inconsistently but it makes perfect sense to me why that would be true. And, in my experience, while more consistency is good (and should be your goal), it needs to be accompanied by appropriate psychiatric care.

    Many hugs. It's a hard road but you have taken the first step and that's almost always as hard as it is going to get.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yep, those bi-polar kids are fun, aren't they? Oy. Mine is all over the board, too. Not had to deal with hypersexual issues, but she's only 9.
    You said this one is your 5th, I presume the previous 4 which you said are no longer home are out on their own and doing okay? If so, don't let the "blame game" get to you - they almost ALWAYS try to shift the blame to the parents one way or another, and you have 4 pieces of evidence that you know what you're doing. difficult children need different parenting from other kids, and it's a guessing game. What works for one difficult child doesn't work for another. Not every psychiatrist or therapist is the right one for everyone. If you don't feel she's getting proper help, keep looking.

    Welcome aboard!
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding in my welcome! Glad you found us. I agree about switching therapists and a new psychiatrist. My difficult child is also bipolar and is a rapid cycler. It can really wear you down and it is so important to find some time to take care of you (which is especially hard when you are a single mom).

    I've worked hard at developing my "rhino" skin so that I don't take things too personally. Much of the time it works but depending on what is being said and my mood at the time there are times when I still take it personally.

    When you have time set up a signature like ours that you see under our posts. If you go under forum actions at the top of the page and then go to settings you will see a place to edit your signature.

    Again welcome, glad you found us but sorry you needed to.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    The others have given good advice. However....

    I wouldn't be too quick to change therapists....I WOULD keep it on the back burner though.

    Be open to what is being suggested to you. Just because your child might have a diagnosis, doesn't mean that you don't have the responseibility of fulfilling your role as a good parent. Of coruse, having a special needs child (and being a single mother of five) is going to make this very very tough. If after a few more sessions and an open mind you still feel that this doctor doesn't comprehend the amount of difficulty involved with caring for a child like this and/or doesn't offer good suggestions, then yes, I would consider looking for another therapist for your child. In the mean time, try to pick up a copy of the book "The Bipolar Child," which provides such great information about treatment and suggestions about life at school, etc. Another good book is called "Yes, your teen is crazy."

    Try to get yourself as much little moments of rest as caring for a child like this is very tough. Dont' sweat the small stuff, make sure your child knows that you love her, but at the same time set up firm boundaries (limits). In as nice a way as possible, make sure the therapist knows that you are trying your best, are being consistent in your parenting and would appreciate his support.

    by the way, in as nice a way as possible and with little emotion, make sure your child understans firmly what the important rules are in the house and what the consequences to breaking the rules are. Again, I wouldn't sweat the small stuff....but I WOULD set limits.
  9. compassion

    compassion Member

    I have gotten a lot of support from the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF). There are a lot of support groups online you can join.
    In my experience's some of the sx can be lessned via medications. There is alot of guilt and blame to work through. I have found it to be a lot of sadness and greif. THe 3 C's help me, I did not cause, cannot cure and dannot control. Nami helps a lot too to understrand it is a physical brain disease. This is illness,not badness. Keep taking care of you. I have had to distance myself from t-docs that have that opnion and in my experince, about half of them do. Al-anon, Fa (familes anon), Nami, and my church have been consistent support for ME. I have had a treatment team to deal with the reealites of my daughter's illness and it can be exhausting. The worst part was the isolation and now I no longer have to go through this alone.